Monday, June 10, 2024

Contemporary British Portrait Painters - Biennial Exhibition 2024

Anybody who is 
  • EITHER aspiring to either become a contemporary portrait painter 
  • OR wanting to commission a contemporary portrait from one of the leading portrait painters in the UK 
would do well to visit the latest exhibition of the artist collective known as the Contemporary British Portrait Painters.

Most of the artists in the CBPP 2024 exhibition

Their biennial exhibition is currently being held - until 15th June 2024 - downstairs at The Department Store, 248 Ferndale Road, Brixton SW9 8FR.  

The 2024 Exhibition by Contemporary British Portrait Painters
is at The Department Store in Brixton

I highly recommend a visit as it's one of the best exhibitions about contemporary portraiture that I've seen of late.
  • it has a young fresh "contemporary" feel to it
  • none of the portraits resemble "a stuffed shirt"
  • the paintings are hung extremely well (curated by a team led by Lucy Stopford). I got to the point where I became very much focused on how easy it was to "read a wall" and started to admire the thought which had gone into the design and how they were hung on each wall
  • there's a LOT of excellent portrait paintings - in various styles and media and approaches - and in various sizes.
One of the walls

Another wall - with an underlying palette

You can see nearly 40 of the photos I took at the Private View on Friday night on my Making A Mark Facebook Page in this album Contemporary British Portrait Painters Exhibition 2024.

The Private View was also an excellent event. It was very relaxed and great fun!
  • I don't think I've ever seen quite so many artists talking to one another about being a portrait artist! 
  • It's very clear that this is a collective with a really strong sense of community - with a lot of people making active contributions to its wellbeing.
Altogether - a very energising event and exhibition both in terms of the portraiture and the people.

About the British Contemporary Portrait Painters

Small contemporary portrait paintings - includes paintings by
(top left) Ian Goldsmith (Founder)
(top right) Lucy Stopford (Curator)

This independent artist collective was founded in 2018 by Ian Goldsmith. It 

  • aims to represent the best in contemporary British portraiture and 
  • encourage its practitioners to find their voice and tell their portrait story.
I think it is also aiming to redefine what portraiture is about and what it looks like - in today's society.

Membership is by invitation only

Current members include:
  • past winners of the BP Portrait Award eg Miriam Escofet, Susanne du Toit - and lots selected for past exhibitions of (what I'm now calling) The Portrait Award at the National Portrait Gallery
  • past winners of the Portrait Artist of the Year competition eg Duncan Shoosmith, Curtis Holder, Wendy Barratt - and others who did well in the competition
Past Winners of Portrait Artist of the Year
(left to right) 2017: Samira Addo; 2018: Duncan Shoosmith; 2020: 
Curtis Holder; 2023: Morag Caister; 2024: Wendy Barratt
  • leading members - as in past Presidents and current Officers etc - of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters eg Alastair Adams, Simon Davis 
  • people who led the portrait painting 'charge' during the Pandemic eg Tom Croft
  • plus other artists recognised as leading exponents of contemporary portrait painting
For me, the people below include a lot of artists whose names I know well and/or artists I've met before at various exhibitions.

Artists in the 2024 Exhibition by the Contemporary British Portrait Painters

There's a few people I'd suggest also need to be invited, but other than that the only gap in what they are promoting and displaying are those who draw rather than paint - except they have got Curtis Holder! 

Maybe time for a rethink of the emphasis on painting as opposed to portrait artists?

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