Saturday, March 31, 2012

Review: Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize 2012 Exhibition

I went to see the 2012 Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize Exhibition yesterday at the Mall Galleries which is on display until Thursday 5th April.  I very much recommend this as an exhibition to go and see if you want to see good figurative art currently being produced in the UK.

Melissa Scott-Miller won a prize for Islington back gardens - Autumn (on right)
If you can't get to the exhibition, you can see the 2012 exhibition images online on the Painter-Stainers website.

I'm not going to identify all the images in the captions - and I'm afraid that the website doesn't attribute any title or artist to any of the images they're displaying either.  However if you have a query about any let me know and I'll tell you who it's by.

You can also see the exhibition at W.H. Patterson Gallery between 23-27 April 2012

Lynn Painter-Stainers Exhibition in the West Gallery of the Mall Galleries
I do wish the selectors would tell the hangers which paintings have won prizes - BEFORE the paintings are hung.  Not all the paintings which won prizes were in the best of positions and I can't believe this would have been the case if they knew which works won prizes.

About the exhibition
The Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize 2012 is a competition designed to encourage creative representational painting and promote the skill of draughtsmanship.
My observations on the exhibition which I scribbled down while in the gallery are as follows:

  • this is an exhibition with impact - in terms of the type of painting, quality of painting and colour.  While the show includes work by members of art societies, the show has a different and more contemporary flavour. I'd personally like to ask the Art Society Presidents and selection panels to come and look at what artists who are not art society members are painting these days!
  • most of the paintings are large.  There is a wall of small paintings - however serious contenders for prizes are typically large.   
Two of the works I really liked plus another impressive one.
I never get tired of Patrick Cullen's mixed media landscapes
The Shard from King William Street (pen and ink) top right won a prize for Christopher Green
Rachel Ross's spoons won a runner-up prize and you can see more here
  • there is a good range of subject matter:
    • urban and rural landscapes - and leafy back gardens in urban Islington!
    • a goodly proportion of paintings which include figures - paintings of the nude, interior scenes with figures both realistic and allegorical and exterior scenes which include figures
    • the still life is typically different from that seen in many art society shows
Lots of figures in lots of paintings - this is just a small sample
  • the colour reproduction in the exhibition catalogue is poor - the blue is very subdued which gives a lot of the images a brownish cast.  I also thought it was odd that large paintings were reproduced small and small paintings were reproduced large.  It would be nice to see proportions in the catalogue broadly follow their actual size - or some dimensions provided next to the image
  • I didn't notice until I came to do the photos - but there's an awful lot of black paint and low key paintings in the show.
  • I saw lots of red dots!

For artists wishing to submit work next year

Size of paintings: What a slideshow on a website never gives you is any sense of the size of a painting.  I've included some figures in the photographs so you can see just how large some of the paintings are.  In addition, you can Download the 2012 list of exhibitors and picture titles - which also gives the sizes and prices of the paintings

Colour and quality of the paintings: Get a copy of the catalogue to get a record of the type of pictures which get selected - however you can see the quality of both painting and colour better on the website.

Better still go the exhibition - it's the best way of assessing the nature of the competition.

The selectors for 2012 were:
  • Andrew Wilton, Visiting Research Fellow at Tate Britain (past selector)
  • Ken Howard RA NEAC, Artist - winner of numerous prizes and a Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Painter Stainers
  • Chris Orr RA, Artist - used to be Professor and Head of Department of the Printmaking Department at the Royal College of Art London
  • James Hart Dyke, Artist - paints MI6 and the Himalayas
  • William Packer, Art critic and artist
Lynn Painter-Stainers prize 2013

The Call for Entries for the 2013 exhibition will be announced on this blog next year.  Links to previous exhibitions - with images of winning paintings and other selected works can be found below

Sponsors: The Lynn Painter-Stainers Competition is sponsored by The Painter-Stainer's Company, The Lynn Foundation, Minerva, Linklaters LLP and Champagne Bollinger.

Links to previous Making A Mark posts about the Lynn Painter Stainer Prize and Exhibition


  1. I will definitely go see this, although I know I am not in for a surprise. The thing with this prize and other open shows at Mall Galleries is that they repeatedly include the same people ( I was in it twice in a row, I must confess, but did not enter this year). There should be a rule that artists who have been exhibited should skip one year, otherwise the show is at risk of being the same over and over again.

  2. Well the thing is this is the FIRST year at the Mall Galleries and the number of works has shown has increased as a result of the extra space - so that's a good thing. Plus the galleries are much more accessible to the general public which is also good (although you could argue the money is located in the City of London where it exhibited previously!)

    So although there is a fair sprinkling of "artists who go in for competitions" who one regularly sees in shows, there are also a fair number of people whose work I've not seen before. I think you may be surprised Ilaria. (Did you look at the names in the list of who got selected - see )

    I think if you want to look to getting a better selection of artists I'd personally look at selectors - who this year seem to be very Mall Galleries oriented for some reason.

    I don't want to see this show turn into a competition biased towards people who exhibit with the art societies at the Mall Galleries. One of the joys of the open art competitions is we do get to see more of the people who refuse to show with art societies - or are people who only enter competitions.

    I'd personally actually put a limit on how many selectors can be artists associated with the FBA instead! I don't want to keep seeing certain artists getting selected every time certain selectors are on the panel. I could name names but I won't! :)

  3. You are right Katherine, and it's not just about the selection, as these shows award substantial cash prices. In this I respect the selection for the BP Award, where possible conflicts of interests of the judges are specifically addressed. Anyway I find that the competition for the shows at Mall Galleries has increased so much in the last years that it has discouraged me from entering despite past inclusions.


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