Friday, June 13, 2008

The National Portrait Gallery UK Exhibition and Contest Opens

The 2008 BP Annual Portrait competition and exhibition opened yesterday at the National Portrait Gallery in London. The winners will be announced on Monday. As I have written previously, I love this competition and genre.

Now in its 29th year, anyone over the age of 18 can enter their work. This year 1,750 artists from around the world submitted their pieces and 55 are on display now through September 14th. Four works ,which you will see below, have already been shortlisted as finalists. While the competition is not without critics from the poobahs of the art world, it has been great fun for us who simply have always loved portraiture.

During the course of the exhibition visitors to the gallery are encouraged to vote for their favorites. I wish we, who can't visit the museum could do the same online, hint, hint, you PR guys. In the meantime we can at least see the 55 finalists here. I'm not surprised that of my top three only one made the shortlist, but then I have an amateur eye. My top three follow the four finalists. I'd love to hear about your top pick. I'll remind myself to tell you about the public's picks in September.

Now from the Gallery's panel of judges here are the four shortlisted finalists.

Amanda Smith at Vincent Avenue
by Simon Davis

Hannah O'Brien
by Robert O'Brien

by Craig Wylie

by Peiyuan Jiang

And here are my top three choices.

by Craig Wylie

by Benita Stone

Hamzah: The silver penny
by Paul Lisak

Honorable mention

Marian Dormint
(Marian Sleeping)

by Josep Joaquim Santilari Perarnau

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