BP PORTRAIT AWARD 2007 (Private view and Dinner)

June 25th, 2007


I went to the private view of this years BP Portrait Award last Wednesday with my mother at the National Portrait Gallery and then the following Wednesday Anne and me went to the dinner and ceremony for this years award. Those 12 months have soon passed since I won last year and it brought back many great memories, I know it’s an old cliche but very true. I liked the variety in this years show, I think it was possibly getting to be too photorealist in style and though I paint like that myself I’d still rather see different interpretations. It seems to go in cycles, I remember back in the early 90s there was a lot of Lucian Freud influence and almost no tight realism with the exception on Philip Harris and myself. Then there was a big Euan Euglow influence from ex-Slade students towards the mid to late 90’s and then more of a mixed bag with no particular influencial style and the for the last 3 years or so photorealism has been very strong. It’s healthy for the Award to evolve and change I think so that it never becomes predictable (as the Turner Prize has become where the desire to shock, paradoxically, is no longer shocking) so in 5 years time I would hope to see something completely different again.

I think my favourite this year is Anastasia Pollard’s “Organia” with it’s beautiful muted tones and restraint. I remember her work last year , the portrait of the ageing clown which again was beautifully understated and quiet. It’s a style of painting which is very different to my own which is perhaps why I admire it so much. Other favourites include Anthony Williams who I have long admired for his technical ability and the tension that he creates between his sitters as they are together yet separated. Walsall’s own Edward Sutcliffe’s piece was very recognisable to me as his work and very accomplished and Thomas Leveritt’s selection was had a characteristically  simultaneous mix of the  traditional and contemporary . I thought that Emsley’s portrait was a good choice of winner, it reminded me of the excellent Scottish painter Ken Currie. Rupert Alexanders portrait was beautifully painted and very atmospheric and it was great to see “Glory” the dog in “Johnny and Glory” by Richard Brazier at the private view

Entry Filed under: Art,Exhibitions