Thursday, November 06, 2008

The Royal Institute of Oil Painters - 121st Annual Exhibition

I visited the 121st Annual Exhibition of the The Royal Institute of Oil Painters yesterday. Unfortunately, this is a somewhat belated review of the exhibition due to my horrendous head cold having started just before this exhibition opened.
The Institute's aim is to uphold the age-old tradition of painting in oils, whilst giving encouragement to outstanding young oil painters of our time.
Set of oil paintings by Peter Wileman PROI
paintings copyright Peter Wileman
photo copyright Katherine Tyrrell

Over the years, the Royal Institute of Oil Painters (ROI) has played a unique role in developing the tradition of oil painting in the UK. It was established in 1882, gained royal status as an art society in 1909 and is very proud of its heritage. Distinguished former members include for example Lawrence Alma Tadema, Walter Sickert and Henri Fantin-Latour.

The oil paintings on display in the exhibitions embrace all manner of form and styles: from tonal traditional painting to abstract works - although I found the emphasis tends to be very much towards the painterly representational work.

Artists who won prizes included:
  • Richard Price won the Winsor and Newton Non Members Award for Within, without
  • Early morning, Edinburgh by John Sprakes ROI, RBA won the DAS award for a work a distinction
  • Edman O'Aivazian ROI, RSMA who won the Roberson Award for Beach Life, Santa Monica LA
  • Peter Brown ROI, NEAC, PS - a streetscene and landscape artist - who won the Arts Club Award for Milson Street, Bath
  • Roy Freer RI, ROI, NEAC who won the Frank Herring Award for Leisuretime proportions
  • Rohan, Northcote Road won the A&K Wilson Gallery prize for the work that the judge would most like to take home with him for young artist finalist Stephen Teeuw
  • Award winning portrait artist and young artist finalist Lucy McKie won the Cornellisen Prize for Portrait of Louise an outstanding work of traditional portraiture
  • Bill Dean who won both The Fine Art UK Award for contemporary innovation and the Thersa Joy Scwabe Memorial Award for Early morning, Cromwell Road. I must confess I didn't understand the award for contemporary innovation as I couldn't see what was innovative about it (this being an exhibition which included artworks which did 'shout' innovation)
The ROI is to be applauded for the encouragement it gives to the development of young artists, notably through the Winsor & Newton Oil Painters Awards (Under 35’s) Competition, which is an important feature of its Annual Exhibition at the Mall Galleries.

Finalists in the Winsor & Newton Oil Painters Awards (Under 35’s) Competition
photo copyright Katherine Tyrrell

The winners of the Winsor and Newton Oil painters awards were:
  • 1st prize was awarded to Andrew Newton for Mohammed (top left of the above picture)
  • 2nd prize: Maryam Foroozanfar for Untitled 1
  • 3rd prize: Yashonbu Shidami for Room 3
Rush Hour IV (£1,750)
120 x 80cm, Oil on linen, 2008
copyright Adebanji Alade

The winner of the the 2007 Winsor and Newton first prize in this exhibition last year is fellow London resident and fellow sketcher of people on public transport, Adebanji Alade (blog) - who you'll often find commenting on my sketches in Travels with a Sketchbook.

In the exhibition, he had a very impressive and striking painting of London commuters in the rush hour displayed near the entrance to the exhibition. He shares his tips for sketching on his Winsor and Newton blog here and here. His main blog is Adebanji Alade: My Art, My Passion for Sketching

Paintings by David Curtis
all paintings (except bottom right)
copyright David Curtis
photo copyright Katherine Tyrrell

David Curtis ROI, RSMA, who is an oil painter I greatly admire, is this year displaying his commissioned painting of the Queen at the presentation of the Colours to the Duke of Lancaster's Regiment in her role of Colonel in Chief .

The painting has a 'grey day' look as the presentation of the colours for a painting was living up to its reputation of being a trigger for rain!

Fortunately Curtis is a master of the coloured grey as reflected in his three paintings to the left of it. For those interested in the gallery prices of a well established and very popular oil painter, these smaller paintings range in price from £3,250 to £4,950 for the painting of the old forge at the bottom.

I enjoyed the group of smaller paintings being exhibited by Trevor Chamberlain ROI, RSMA - who gets a special mention in today's post Sketching the Still Life on my other blog.

The frames for both Curtis and Chamberlain's paintings demonstrate another trend in London galleries - for oil paintings to be framed in a dark taupe/coloured grey colour - often with a painterly 'worn' finish. There were very few paintings on display framed in gilt. Those that were stood out and looked 'odd' to my eyes.

Other painters who caught my eye included:
Tonight is the Art Event Evening (6pm - 9pm) when you can paint alongside ROI members from a selection of three models.

ROI membership is open to artists who have shown work of a consistently high standard in its annual exhibitions. Artists are first elected as associate members at the annual exhibitions of the Institute and have a maximum period of five years to convince the Members of the Institute that they merit full membership.

Exhibition details: The Royal Institute of Oil Painters Annual Exhibition runs from Wednesday 29th October to Sunday 9th November 2008, 10am-5pm daily including weekends, (and closes at 1pm on the final day). It's at the Mall Galleries, The Mall (near Trafalgar Square), London SW1 - click here for a link to a google map showing the entrance.


1 comment:

  1. Thanks Katherine, I really appreciate the bit on me here. I just finished attending the "Painting Evening" Richard Price had the best Painting of the evening and I am in it, apparently he is in mine too. I'll soon post some images of the night on my blog.


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