I went to the National Portrait Gallery this week to check out the BP Portrait Award 2012. To be honest, I had minimal expectations of the exhibition but I was totally blown away by the level of talent. Honestly makes my vague attempts at ‘sketching’ look like a bad day in a nursery school.
In all seriousness though, it’s a very well curated exhibition and the standard of entries is incredible. I couldn’t get over how someone can paint something which looks like a photograph even up close, like this self-portrait by Ben Ashton. Jaw droppingly impressive
I think third prize by Alan Coulson really stood out for me. I loved how well the artist captured the detail in his tattoos and the closed but gentle facial expression. The detail in his T-shirt and beard was also amazing.
Ironically this is the image they’re using on the flyers instead of first prize, but maybe that’s due the giant bosoms in ‘Auntie’ by Aleah Chapin which was the winner.
You can’t deny that there’s something a tiny bit brilliant about seeing these giant boobs. The artist has known the sitter all her life and she wanted to depict the body being a map showing the journey through life. Isn’t that such a great image? I think its incredibly brave of the women to be over 50 and pose naked but I think it should be something to be celebrated. The artist has been really successful in showing complete harmony and strength in the women’s face. It is a beautiful painting filled with warmth and I can only hope that I feel as comfortable in my own skin as the sitter clearly does in hers.
Go and see this exhibition in you can. It’s just the right size to fill a couple of hours and you won’t be disappointed. Despite never being as talented as these, it did made me remember how much I used to enjoy art and think maybe its time to dust off the paint brushes…
After the exhibition we walked down the South Bank and took in the sunshiney (yes one day of British summer) delights which were going on. Much as I feel that there are a large number of ‘street performers’ who need to go out and get real jobs. There are always a few which are genuinely talented who are worth stopping to watch.
There are also some brilliant outdoor exhibits going on and the National Theatre’s pop-up summer bar is awesome! They’ve built the place out of old props including puppets from War Horse, the crocodile from Peter Pan, vintage light fittings (and a few limbs) from Frankenstein. definitely a brilliant place to just go and hang out. Who wouldn’t want to sit on a giant chair which looks like its made out of grass!
I also came across the Rainbow Park opposite Playstation skate park. A great summer addition to the South Bank. The rainbow coloured sand made me sad that I was 27 not 7. I did get my bananashoes full as sand as I took this pic though, made me endlessly happy.
I just wish that the summer would finally arrive so I can take more advantage of everything that is going on! Much as I’m dreading the influx of tourists for the Olympics, there are so many cultural events taking place that I’m starting to look forward to it…