This weekend we were able to visit the BP Portrait Award exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. Portrait painting has been something I have always loved to dabble in (and I am very disappointed in myself for not painting more often!), so I was thrilled to have chance to go along this year. The portraits on display are a wonderful testament to the young artistic creativity that currently exists in the UK and beyond. The 2012 competition saw entrants from artists from 74 countries, and the Gallery has attempted during this year of the London Olympics to draw even more strongly on worldwide talent.
The winning portrait, ‘Auntie’ by Aleah Chapin, is a tender and provocative painting which illustrates the artist’s close relationship with a family friend. Chapin has apparently painted the portraits of a number of women she has been close to throughout her life. The woman in the winning painting, known as ‘Auntie’, is depicted in minute detail, with every line and crease symbolising her life journey. The portrait stands out in the exhibition as it is so life-like…or, quite literally, larger than life. Yet, rather than the painstaking details revealed in some of the other portraits (painted with such skill and attention they almost look like photographs), this work gives the onlooker a real sense of personality, the humour and the warmth of the sitter. Well worth a visit…or two!
The exhibition is on in London until 23 of September.