Friday, June 17, 2016

Prizewinners at the New English Art Club Annual Exhibition 2016

It's really interesting having the annual exhibition of the New English Art Club on at the same time as the Summer Exhibition of the Royal Academy of Arts. That's because some are members of both institutions but mostly because NEAC was founded by a group of artists dissatisfied with the entrenched attitudes of the Royal Academy!

This year, if you had to make a choice between the Summer Exhibition and the NEAC Annual Exhibition, I suspect most of my readers would enjoy the art they see in the NEAC exhibition more!

Catching the Light by Charlotte Sorapure
oil, 40 x 64 inches (£16,850)
Below I've got news about the prizewinners - and the three major prizes are very definitely worth winning!

I'm actually going to go back to the exhibition before I do a detailed review as PVs are never good times to actually see the art from a distance and I do like to see art at more than arm's length and I'm very aware of the fact I've not yet seen all of it properly.

The other major news is NEAC now has a brand new website (based on Drupal 7) which launched on Wednsday - the day of the Private View. It's responsive to screen size (now an absolute essential for all art websites) and looks equally good on my very big iMac screen and my iPhone 6+.  Click the link embedded in the NEAC name in the first line above to access it.

NEAC 2016 Prizewinners

The NEAC Exhibition has some major cash prizes of a value which might generate an entire competition just for that prize!  Hence the focus in this post on the winners of the prizes.

The major cash prizes in 2016 

All the winners of the main cash prizes have been hung in the Threadneedle Space.

The Zsuzsi Roboz Prize (£5,000)

Awarded to an artist who demonstrates a particular excellence in draughtsmanship in painting or drawing - by The Alfred Teddy Smith and Zsuzsi Roboz Trust. The winner is chosen by one of the Trustees and one of the members.

Charlotte Sorapure (b. 1968) won the The Zsuzsi Roboz Prize with her wonderful picture titled Catching the Light.

It's a wonderful painting - one of those that when you enter the room you spontaneously comment "Oh, that's good!" without a second thought.  It confounds all sorts of 'rules' about the way you are supposed to organise your foreground. Charlotte is very clearly a figurative painter and yet she seems to be a painter who enjoys playing with format, layers of paint and creating distortions and devices which make you look at a painting more closely as you begin to realise there's rather more to it than appears at first glance.

Charlotte Sorapure NEAC with her painting (top left) Touching the Light

She has said of that illusive thing 'a successful painting'
A successful painting is where all the elements have found their natural place in the scheme, yet the image is in no way predictable. It should be bold and decisive in design. It should read from a distance, yet also be subtle and deeply mysterious. I just want to be able to continue painting and developing. There is always so much to do and learn. Life is short… and art is long!
Charlotte Sorapure
talking about her work
- plus Jeremy Isaacs on the left
and Richard Pikesley
President of NEAC on the right

Charlotte won the Holbourne Prize in 2012 and was commissioned by the Holbourne Museum to produce a painting of the famous photographer Don McCullin. The process was documented in an article for The Guardian - see Portrait of a photographer: McCullin by Sorapure

Charlotte is a member of the New England Art Club. As well as exhibitions at the Mall Galleries she is represented by Messum’s in London and Brian Sinfield Gallery in Burford.

She studied art at Cheltenham & Gloucester College of Art and the Royal Academy Schools and her career has seen her selected on a regular basis for open exhibitions and she is a regular prizewinner. I only worked out on Wednesday for the first time that she's married to Saied Dai.

Do take a look at her website (embedded in her name above) as she has a wonderful portfolio of work.

The Doreen McIntosh Prize (£5,000)

This significant prize was won by Martin Yeoman (b. 1953) with his painting of Taj Mahal Winter.  It reminded me very much of colours and atmospherics displayed in the pastels Monet used to create of the bridges across the Thames  as seen from his room at the savoy Hotel during Wintery peasoupers!

Again this is very much a standout painting which instantly catches your eye as you ascan round the room. It would be nice to think that it might be moved from the stairs down into the Threadneedle Space so people can appreciate it more. It's a bit difficult trying to look at it and stand one two steps at the same time!

Taj Mahal Winter by Martin Yeoman NEAC
Oil, 38 x 49 inches £12,000
Martin Yeomans receiving his cheque for £5,000
from Jeremy Isaacs
He explained how he created the painting from memory, a tiny drawing and some other colour studies done on the same spot. There's a wonderful set of his pastel drawing and paintings of India on his website.

Martin Yeoman is also a member of NEAC and is also a graduate of the Royal Academy Schools (1975-1979) in London. His website indicates the majority of his work is portraiture of paintings of figures - so landscape is a bit of a departure from his normal subject matter. The website also contains links to a video interview with him on his website.  In the past he has won the Ondaatje Prize. He's teaching a Summer School course on Drawing and Painting the Head at the Royal Drawing School this July.

The Haworth Prize (£4,000)

Sponsored by The Haworth Trust

Rob Pointon (b.1982) won the £4,000 Haworth Prize for a northern English landscape or cityscape by a young artist from the North of England.

Piccadilly Falls by Rob Pointon
oil, 39 x 28 imches (£2,400)

Rob Pointon talking about he paints on location
Piccadilly Falls was painted at Piccadilly Station in Manchester. He explained how he watched the crowds of people during the rush and focused on trying to work out how to group them - but that at some point you just have to "give it all up to the painting" - which I took to mean get stuck in and start painting and issues will resolve as you paint.

The artists who are eligible for this prize are aged 35 or under and are resident in the North of England in the following areas: Cumbria, Northumberland, Durham, Tyne and Wear, Yorkshire, Lancashire, Merseyside, Greater Manchester and Cheshire.

Rob's website indicates he's obviously a very committed 'on location' painter and provides an explanation of his working methods for painting large crowds in urban locations - including Old Trafford!

Nine shortlisted paintings for the prize are part of the exhibition. Shortlisted artists are listed in the catalogue (see below).

Works shortlisted for the Haworth Prize 2016

Other prizes

The Dry Red Press Award: 

The winning work will be published as a greeting card by Dry Red Press

This was won by Diana Culvert NEAC.

The NEAC Critics’ Prize (£250)

This prize is chosen by members of the NEAC.  The winner this year is a watercolour painting by Patrick Cullen NEAC

The Burning Ghat, Dusk, Varanasi bby Patrick Cullen
Watercolour, 47 x 60 inches (£7,950)
It was part of a feature wall of his paintings of India which was very striking.

Paintings of India by Patrick Cullen

New Prizes for 2016

The Peter Ashley Framing Prize (a bespoke picture frame created to the value of £500)

Presented by The Artistic Framing Company 

Mirror Mirror by Peter Clossick won this new prize.

Mirror Mirror by Peter Clossick
Oil 33 x 25 inches (£2,600)

The Woodhay Picture Gallery Prize for Drawing (£300)

This was won by Martin Yeoman for his drawing of Richard. (For more details about Martin see above.)
Richard by Martin Yeoman
Crayon, 18 x 15 inches (£1,150)
Plus The Winsor & Newton Award (£500 worth of art materials). This will be voted for by visitors to the exhibition and announced later.

About the exhibition

The exhibition is at the Mall Galleries until 25 June - so those coming up to see the first days of the BP Portrait Prize exhibition will also be able to get to see this one as well.

This is the exhibition catalogue.

You can see a list of all the exhibiting artists in this 2016 Annual Exhibition on the website.

There is also a list of events on the Mall Galleries website

Previous posts about the Annual NEAC Exhibition

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