Monday 26 September 2011

Portrait exhibition

I didn't mean to post again so soon but Laura and I just got home from visiting Wolverhampton Art Gallery where the British Portrait Award 2011 opened this week. It's an inspirational display of incredible talent and you should go if you can! I'm standing in front of 'Little Sister' a painting by Tim Okamura from Canada.

The Art Gallery is housed in an impressive building that has recently undergone major renovation.

The facade tells of its Victorian origins but the inside space is now light and airy with lovely big galleries and importantly, a nice cafe too!

The sign says it all - these paintings are indeed world class and we are lucky to have them exhibited on our doorstep!

This by portrait by Ian Cumberland was one of my favourites. The judges must have agreed - it got third prize.

This picture by JJ Delvine caught my attention for a number of reasons. I'm involved in an exhibition with an oriental theme next year and the background in this painting was beautifully rendered with Chinese style birds and flowers.

How about this portrait by Jan Mikulka for intense and moody - his eyes definitely followed you around the room.

The artist who painted this arresting portrait, Isobel Peachey, said she tried to capture the sitter's Renaissance appearance. I think she absolutely nailed it don't you?

I think this is kind of weird but wonderful. It's by Mark Bush.

Up close the brushstrokes were mere suggestions of shapes but step back and every stitch in the knitted gloves was convincing.

The above are just a taster of what's on show. There are actually fifty portraits. If you can't see them in person second best option is to go to the National Portrait Gallery website.

We were both rather subdued driving home. Do you know that feeling where an exhibition is so good it's overwhelming? Fine figurative painting hasn't really been fashionable for ages but here's evidence that it's alive and well and currently on show in Wolverhampton! We're going again on Thursday!

I'll post again once I've come back down to earth. If I do that is!


  1. Linda - I am ashamed to say that when I opened this post I thought "Really? Wolverhampton has an Art Gallery?". Well I have never been to Wolverhampton and if ever I needed a reason, here it is. You are right - stunning stuff. Hilary

  2. It is a fantastic gallery and thank you for reminding me to go again! I love portraiture and didn't realize it was on. I totally understand what you mean about being overwhelmed...sometimes coming face to face with such incredible talent is enough to make you sigh with despair and give up! It happens to me all the time.

  3. Wow, what amazing paintings!

  4. The Art Gallery is a cultural oasis in a desert Hilary! This is a real coup for them - the BP Portrait Award is only going to 3 venues this year.

    Annabel I know exactly what you mean - we both felt the same way!

    Chloe I realised I had only posted small images - I've made them bigger now so you can see them even better!

  5. Incredible I was convinced they were photos.

  6. Hi Monica I only showed a small selection of work. There were lots of different of styles of painting - if you visit the portrait gallery website you can scroll through all 50 paintings in the exhibit. See if you agree with the judges choices!

  7. There's a really good blog here which is updated almost daily with images from very skilled artist. It's worth a look now and then!

  8. hard to believe they're paintings

  9. Thanks for the link Annabel - I'll take a look later today.

  10. Thanks for the glipse of the exhibition - such wonderful work i thought for a moment it was photography!