BP Portrait Award 2008- NPG

June 22nd, 2008


I went to the opening of the BP Awards last week and the announcement and dinner on Monday evening which was lovely. Ian Hislop announced the awards and gave a great speech…extremely funny infact. “I don’t know a lot about art…..no that’s it” was his opening gambit.

Overall I enjoyed the show but as many are now saying there is a little too much photorealism. I remember back in the mid 90’s when there was only the excellent Philip Harris and me doing it and and then the show was criticised for being too much like Freud and Euglow in style. It has certainly turned right around but those mid 90’s shows did seem more varied. I think it is the impact of digital photography over the past  5 years or so has made a big impact. It has absolutely revolutionised the way that I work and I love photography more than ever before now. The digital revolution is just wonderful and I think artists/ painters are captivated by the ease and absolute  control you have with  digital photography and it’s seemingly limitless possibilities that they want to incorporate it into their work. Certainly I never leave the house without a little snapper, even the cheapest little cameras give excellent quality results and I’m snapping and thinking  all the time and the images are so disposable you can take as many pictures as you want and review them when you get home. Just incredible,  and I think this is the reason that we are seeing so much photorealism at the moment, artists are just responding to modern technology, as I think they should.

My own personal favourites are Jason Walkers “Natalie” which I think should certainly have made the shortlist again, great use of pattern in a painting and beautifully muted tonal colour and the Mexican artist who came second in 2006 Raphael Rodriguez Cruz with a portrait of a woman with so much pain in her expression it almost reduces you to tears just looking at it – very powerful I think and nice to see Paul Benney again, one of the past heavyweights from the competition with his beautifully composed Californian looking swimming pool portrait.

Entry Filed under: Art,Exhibitions


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