Fru Tholstrup

Selecting exhibitors in the Painting & Drawing category for The Marshwood Arts Awards and John Hubbard Prize – entry deadline August 18, 2023.

Art advisor, curator and founder of the Sequested Prize, Fru Tholstrop says the most rewarding thing about her work is having the ‘privilege of working with extraordinary artists on a day to day basis.’ Known for her creative approach to making engaging and original exhibitions—an ability honed during 10 years at London’s Haunch of Venison Gallery—she has worked with artists including, Damien Hirst and Michael Joo, Adrian Ghenie, Frank Stella and Richard Long to name a few.
Launching the Sotheby’s flagship London Art Gallery, S|2 in 2013 she helped guide the gallery to commercial and critical success with an ambitious and diverse programme, including solo exhibitions by artists of international stature such as Joseph Beuys, Taner Ceylan and Banksy—the latter drawing in over 18,000 visitors over its 6 week run.
Today she is excited by artists such as Sarah Cunningham, Francesca Mollett, South African artist Cinga Samson and American artists Hernan Bas and Angela Heisch. A highlight this month is a trip to see the opening of ceramic artist Lindsay Mendick’s show at Jupiter Artland in Edinburgh.
She is enthusiastic about current trends and themes in art today. ‘I think it’s a moment when artists are pushing their limits and expanding their practices in innovative ways, this is definitely exciting.’ She is intrigued by the diversity of work today. ‘Seeing a plethora of artists working with textiles, ceramics and performance art and choosing this medium over the more traditional art forms is fascinating.’
Fru sees common themes in art today that are ‘a reflection of society and culture.’ She says: ‘artists seek to bring awareness and challenge their viewers in a diverse way alongside this technologically advancing world.’
And this technologically advancing world, that is such a dominant news subject at the moment, is something that Fru is very aware of. She says: ‘Many artists worry that a market flooded with AI-generated media will drown out work done through the lengthy, unpredictable creative process. While it will lead to increased creativity and innovation and efficiency, there are also ethical concerns and the risk of losing the human touch and personal connection that are often present in traditional art.’ However, she also sees positives, and perhaps the inevitability of the progress of technology is something to embrace where possible. She hopes that in some ways we can ‘look forward to increased collaboration between “humans” and AI to produce high-quality and complex art in various forms.’
As a curator she doesn’t see technology changing much of what she does, she says: ‘human emotions, feelings and thoughts are unique and intangible things that computers can’t replicate, therefore the role of the curator will stay the same.’ Her advice to artists is to ‘Be authentic and well informed, build a portfolio of experience and connections which are key and above all don’t be afraid to ask for guidance.’
This year she will be choosing work in the Painting & Drawing category for The Marshwood Arts Awards and John Hubbard Prize. She looks forward to seeing ‘Artists that push their boundaries and have unique perspectives and contributions through their work, in turn introducing a level of newness and depth.’
Running the Sequested Prize she knows that artists work best when they have a focus. She says: ‘Regularly entering competitions is a powerful way to inspire yourself to continuously try and improve and to push yourself to think outside of the box in an art community where there is unity.’

Three artists/makers are chosen from each category to exhibit in a mixed exhibition at the Allsop Gallery in Bridport, from 14 October – 4 November 2023. Entry deadline – August 18, 2023. To submit an entry visit