A painting inspired by foxes play-fighting in a Lewisham street has won first prize in a major art competition.
Deptford artist Rachel Levitas won first prize in the Lynn Painter-Stainers arts competition. She sees the “beautiful and bold opportunists” in Urban Fox III as a symbol of “new forces coming into play in the void left by the economic collapse”.
The Camberwell School of Art and Royal Academy graduate is very pleased to have won the £15,000 prize money from the at a time of such economic insecurity.
“The award could not have been more timely for me because I was forced to give up my studio in October due to a lack of funds and I’ve since been painting in my kitchen” she said. “I now feel I can invest in my painting and take on a new space”.
Levitas has been working on a series of paintings that examine the crises in society. The foxes “represent creativity, the uncontrolled wild and the apprehension of the future”, she said.
She wanted her painting to capture “the return of the wild to London’s streets, creativity emerging and adapting in a collapsing economy, and perhaps to something darker, a fear of the future”.
The Lynn Painter-Stainers’ competition is designed to encourage creative representational painting and promote the skill of draughtsmanship, and has this year awarded £22,500 in prize money.
On winning the competition Levitas said, “I was absolutely thrilled and delighted. It was a wonderful surprise, particularly as I was impressed by many of the other works in the exhibition”.
Another fox themed painting won the young artists award. Lauren Archer was given £2,500 for her painting The Chase, which depicts foxes in a rural setting.
Runner-up awards were given to Rebecca Cains, Jeffrey Dennis, Alicia Dubnyckyj, Emma Haworth and Peter Wylie.
An exhibition of the 67 paintings considered for the Prize runs at Painters’ Hall, 9 Little Trinity Lane, London EC4 until 26 November, and at the W H Patterson Gallery, 19 Albermale Street, London W1 from 29 November until 3 December.