At £20,000 The Columbia Threadneedle Prize: Figurative Art Today is the UK and Europe’s pre-eminent prize for figurative and representational art, showcasing important new works by both emerging and established artists.

The word figurative gives rise to interesting questions. Sometimes there is an assumption that figuration and abstraction are mutually exclusive. The dialogue is not necessarily one of exploring or expanding the boundaries between figuration and abstraction anymore but focusing on the connections between them.

All the artists in this year’s exhibition share a need to reflect the world around them, going beyond just representing physicality by interpreting social realities and personal experiences. A lot of what surrounds us and our perception of it is fragmented and abstract in a non-literal, visual sense, so it is especially interesting to see where today’s reality and artists’ seeking to represent this reality fall within the figurative art tradition.

The works have been divided into four subject categories: Portrait : Figure, Landscape : Nature, Still Life : Domestic and Urban : City Life. We hope this will encourage and remind visitors to consider the works in an art historical context, directly in relation to our own everyday living experiences and in relation to each other.

One artist has been chosen by the Selectors to win the First Prize of £20,000 plus a solo exhibition. A further prize of £10,000 is voted for by visitors to the exhibition. Make sure you pick up your voting slip from the Gallery Reception.

This year’s selectors include award-winning Portrait Artist Jennifer McRae, Senior Curator at Yorkshire Sculpture Park Helen Pheby and Managing Director at The Fine Art Society Pippa Stockdale. The panel is chaired by Mall Galleries Director Lewis McNaught.

We are grateful for the contribution of our partner, Columbia Threadneedle Investments, who have supported this Prize with great enthusiasm and commitment for the last 10 years.