Thursday, May 03, 2018

Radka Kirby wins Wildlife Artist of the Year 2018

The Wildlife Artist of the Year 2018 Exhibition opened yesterday at the Mall Galleries.

I was there on Tuesday night for the preview and to see the awards being made - but there was a hiccup on details - now remedied - and below you can find out
  • who won the very prestigious Wildlife Artist of the Year award - and £10,000 and 
  • you can also see artwork which won in each category
  • plus see the works which won awards in the context of the exhibition as a whole.

The Wildlife Artist of the Year Exhibition

This is always an excellent exhibition every year - in part because it attracts entries from all over the world. Just to get selected for the exhibition is a major achievement for many artists given the number and calibre of the entries it gets.

For all lovers of wildlife art - especially of the more exotic variety - it's a very worthwhile an exhibition to visit.

For all aspiring wildlife artists it's an ESSENTIAL exhibition to visit - as you can only really appreciate the quality of the paintings and sculpture when viewed in the galleries.

However for those unable to get to London, you can view the works selected for the exhibition online - although sadly you don't get a sense of size from this perspective.

50% of the sales of all works of art also goes to the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation's wildlife conservation projects across Africa and Asia.

The exhibition is open as follows
  • Wednesday to Friday – 10am to 5pm
  • Saturday – 10am to 4pm
  • Sunday – 10am – 1pm

Awards and Views of the Exhibition

The awards are listed below:
  • Comments from the Judges are quoted in blue next to each award.
  • There's an image for each award
  • I've interspersed the awards with some photos of the artwork within the gallery (where I've got an appropriate photo). This helps give a sense of size and impact.

Wildlife Artist of the Year (£10,000) - Radka Kirby

Peaceful Place by Radka Kirby
This is a paintingof a flock of birds on a colourful sub-Saharan lake.
This wonderfully sublime piece is a hugely deserved winner and a fitting tribute to this competition. It simply claims the ‘x-factor’!

My own feeling was that it exuded a peaceful feeling despite the bright colours.
Radka Kirby is a Czech born artist and is also known as Radu Tesaro. This Bored Panda article explains the background to her style of knife painting - and you can see a lot more of her palette knife paintings of wildlife. She lived for six years in Zambia, which has had a great influence on her art. She now lives in Prague, painting portraits, landscapes and African wildlife.

There are four awards in this shot
Wildlife Artist of the Year is on extreme right
The Animal Behaviour Award and The Artist Magazine Awards go to the painting bottom left
Into the Blue Award is for the bronze sculpture in the foreground

Overall Runner-Up (£1,000) - Malayan Tapir by Justin Coburn

A wonderful small painting of a Malayan Tapir by Justin Coburn claimed the runner-up prize.  Justin Coburn was born in the North East of England and lives in Durham city with his wife and daughter. He works full time as a painter.

Malayan Tapir by Justin Coburn
A deceptively simple painting, this beguiling image is both classic and modern at one and the same time.
The tapir is bottom left; one of the category ward winners is top left

Category Winners (£500 each)

Earth’s Wild Beauty - Winter Fox by Chris Rose.

This is a new category open to art illustrating wild landscapes, seascapes and the people who live in these environments or work to protect them.
Extraordinary detail and textures along with the subtle contrasting darks and lights help create a stunning, life-like piece of work.
My view was that Chris Rose's painting just shouts "PRIZEWINNER" when you walk in the gallery.  It attracts attention from a distance and repays close attention as you get nearer - plus it is beautifully painted. What more can you ask of a prizewinning painting?

It also provides an excellent lesson in the importance of context and lighting and why paying attention to both really adds value to a wildlife painting.

This is a view of it in the Gallery - next to other paintings.

Composition and design and colour palette capture the attention

Animal Behaviour AND The Artist Magazine Award - This Way Son by Alan Hunt

The Animal Behaviour Prize, sponsored by Gary Hodges is for those who demonstrate a real understanding of animal behaviour and a sense of character.
Extraordinarily atmospheric – you can feel the movement of the water – brilliant.
The Artist Magazine Award was selected independently  by the editor of The Artist Magazine, Dr Sally Bulgin - and the prize is a feature article for the successful artist in The Artist magazine. Dr Bulgin said she chose Alan Hunt as her winner, not just because of the extraordinary detail in this work, but for the high standard of all of Alan’s entries in the competition.

Most of Alan Hunt's painting is black, white and grey and yet a touch of orange and some great painting makes this as an absolutely stand-out painting.

This Way Son by Alan Hunt

Into the Blue: Zebra Shark – Umberto

This Derek Frances Award is for illustrating the wonderful world of water, be it ocean, seashore, wetland, river or stream.

It may be bronze, but what we see and feel here is the silent movement and stealth of a beautiful creature and flowing form – it is alive.
Umberto won the Wildlife Artist of the Year in 2016 with his Ribbon Eel. (see Wildlife Artist of the Year 2016 - The Awards).

Umberto is an award-winning French sculptor. He started out as a model maker for commercial art. However once he started working using a foundry for his work, it became more figurative and about nature and wildlife. He now has a workshop where he has worked as a professional sculptor for the last 13 years.

You can also see his Bird of Paradise in the exhibition. Below is my photo of the Zebra Shark in the gallery - which gives you a sense of its size - followed by a professional photo of of this bronze sculpture. 

Umberto's Zebra Shark in the Gallery

Zebra Shark by Umberto

Urban Wildlife: 40 Flies – Felipe Chavez

This award is for entries in an urban style or depicting the city life of animals and plants. Judges were looking for both originality in the habitat as well as the contrast between wild and urban life. Sponsored by Barlow Robbins.

40 Flies – Felipe Chavez

Full of characteristic movement, portrayed in a pure and simple form.
I thought it a very unusual and yet very appropriate choice for an urban category. Maybe next year we'll have rats or cockroaches?

40 Flies – Felipe Chavez - on the wall with other monochrome works in the exhibition

Vanishing Fast:  On the Inside Looking Out – Carrie Cook

This category is for artwork which shows animals vanishing from our world – it can be any species officially listed as endangered or threatened on the IUCN Red List – or any landscape that is at risk. Sponsored by Martin & Emma Leuws.

A deliciously moody painting full of fire and brooding masculinity.
You can see this artwork on the wall - just above the tapir - in the view near the beginning.

Carrie Cook is a portrait artist who happens to paint portraits of non-human animals. She is a Signature Member of the Society of Animal Artists and has won their Medal of Excellence

I like to get an animal’s story and paint the individual, for it is surely as individuals that they see themselves.
On the Inside Looking Out by Carrie Cook

Wings: In The Colony – Paul Bartlett

This award is about the extraordinary variety of winged wildlife – birds and insects, in flight or at rest. Sponsored by Barlow Robbins
Strong in pattern, shape, colour and tone, the tactile nature of collage gives this painting the winning touch.
Again, this is a painting which captured the eye very quickly and makes effective use of collage.

In The Colony by Paul Bartlett
This painting is in the middle of this perspective of the exhibition
behind two rather wonderful sculptures

Highly Commended Artworks - and their artists

The following works were highly commended
  • Manta 1,2,3 & 4 – Bill Prickett. 
  • Free Again (Prezewalski’s horses return to Mongolia) – Paul Bartlett. 
  • Learning to be King – Nick Oneill. 
  • I’m Next – Nick Day. 
  • Mythical Tail – Tom Shepherd. 
  • Looking Ahead – Anisha Heble. 
  • Waterplay – Gunnar Tryggmo. 
  • Hammerhead Sharks II – Nicolas Pain. 
  • Crows – Jon Reeves. 
  • Looping the Loop – Janis Goodman. 
  • Black Rhino Profile – Martin Buffery. 
  • Damascus Oryx – Stephen Rew. 
  • We Shall Not Return – Derek Robertson. 
  • Leggit! – Martin Buffery. 
  • Honey Badger – Beverley Drury. 
  • Bottles Shimmer like Fish in a Blue Tide of Plastic Waste – Christopher Hindley. 
and finally, two artists I know who were also at the Private View

Catherine Ingleby featured in my first Work/Life Interview, - see Work-Life-Artist #1: Catherine Ingleby

Catherine Ingleby
Laura Quinn Harris with her painting of a polar bear
I last met Laura Quinn Harris at the Press View to meet the artists at the BP Portrait Award 2017 in which she had one of the feature portraits. She's another artist who paints portraits of people and animals.

The entrance to the Wildlife Artist of the Year Exhibition at the Mall Galleries on Tuesday evening

More about Wildlife Artist of the Year (past)


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