Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize Exhibition 2016 - Prizewinners and Review

The £15,000 Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize for 2016 - and a Gold Medal - has been awarded to Henry Kondracki for his oil painting of The Cowgate - in the snow - by The Worshipful Company of Painter Stainers and the Lynn Foundation.

This is a prestigious prize for original, two-dimensional works in any painting or drawing media. The prize has two aims:
  • to encourage the very best creative representational painting and 
  • to promote the skill of draughtsmanship

Winner of the Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize
The Cowgate by Henry Kondracki

oil on canvas, 89 x 114cm
It's a great painting of a historic street - The Cowgate in the Old Town part of Edinburgh - in the snow and poor light. The lights shine out and there's a very bright lemon yellow beacon right in the middle of the painting. They're all the more effective because of the subdued and coloured greys which surround them.

Kondracki provided this comment on the painting
"A well worn part of Edinburgh, the Cowgate’s history goes back a long way … My memory is part of the story of the city, but only a small part. I am aware of all the people who have walked these same snowy streets, leaving tracks that record their journeys, rather like drawing – a moment in time frozen.”
Henry Kondracki studied at the Byam Shaw School of Art, London and the Slade School of Fine Art, London (1982–1986) and his work has been widely exhibited in the UK and overseas. In terms of prizes he has been awarded:
  • The Scottish Arts Council Award (1978); 
  • The Slade Prize in Fine Art (1985 and 1986); 
  • Cheltenham Drawing Prize (1999) and 
  • 1st place in The Hunting Art Prize (2004)
This is a video of Henry talking about his art and his painting practice - in which you can see a part-complete Cowgate lurking in a corner of his studio as a work in progress.

The Young Artist Award (£2,500) 

This was awarded to Bernadette Timko for her oil painting Studio 7.

This was by far my favourite painting of the show. I predict a very bright future for Ms Timko - I just wish she'd get a website organised so she can start to make the most of the opportunities which come her way.

Winner of the Young Artist Prize (£1,500)
Studio 7 by Bernadette Timko

Oil on linen, 152 x 150cm
She is currently a student at Heatherley’s School of Fine Art, London studying portrait painting. She is also one of the two Drawing School Scholars for 2015-16 of the New English Drawing School and won the top prizes in the Young Oil Painter Awards at the annual exhibition of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters. (See my blog post - ROI Exhibition: Young Oil Painter Awards)

Personally I think she is already a very mature painter and would have been a very worthy winner of the top prize.


This exhibition will be on display as follows:
  • until 13 March 2016 (10am to 5pm every day) at The Mall Galleries, The Mall, London, SW1Y 5DB Dates: 7 – 13 March 2016 Opening Hours: 10am – 5pm
  • for the first time it will also tour to the Guildford House Gallery 155 High Street, Guildford, Surrey, GU1 3AJ Dates: 25 June – 17 July 2016 Opening Hours: Mon-Sat: 10am – 4.45pm. Sundays: 11am – 4pm Admission: Free
Most of the works are for sale. You can also view the exhibition via the online gallery.

The exhibition this year is much larger - it features 139 works - and it attracted many more entries compared to usual.  You can find out more about the artists chosen for the exhibition in Lynn Painter-Stainers 2016 - Selected artists and works

This year for the first time, the exhibition is only running for a week - due to the building works during January.

You can see it this week in the Main and Threadneedle Galleries at the Mall Galleries.

Frankly I much prefer this bigger exhibition. I think it lends the exhibition more weight and gravitas. If the choice for me were to be more time and fewer works compared to less time for the exhibition and more works, I'd personally go for the first option every time.

Next some views of the exhibition and then details of the other prizewinners.

I've also taken a short video which I hope to process and include here and on my Facebook Page in the next day or so.

Views of the exhibition

My own view of the exhibition is that the proportion of larger paintings which were very good was higher than for smaller paintings. As I find with any exhibition, there were paintings where I struggled to find  a reason for their inclusion. In particular with this art competition I'm not sure all the selectred works adequately met the aims and criteria for this competition i.e. to promote
the very best creative representational painting and promote the skill of draftsmanship
That said there were very few "photorealistic" works and much more looser and more painterly paintings. (see Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize 2016: Call for Entries)

The exhibition also included an iPad generated digital painting/print.  I do wonder if the judges noticed it was a digital print. It's a very good one - I doubt if many people would realise it's not a conventional painting!

Desmond’s Wiveton Hall Honeycomb by Char Faber
iPad monprint, 70 x 80cm
 a view of the exhibition in the Threadneedle Gallery - for the first time
a stretch of the exhibition which repaid a linger
some very bright paintings on the end wall. Hung together they avoided swamping other works.
More works in the Threadneedle Gallery
Don't miss a very nice wall of works in the space next to the cafe

Other Prizewinners

Brian Botting, Master of the Painter-Stainers Company from 2003-4 bequeathed a £5,000 annual prize to be awarded to an artist aged 30 or under for "an outstanding representation of the human figure".  The organisers wondered whether this prize generated the HUGE increase in applications this year from younger art students.

The £5,000 Brian Botting Prize

This was awarded to London artist Charlie Schaffer of the human figure in his painting Madonna.  I have to say I'm not a fan of the painting - but that's maybe because it reminded me very much of a Barbie Doll (see right below) - which seemed to directly contradict the purpose of the prize!

I can only surmise that there wasn't a lot of competition from artists under 30.  For the record I much preferred the paintings of figures by Lantian D., Tom Dewhurst and Radoslav Topalov - although whether they qualified for the prize is another matter.

I do hope Bernadette Timko will enter a painting of the human figure next year.

Runner Up Prizes

Five Runner-up prizes of £1,500 each were awarded to the following

Left to right
Runner Up: Neale Worley for Model
Rinner up: Peter Clossick for Garden;
Brian Botting Prize: Charlie Schaeffer for Madonna
I saw a very similar painting of Peter Clossick's Garden (called Summer Solstice) to the one chosen for this competition called - hung in more or less the same place on the same wall as it was in the Threadneedle Prize. I had a very odd sense of deja vu yesterday!

Hoxton Square Daytime by Benjamin Andreas
Oil on board, 118 x 118cm

I found this painting a little odd. It has been painted on sets of boards which have then been fixed together. I wondered if this was because it was painted plein air. There again, why would anybody need to paint on quite so many small boards.  It's an interesting approach - but one where the artist needs to steer a careful course if it is to avoid looking like affectation.

I liked Fontainebleau Reconstruction Joe Fan. It's one of those works that makes you keep looking to find the bits you haven't noticed yet.

Runner Up: Fontainebleau Reconstruction Joe FanOil on canvas 122 x 153cm
Runner Up: The Pond by Ian Rowlands
Oil, 91 x 91cm
The selectors were
  • Catharine Davison, Artist; 
  • Ken Howard OBE RA NEAC, Artist; 
  • James Lloyd, Artist; 
  • Sam Wadsworth, Artist; 
  • Andrew Wilton, Visiting Research Fellow at Tate Britain.
The two sponsors of this exhibition are:
  • The Worshipful Company of Painter-Stainers was formed in 1502 by the amalgamation of companies in existence before 1283, the Worshipful Company of Painter-Stainers is actively engaged in supporting the art and craft of painting. 
  • The Lynn Foundation is a charity devoted to children, the disabled, music and the arts. Its contribution is the prize money totalling £25,000 and an engraved gold medal for the winner of the First Prize. 

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


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