Sunday, 27 June 2010

BP Portrait Award Show 2010/review

I have to start the review by confessing to a bit of vanity: I have googled myself and I found this review.
I was also told by a friend about this other review which appeared on Metro this Thursday, so I am very happy with how my painting has been received.
As I said in my previous post, the enjoyed being at the preview very much. I have introduced myself to several artists and spent time looking at all the other selected paintings.

In the show there is something for everyone. For people who admire tightly rendered portraits which are superbly painted by using photo reference and for those who look for a high emotional content. Paintings that are imaginative and fantastic are hanging side by side with lyrical or expressionist works.

     I love painting from life, and in a show like this one I look for works which are clearly painted from life as an inspiration and an example. I also work from photo references and in my early training as an illustrator I have been taught to draw hyperrealistic plates in coloured pencils : I admire those kind of paintings too since I know the amount of work and thinking that goes into every single piece.

There are reasons for painting from life and reasons for painting from photos. When I speak about my work, especially when I write or talk to other painters who are particularly interested in the process, I am candid about whether a part or the whole painting have been done from life or not.  Painting a good portrait is very difficult, whatever the process.

Now this year finally the word "photo" is mentioned in some captions: photography is included among the tools for the portrait painter. I was very annoyed when, in past editions, paintings which were clearly painted exclusively from photos had a caption including the words "sitter" and "sittings"which I thought was rather naughty.

So I do tend to like portraits painted from life more as they are more relevant to my work. I want to start this review though with a painting that is NOT painted from life but I absolutely admired. Not only it's painted from a photo in a hyperrealistic style, it is also a big head ( I hate big heads). But I must eat my words.
"iDeath" ( I don't care about the catchy title either) is a painting I would hang in my living room. I met Michal Ožibko during the preview. He is a nice young man from the Czech Republic. He showed me a photo of another very similar painting he made and explained to me that he had to choose which of the two was destined for a show and which one instead was being gambled on a very difficult selection.
I think he absolutely made the right choice !
"iDeath" is not only impeccably executed, but is a portrait with a strong presence, a compressed emotion and a peaceful symmetry.

My favourite painting in the show was Rosy Lamb's "Put the Dog and the Cat in the poster". I liked Rosy's brushwork very much and the real space that she has created in the painting. As a painting that deals with old age and sickness it has a lighter approach than the painting which won. I admire Rosy's dedication and ethic of work that I gather from her website, and I hope I'll be able to meet her in a future trip to Paris.

More later.



Candace X. Moore said...

Ilaria, Interesting reflections on the BP Portrait Show. Congratulations on your entry, and please feel free to toot your own horn. Why earned it.

jake gumbleton said...

Hi there.
We saw the show on Sunday and we loved your painting.
The show was really enjoyable and some of the paintings were wonderful.
I do find it a bit depressing how the bias of the exhibition is so heavily in favour of over rendered, highly detailed paintings made of millions of tiny brushstrokes. So many of the canvases were just a mass of detail, with virtually no selection from the artists. The over dependance on photography is a pity really.
It was refreshing to see your piece, which was much more of a painting than most of the others.
Congratulations on getting in, brilliant work!
PS. The amount of blurbs that talked about 'multiple sittings with the model' when the work was clearly photo based made me chuckle.
Looking forward to more from you.

Heather said...

Great thoughts you got there, believe I may possibly try just some of it throughout my daily life.

Portrait Artists From Photo