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Talbot will undertake a residency in Italy as the recipient of Britain's only major prize for female visual artists.

Emma Talbot in front of her work When Screens Break (2020). Photo Thierry Bal.

Fashion brand Max Mara, Whitechapel Gallery, and Collezione Maramotti have named Emma Talbot the 2020 winner of the biennial Max Mara Art Prize for Women. Talbot beat out shortlisted artists Allison Katz, Katie Schwab, Tai Shani, and Hanna Tuulikki for the honour, which will see her travel to Rome, Reggio Emilia, and Sicily to research classical mythology, textiles, and permaculture.

In her proposal for the prize, Talbot sought to redeem the naked elderly woman who looks so ashamed in Gustav Klimt's Three Ages of Woman (1905). Talbot will visit the painting at the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna, Rome, and create her own work in which the woman overcomes modern trials inspired by the 12 labours of Hercules. She also plans to study intarsia—a form of knitting—with craftspeople in Reggio Emilia, and permaculture in Catania, Sicily.

Born in 1969, Talbot studied at the Birmingham Institute of Art and Design and received an MA in painting at the Royal College of Art, London, in 1995. As well as drawings on paper and multimedia installations, she creates paintings on silk that are zine-like in their use of panels and text to depict what she has described as 'psychological stories'.

In the prize announcement, Iwona Blazwick, director of the Whitechapel Gallery, said Talbot 'makes radiant drawings and polychromatic sculptures on an epic scale; and combines word and image to express the lyricism and the pain of subjectivity.'

Talbot, who is represented by Galerie Onrust, Amsterdam and Petra Rinck, Düsseldorf, has upcoming solo shows at Eastside Projects, Birmingham, Kunsthalle Giessen, Germany; and Dundee Contemporary Arts, Scotland.

Her work is held in the collections of Guerlain, Paris; the UK's Arts Council Collection; the City of Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery; the Saatchi Collection; the Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth; and the Fries Museum, Netherlands, among others.

Previous winners of the Max Mara prize have gone on to do some big things. The 2017-2019 winner, Helen Cammock, won the 2019 Turner Prize alongside Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Oscar Murillo, and Tai Shani.

The other winners of the Max Mara prize are: Emma Hart (2015-17), Corin Sworn (2013-15), Laure Prouvost (2011-13), Andrea Büttner (2009-11), Hannah Rickards (2007-09), and Margaret Salmon (2005-07). —[O]

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