Iain Hales is the ‘exceptional emerging sculptor’ to win this year’s Mark Tanner Sculpture Award. The Slade School of Art graduate will receive £8,000 to support the development of new work and a solo show at Standpoint Gallery in 2014.

The announcement was made during the opening of an exhibition celebrating the first decade of the Mark Tanner Sculpture Award, named in memory of one of Standpoint Gallery’s first exhibitors in the late 1990s. All ten winners from 2001 to 2011 have been given the opportunity to create new works or revisit existing ones for the show.

Hales was selected by a judging panel consisting of the sculptor Richard Deacon, Lisa Le Feuvre (Head of Sculpture Studies, Henry Moore Institute), 2011 winner Jemima Brown and award trustee Rebecca Scott. The prize’s seven-strong shortlist included artists Ana Genoves, Laurence Kavanagh, Katie Cuddon, Steven Morgana, Michael Lisle-Taylor and Hermione Allsopp.

“This year’s shortlist was incredibly strong but out of all the artists we felt it would have the biggest impact for Iain at this stage in his career,” explains Jemima Brown.

Hales describes his sculptures as arrangements of separate components, owing as much to the language of painting as sculpture. “I work intuitively and making is an essential component of my practice. That takes time and money, which I find often seem to have an inverse relationship to one another,” explains Hales, who says he was drawn to apply for the award “because it seemed that it was set up to support my kind of practice.”

After ten successful years supporting London-based sculptors, this is the first year the competition has been open to artists throughout the UK. To mark the award’s first decade, Black Dog have published Making is Thinking, Presence and Absence in Contemporary Sculpture, an overview of the core debates around sculpture that the Mark Tanner Sculpture Award has nurtured over the years.

“I think it’s a really important award,” says Hales. “There seem to be many painting or media specific prizes out there, but awards specifically for sculptors, particularly early career sculptors, are few and far between.”

A Decade of the Mark Tanner Sculpture Award runs until 29 June 2013 at Standpoint Gallery.

Book giveaway: Win a free copy of Making is Thinking and review it on Interface. Read on