ARTYFACTS: BP Portrait Competition (National Portrait Gallery - Edinburgh)

Sunday, January 06, 2008

BP Portrait Competition (National Portrait Gallery - Edinburgh)

This is the winner of the 2007 BP Portrait Competition. Took my 14 year old son to this exhibition and neither of us were moved to much comment. Nothing stood out as being beyond expectations. The range of skills were impressive but there was no sense of danger or experiment in any of this work. It was all too straight (literally traditional poses). In a good portrait you see a person you want to meet in real life. Most of these characters looked like the dull middle-class friends of the painters (that's because most of them were). This is why I liked the old guy who the artist had paid a fiver to pose.

The photorealistic stuff, one of which won the competition, demanded admiration, but only in the sense that one admires massive effort. The winner was the best of the bunch, but not groundbreaking.


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