Belfast Artist Nominated for Turner Prize

Sculptor Cathy Wilkes makes the four-person shortlist

A Sony television, a Maclaren baby buggy, a jar of Bonne Mamam apricot preserve and a series of shop mannequins arranged in striking poses, all appear in the exhibition that earned Belfast-born artist Cathy Wilkes a nomination for the 2008 Turner Prize.

Wilkes has been nominated for her solo exhibition on display at Milton Keynes Gallery. According to the Turner judges the exhibition is an example of Wilkes's creative, highly charged use of shop mannequins and everyday objects and materials that touch on issues of femininity and sexuality.

Wilkes's work is characterised by the creation of a slowly emerging personal vocabulary of sculptures and paintings that the artist makes and re-makes in evolving assemblages and environments. Her processes are measured and refined, and draw on the most intimate of personal experiences to create a compelling autobiographical thread coupled with a precise and liberated formal language. 

Cathy WilkesWilkes has said that her installations 'are in a state of perpetual change in which repetition relates more to the biological rather than to the industrial... Central to the feminine sphere is the notion of invisible labour, present in all aspects of everyday life yet kept outside of the systems of material and symbolic gratification.'

Wilkes, originally from east Belfast, will showcase her work along with the three other short-listed artists (Runa Islam, Mark Leckey and Goshka Macuga) with an exhibition at Tate Britain in London from September 1, 2008. The exhibition will then move to Liverpool to add to the city's series of events celebrating its status as European Capital of Cultue. 

Roisin McDonough, chief executive of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said of Wilkes's nomination:

'Her success in the international arts scene is a great achievement and a fine example of the exceptional talent coming out of Northern Ireland. We wish her every success.'

The Turner Prize award is £40,000, with £25,000 going to the winner and £5,000 each for the other shortlisted artists. 

The prize, established in 1984, is awarded to a British artist under fifty for 'Splash', by Cathy Wilkesan outstanding exhibition or other presentation of their work.. It is intended to promote public discussion of new developments in contemporary British art and is widely recognised as one of the most important and prestigious awards for the visual arts in Europe. 

Nominations are invited each year, and the prize is judged by an independent jury that changes annually. The members of the Turner Prize 2008 jury are architect David Adjaye, Suzanne Cotter, deputy director and senior curator of modern art, Jennifer Higgie, Editor of Frieze magazine and Stephen Deuchar, Tate Britain director and chair of the jury.

The winner will be announced at Tate Britain on 1 December, 2008 during a live broadcast by Channel 4.

Watch a slideshow of work by the nominated artists with Stephen Deuchar, chair of the Turner Prize jury and Nigel Wrench from Radio 4's PM programme.