Monday, September 23, 2013

Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition 2013 - Prizewinners and Selected artists

The Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition is held every three years.  Its aim is to encourage artists to explore the art of portraiture.  The competition invites figurative artists to submit entries in all media to be considered for prizes and display at the National Portrait Gallery.

It's been over two years since I last wrote about The Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition 2013.  In part that's because I omitted to highlight it when the 2013 exhibition started in March. The exhibition runs until February 2014.

Below are listings of the prizewinners and the selected artists - plus links to:
  • their websites (link is in the name of the artist). These are impressive websites - I recommend you click on a few links!
  • their artwork (link is in the title of the work)
  • any interviews done by the Smithsonian blog Face to Face for the purposes of the competition
That way other aspiring and competing portrait artists can check out the opposition! :)

I've also highlighted the medium used where this is unusual.  One of the unusual aspects of the competition is that it is not just limited to paintings - or even paintings in very specific media as applies to the BP Portrait Award.  Rather the artist is allowed to choose the media they want to work in - and the exhibition celebrates the exploration of the nature of portraiture that ensures.   Having been through all the entries - and the artiosts websites - to construct this post it seems to me as if the multi-media approach makes for a much richer experience of the act of making a portrait.

You can see images of all the portraits selected for the exhibition on the competition website - seee Exhibition Finalists.


The prizewinners were announced in March - at the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition awards celebration.

Note that none of the prizewinners selected by the jurors were painters.

Outwin Bouchever Portrait Competition 2013 - Prizewinners (thumbnails)

First Prize ($25,000)

Bo Gehring (Beacon, New York) won first prize with a large scale video croc to top portrait of Jessica Wickham accompanied by Arvo Pärt’s “Cantus in Memoriam Benjamin Britten”. It's hyper-realism with breathing.  Read an interview with the artist Portrait of an Artist: Bo Gehring - it has an image of how big the video is when playing in the gallery.  This is LARGE!

HD video (5:05 minutes), 2010
The idea of my portraits is to record intimately emotional response over time as the subject listens to a favorite piece of music. For her portrait, Jessica Wickham, a precision woodworker in Beacon, New York, chose Arvo Pärt’s “Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten.”
A precisely controlled video camera hovering inches away from the subject travels the length of her body, timed to synchronize with the length of the piece of music. The camera, nearer than the eye can focus, captures minute actions like breathing and pulse as living elements of the portrait. The camera also closely explores the drape and wear of clothing, expressions of personal choice that Jessica (like each of us) has chosen to present to the world. 
This is the How it works video and these are the How it works stills.  You can see more of his videos on his website

Second Prize ($7,500)

Buffalo Milk Yogurt  (Video) by Jennifer Levonian, Philadelphia,Pennsylvania was also a video - but this time a painted animation. Read the interview Portrait of an Artist: Jennifer Levonian

This is a clip from my cut-out animation Buffalo Milk Yogurt. 
Total running time is 7 min. 
This work is a collaboration with Corey Fogel.

Third Prize ($5,000)

Self-Portrait (Sculpture: Acrylic on wood with steel base) by Sequoyah Aono, New York City  Read the interview Portrait of an Artist: Sequoyah Aono
From time to time I think about the reason of my existence,who I am, what I can do, how I am needed . . .Whenever I think of this, I feel unstable and unsteady.At such times I feel like carving myself.

People’s Choice award ($500)

Winner of the People's Choice award
100 pounds of rice by Saeru Kiritani

still from Saeri Kiritani, Artist, Portrait Competition 2013

“100 Pounds of Rice,” (sculpture made from rice, rice noodles, Elmer’s Glue, epoxy glue, wood and metal sticks) by Saeri Kiritani of Forest Hills, N.Y.  Read the interview with the artist Portrait of an Artist: Saeri Kiritani.  This is a video of an interview with Saeri Kiritani, Artist, Portrait Competition 2013

You can see an excellent photo of this sculpture in situ in the exhibition in Americans do it better - a review, with photos, of the exhibition by Ilaria Rosselli del Turco (Ilaria Rosselli Del Turco - News).  I was certainly encouraged to this post having read the review and seen the photos of the exhibition.

Commended ($1,000 each)

Selected Artists

Finalists for the 2013 competition were chosen a year ago - but I missed the announcement.
One of the first weavers to employ digital photography in her work, her recent weavings look like photographic enlargements of faces, but dissolve into a maze-like surface on closer inspection.Textile Arts Council Lecture: "Faces, Mazes, and Fiber Tracts"


Jurors for the competition were drawn from both the National Portrait Gallery and external independent persons involved in art.  There is no involvement whatsoever by any sponsor which differentiates it from the BP Portrait Award - which to my mind is good. Fine for sponsors to sponsor but I'm not sure it entitles them to pass judgement.

The External jurors for the competition were critic Peter Frank, artist Hung Liu, art historian Richard Powell and photographer Alec Soth. The jurors from the National Portrait Gallery were Brandon Brame Fortune, chief curator; Dorothy Moss, assistant curator of painting and sculpture; and Wendy Wick Reaves, interim director of the museum.

Link: Making A Mark: The Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition 2013 27 Jul 2011