Thursday, February 28, 2013

Lynn Painter Stainer Exhibition 2013: Review

Ruth Stage NEAC's egg tempera painting  The Isabella Plantation has won this year's Lynn Painter Stainer Prize (2013).  Ruth won the £15,000 cash prize and an engraved gold medal. This also makes it a win for egg tempera two years on the trot! (see Antony Williams wins Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize 2012)

Lynn Painter-Stainer Prize 2013
The Isabella Plantation by Ruth Stage NEAC
100x120, Egg Tempera £7,000
You'd think the BBC would have grown up by now, become educated in painting media and no longer felt the need to identify her by the descriptive term of "egg artist" - but alas it hasn't happened!

Ruth studied at Cleveland, Newcasle and the Royal Academy Schools and has been a professional artist for nearly 20 years. You can see more of Ruth Stage's work on the website of her gallery and in the NEAC website store.  I've been salivating over her work for years and am particularly fond of her treatment of light and water.

The Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize 2013 is a competition designed to encourage creative representational painting and promote the skill of draughtsmanship. The exhibition features the very best in British figurative painting, showcasing the work of both established and young contemporary artists from across the UK.
83 works by 71 artists were chosen from over 1000 entries.  The catalogue has a complete listing and thumbnails of all the selected works.

Lynn Painter Stainer Prize - 2013 Exhibition
The West Wall of the West Gallery, Mall Galleries
I'm only sorry that due to my dreadful flu bug/coughing fits etc I missed the Preview and Awards Ceremony and only finally got to see the Annual Exhibition of artwork selected for display yesterday.    The exhibition for the Lynn Painter Stainer Prize 2013 continues at the Mall Galleries in central London until Saturday 2 March 2013, 10am to 5pm and is well worth seeing.

You can also see all the artwork online on the website.  Unfortunately these images do not have any dimensions and hence it's not possible to get a sense of relative size.

However this is a wall of some of the smaller artworks.

Lynn Painter Stainer Prize - 2013 Exhibition
Small Paintings, East Wall of the West Gallery, Mall Galleries

Other Prizewinners

This wall includes the Lynn Painter-Stainers Prizewinners
- including Ruth Stage who won the £15,000 first prize and gold medal
The Young Artist Award of £2,500 was awarded to John Hainsworth who has three (small) works selected for exhibition; Memories of Malevich III, Ode to Doig II and Skyfall. See how small they are in the above photograph.

The Runners-Up, who each received a cash prize of £1,500, were as follows:

Robert Dukes for Allsorts - a very small painting (underneath George Rowlett's painting in the above photo).  Studied at Grimsby and the Slade and now teaches in London.

Jennifer McRae for Hospitalfield House: Sonya Sleeping; (see image below).  Studied Gray's School of Art. Jennifer McRae has won many awards for her painting in both watercolour and oils.

Cherry Pickles for My Sullen Art: Self portrait as Dylan Thoma- Studied at Chelsea and the Slade and lives in Wales.  She is Senior Lecturer in Fine Art at Cardiff School of Art and Design at UWIC ( University of Wales Institute Cardiff)

Danny Markey RWA for Town at night.  Studied Falmouth and Camberwell and lives in Wales. I have to be honest and say I honestly don't 'get' Danny's work.  By which I mean that although I appreciate it is simple and honest, there are other artists who have the same attributes and who I find paint in a way which is more interesting to me.
Lynn Painter Stainer Prize - 2013 Exhibition
Two Runners-Up
Right: Cheryl Pickles - My Sullen Art: Self Portrait as Dylan Thomas (81x97, oil on linen) £10,000
Bottom: Danny Marky - Town at Night (40x100, oil on board) £9,000
"For me, painting and the choice of subject is impulsive. However, I do try to avoid the picturesque and look at the unregarded yet common aspects of the world around me. In the end what matters is what you make of it in paint but I seem to need a place, a landscape to get me going and the little epiphanies that trigger ideas for my paintings can occur in the most ordinary settings."Danny Markey
George Rowlett for Advancing blue, yellow barges, Thames Barrier, early afternoon.  You can see videos of George at work in my blog post George Rowlett painting the River Thames and Uist on The Art of the Landscape
Runner Up, Lynn Painter Stainer Prize 2013
Advancing blue, yellow barges, Thames Barrier, early afternoon (61x122, oil) £8,160
by George Rowlett
The five judges were:
  • British artist Ken Howard
  • The Spectator art critic Andrew Lambirth
  • the 2012 Lynn Painter-Staines winner Antony Williams
  • Tate Britain fellow Andrew Wilton and 
  • British artist Nina Murdoch.
Now I understand - two of the judges paint in egg tempera!

My own observations

In no particular order, here are my observations on the exhibition:

I walked round once and then sat down and had a cup of tea, looked at the catalogue and looked again at the paintings from a distance.  It suddenly struck me as being a very British exhibition in terms of the subject matter, colour palette and contemporary painting styles evident in the gallery.  

Lynn Painter Stainer Prize - 2013 Exhibition
Coloured greys and splashes of colour
  • Nobody was shouting in terms of their colour palette.  There are lots of coloured greys and fine gradations of tones which we are so used to seeing for six months of the year plus splashes of colour but nothing which jars or does something as uncouth as saying "LOOK AT ME"!
  • There's a huge amount of subtlety  in evidence in terms of brushwork, scumbling and laying on of paint - it's a great exhibition for those who like looking at the painting process as well as at paintings! 
  • There are also a lot of slightly quirky figurative paintings. and very little hyperrealism.  Those paintings which are very realistic are also odd (on a range of 'slightly' to 'very') in a different way.  There are absolutely no straightforward realistic paintings of the 'copy a photo' variety.
  • For some reason I noticed a lot of landscapes this year - I'm not sure if there are more or they're larger or better - but I came away thinking I'd seen a fair few!
  • The paintings which tend to have most impact are larger
  • It contains work by a lot of artists who have won major prizes in the past plus senior members of prestigious art societies.  I was less conscious this year, when compared to previous years, of this exhibition being a stepping stone for important emerging artists as it has been in the past.
  • I was struck by how many very good female artists have work in the exhibition.  You can see work by Runner Up Jennifer McRae and Patricia Cain below.
Lynn Painter Stainer Prize - 2013 Exhibition
Two Award-winning Female Artists - who both live in Scotland
(left) RUNNER UP 'Hospitalfield House: Sonya Sleeping' by Jennifer McRae RSA 
(122 x 92 oil on linen) £18,500
(right) Riverside Interior III by Patricia Cain (122 x 91, Pastel) £4,700
Not a lot of paintings have been sold.  However the prices are rather high for the foot traffic this gallery normally gets.  Looks like maybe the right collectors didn't turn up to the PV or they don't like the choice this year - which is a pity as I think it's a good exhibition


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