Artists Lynsey MacKenzie and Richard Goldsworthy have both been awarded the Wasps Award in the 2021 RSA Annual Exhibition. Richard Goldsworthy will be exhibiting with Wasps at Patriothall Gallery, Edinburgh in 2021, and Lynsey MacKenzie will be exhibiting with Wasps at the Briggait, Glasgow in 2022.

The Wasps Award is given to contemporary emerging artists. This year both artists were selected for their experimental processes and materials. Wasps’ selectors were drawn to Lynsey’s play with scale in her paintings, and Richard’s practice of charring materials. Here we speak to the artists to hear more about their practice, and their hopes for their awarded exhibitions.

Richard Goldsworthy

Tell us a little about your practice and work in the RSA Annual Exhibition

My practice is all about transforming and combining different materials and new processes to create intriguing sculptural forms and drawings. At the moment I am focusing on wood and pewter. By carving, sanding, burning and casting, I add strident contrasts to expose, highlight and celebrate their natural features and so-called imperfections. The results represents a delicate balance between my input and allowing the materials to find their own voice, to make their own marks.

Darkness in the Light” is about material contrast and how different elements can be juxtaposed and harmoniously combined. Using charring and casting, the material is enhanced and transformed into something new yet still highlights the intrinsic qualities of the materials. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

Richard Goldsworthy sculpture - Darkness in the light, Charred willow and pewter Richard Goldsworthy – ‘Darkness in the light’, Charred willow and pewter

What are your hopes for your awarded exhibition?

Lockdown has been frustrating for all artists, I suspect sculptors are feeling this particularly strongly as it is more difficult to engage with three-dimensional art virtually. This exhibition, for me, is all about engaging artistically with people again. A new audience, some new ideas, the chance to be around fellow artists – it is very exciting.

Lynsey MacKenzie

Tell us a little about your practice and work in the RSA Annual Exhibition

My process is quite intuitive and is driven by compositional concerns – relationships between colours, the materiality of the paint, thickness, thinness, and the speed and energy of marks. I am also interested in painting’s relationships to time, for example through the non-linear accumulation of imagery and forms.

I painted the two works exhibited at the RSA while I was working at home during lockdown. Over this period, I was drawn to the idea of swimming, of floating, suspended in water, especially somewhere remote and quiet – and so I found myself painting images of imagined outdoor pools.

Lynsey MacKenzie - 'Quietude', Oil on canvas, Triptych 
Lynsey MacKenzie – ‘Quietude’, Oil on canvas, Triptych

What are your hopes for your awarded exhibition? 

I’m planning to make a new body of work specifically for the Briggait spaces. I’d like to work on some really large pieces, and perhaps also bring in some much smaller pieces as well as I like to contrast scales sometimes.

I’d like to say a huge thank you to Wasps for selecting me for this award. I’m so excited to get started on making work towards the exhibition!

You can see both artists work in the RSA Annual Exhibition, shown online until 30 May.