Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Royal Institute of Oil Painters - Annual Exhibition 2012

I visited the 125th Annual Exhibition of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters yesterday - Roger Dellar was demonstrating in the afternoon and there was an Art Event in the evening.
Founded in 1882, the ROI is unique in that it exhibits work exclusively in oils.
The exhibition is at the Mall Galleries and continues until 23rd December.  For the first time ever, you can also see many of the paintings online also on the Mall Galleries!

When I first walked in I thought I'd arrived at the NEAC exhibition of old as there was lots of colour and well hung walls to draw you in.
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'.
Cover of the ROI's 125th Annual Exhibition Catalogue
Artwork online

This year, for the first time, you can see most of the artwork in the exhibition online on the new Mall Galleries Shows website - which is a fantastic development.

Every image gets a square box which means that if it's square you get to see it better.  Those which are an exaggerated landscape or portrait format lose out rather.  Click on a work and you can see it in more detail including the size and price.

You can look at work by different categories - members, non members and young artists.
(although the URL doesn't seem to differentiate between the different groups for the purposes of hyperlinking to the website).  Note that some artists don't have all their work represented on the website.

As the exhibition doesn't have its own sub-domain, the way they've got it set up suggests that the works will come down after the exhibition rather than staying up all the time or for a longer period as for example happens with the NEAC Shop website.  To my mind some of the colours are also a bit off - maybe painters need a bit of practice at getting digital images to match colours in real life?

Awards and prizes

Artists who won prizes are as follows:

The Alan Gourlay Memorial Award - an annual prize of £1,000 for a painting of outstanding merit - The Photographer by Valeriy Gridnev ROI PS RP

The Alan Gourlay Memorial Award
The Photographer (£11,000) by Valeriy Gridnev

99cm x 120cm, oil painting
Winsor and Newton Non-Member Awards
First Prize - Introspection by Oliver Newton (bottom right)
Second Prize - A Natural Education by Leanne Rutter (Middle)
Third Prize - I can see the sea by Alice Hall (top left)
Winsor and Newton Non-Member Awards

Work produced by the young artists was really excellent.  It's very clear there are some strong contenders for future membership.
    Crop of A Natural Education by Leanne Rutter
    I was particularly impressed by Leanne Rutter's painting which won second prize (see right) - and her painting and drawing style which is apparently self-taught.  The attention to colour and the painterliness of her treatment of textures is stunning.

    I discussed it with others and the consensus we came too was that it looked very much as if had been as a portrait for the BP Portrait.  However none of those who I talked with could work out why it didn't get in!  If it wasn't submitted then she should do another one for the 2013 exhibition!

    I shall certainly be watching out for her work in future.  Neither her own website or the Mall Galleries website does this painting justice - this is a painting one to go and see for yourself!  The crop on the left is a taster!

    I've also seen work by Alice Hall winning prizes before - in watercolour!  I like it a lot.

    The Dartington Crystal Chalice Award - Awarded annually in recognition of outstanding service and contribution to the ROI.  This year awarded to the President Peter Wileman PROI, ARSMA FRSA

    Group of paintings by Peter Wileman

    L. Cornelissen & Son Award - a kneasel was presented and won by David Curtis ROI RSMA. Do click the link and take a look at the kneasel - it's quite a remarkable design!

    The DAS Award - a Bristol Blue Glass Bowl and £500 awarded to The Parade (38 x 68cm £3,100) by Edman O'Aivazian ROI RSMA

    The DAS Award
    The Parade by Edman O'Aivazian38 x 68cm,  £3,100
    The Le Clerc Fowle Medal

    This is for an outstanding group of paintings but I toured the exhibition twice without spotting the label for this one.

    Menena Joy Schwabe Memorial Award - an award of £250 for an outstanding oil painter was won by Graham Webber for Toward the Packing Shed at dusk (Link to award ceremony on his website in which he describes his paintings and approach) Graham is one of the group of Winsor & Newton Young Artists and I  met him last night at the Art Event evening.  It's always interesting to see how prizewinners paint!  You can see more of his paintings here

    Menena Joy Schwabe Memorial AwardToward the Packing Shed at dusk (£1,500) by Graham Webber
    60 x 85cm
    Frank Herring & Sons Easel Award - The donation of a versatile easel was awarded to Lemon Tea (£500) by Liz Balkwill (Liz Balkwill Paintings).

    Frank Herring Easel Award
    Lemon Tea (£500) -by Liz Balkwill

    38 x 33cm
    The Stanley Grimm Prize (two awards totalling £700 to the painters whose work receives the most votes from visitors to the exhibition - and excluding previous winners) - still voting!

    Work I liked

    My overall impression is that the non members are hard on the heels of the members!  Here's a note of the work I liked and links to the artist's websites.

    Wye Valley from Symonds Yat by Malcolm Ashman
    Morning Sunlight, the Vendange, Alsace 
    by Fred Beckett

    The Allotments in Winter (£500) by Linda Payne
    56 x 56cm

    Incidentally - for those who follow these things - I'm seeing more and more 'bone' coloured frames in the range between white and taupe.  I think I've got to the point where I can tell the age of the painter by the type of frame they use!

    As with NEAC, the majority of paintings are selling under the £1,000 mark - it takes an exceptional work to sell for more.

    Art demonstrations and Art Events

    It's worth noting that this society takes its demonstrations and art events seriously.  Three demonstrations are given during the course of the Exhibition.

    Roger Dellar demonstration, 17th December 2012
    Art Event Evening 17th December 2012
    I was very impressed by the turnout for the Art Event Evening yesterday evening.  You can see more of it and read about who won the prize for the best portrait on my sketchbook blog ROI Art Event Evening at the Mall Galleries - where you can see my sketch of artists painting

    Other Blog posts about the Exhibition / Art Event
    Links about Previous ROI Annual Exhibitions
    Links for oil painters

    Please note subscriptions only become live after you have verified the link in the email you will receive


    1. I love seeing so many artists in one spot like this, Katherine. So many beautiful submissions; wish I could see them in person.

    2. What fun...having your perspective on this delightful annual exhibition.


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