Sunday, 26 June 2011

BP Portrait Award 2011 - my winners

Today I popped in the National Portrait Gallery to view the paintings shortlisted for the BP Portrait Award 2011. This year was mostly underwhelming, I have to say, with many examples of a trend in modern portraiture that I find particularly annoying: the photo look.

Paintings with the slick, smooth, slightly-soft-focused look of a photography. I do like hyper-realism but for some reason I can't abide that look in portraiture. The overall winner, by Wim Heldens, just about escapes my ire in that respect. Although I rather like it, it is also not part of my favourites. You can find them below in bad iPhone pictures I took myself (the links provide more info about the paintings and the artists):

George O'Dowd by Layla Lyons, oil on canvas on wooden stretcher, 1800 x 1400 mm

Abi, by Nathan Ford, oil on canvas, 280 x 200 mm

and just because I like Maxi:
Maxi Jazz by Joe Simpson, oil on canvas, 600 x 600 mm

There was another one I liked, which I didn't photograph and doesn't seem to be on the website for the exhibition for some reason... (not all the paintings seem to be there and I think I even spotted one on the site that wasn't exhibited...)

Special mention goes to I could have been a contender by Wendy Elia and the amusing little sub-painting of the topless young man walking into the room and averting his eyes.

BP Portrait Award 2011
National Portrait Gallery
until 18 September
admission free


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