This week, I visited the BP Portrait Award, which of the last 40 years has been showcased at the National Portrait Gallery. I haven't been to one of the Portrait Award exhibitions since 2008 so it was nice to finally have a chance to visit again. This exhibition is a prestigious competition with the first prize being awarded £35,000. It's not the largest space, there were around 44 pieces of work and I've picked out my top 5.
by David Booth
This may be my favourite! David Booth, has chosen to challenge the idea of traditional portraiture as it has been created using a range of sitters. It's very smart, the snippet of a realistic painted portrait, among the more unfinished and loose feel which has been enhanced by the colours used.
by David J. Eichenberg
I honestly could not believe that this wasn't a photograph, it's oil on aluminium. The artists subject is his daughter, Eden. It shows her in a protective blanket and dark glasses, portraying his paternal instinct to protect her, specifically from the anxiety associated with adolescence. The amount of detail, creating the reflection, the different colours and knowing where to place each stroke to highlight the reflection and fold just amazes me.
by Sarah Jane Moon
This caught my eye before anything else because of the colours along with the bold brush strokes. Dr Ronx is a friend of the artist, an emergency medical doctor and known to a younger audience for his work on the CBBC show, "Operation Ouch!". Dr Ronx is respected for being a role model for both the LGBTQ and BAME communities.
State of Play
by Fiona White
This piece is probably on the more unusual side, mostly because of the mix of styles. The artist based the this piece on her muse, Louise, specifically the the stories of Louise growing up in Papua New Guinea. This piece has been created using mixed media, comprised charcoal, acrylic paint and lacquer. I, of course, love the print detail. I loved the texture and the colours but also appreciated the amount of hours it would've taken to create these prints by hand.
by Massimiliano Pironti
This portrait is of Pironti's grandmother named Vincenza, aged 95. She is sat in her kitchen, holding onto a hot water bottle, keeping her hands warm. The artist said of this piece "I wanted to capture her image, to freeze time. Every wrinkle tells her story as a woman and at the same time, ties me to my family roots." Oh my, it is incredible in person! So many small and intricate details and I honestly could not believe that this was painted. The detail in the knitted jumper to the lines, highlighting the rubber is just amazing.