The highlights for me:
Alan Coulson. This painting is just so impressive in real life. The picture does not do justice to the real thing. It oozes character. You can feel the bloke in the picture. Technically it is amazing, the tiny brushmarks in his face make the whole thing sing.
|Richie Culver, 85x59cm. ©Alan Coulson|
Another highlight was Mary Jane Ansell’s portrait of her father. Again, it is technically superb, but she is using her skills to evoke some real emotions. The portrait is interesting, respectful, tender. Integrity is what makes a portrait work for me.
More highlights: Benjamin Sullivan (boy that guy can paint!! a true master) www.benjaminsullivan.co.uk
Tim Benson (furthest removed from how I paint but he manages to get a huge amount of character and emotion into his bold brush marks. And again, no gimmicks, just plain good painting!!) www.timbenson.co.uk
Roni Taharlev, and Jean-Paul Tibbles.
I hope that the paintings that show a ‘look at me I am so quirky, bold, modern, daring, arty,’ attitude will disappear from the show next year.....
I suppose I should mention the winner, Aleah Chapin, who won the BP Prize with her huge painting ‘Auntie’. I think Aleah can do amazing things with paint. The way she paints skin is very beautiful. But it reminds me of an unmade bed...are we supposed to be shocked? Surprised? Charmed? A naked elderly lady. Not something we see very often in our western culture that is so focussed on youth and beauty. But displaying a naked elderly lady schmacks of old fashioned modernism. I am sure she IS beautiful. There’s no need to tell me.
But hey, who am I anyway?! Taste, as Grayson Perry has recently explained to us, is a fugitive thing to understand. Each to their own. And I congratulate Aleah with her win, she is no doubt an amazingly skilled painter.
During my trip to London I visited some other galleries and went to see the American Figurative Show at the Albermarle Gallery where I especially loved Gabriela Dellosso’s work and I discovered a new artist (for me) at the Medici Gallery: Amnon David Ar. Stunning work. And one day, one day, I will take home one of the sculptures of Matthew Simmonds. I just melt by his work. If ever he does a Hawksmoor or Vanbrugh sculpture I just must have it.
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