Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Call for Entries - Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours 206th Exhibition 2018

The Call for Entries opened last month for the 206th Exhibition of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours (RI) at the Mall Galleries in April 2018.  The deadline for entries is 5 January 2018.
The RI seeks the best in contemporary watercolour and watermedia painting
Always an incredibly popular exhibition which appeals to all ages - this was the Private View in 2017

The RI was founded in 1831 to exhibit the best in watercolour painting and to show non-members’ works alongside that of members, a policy still followed today.

Exhibition Metrics for 2017


This is a summary of the exhibition metrics for the annual exhibition in 2017
  • The open entry generated 1,090 entries from 489 artists (c.2.2 paintings per artist). 
  • 389 paintings by both members and other artists were hung on the walls of all three galleries. 
  • 142 of the works (36%) were by 98 non-member artists (1.45 paintings each) were selected and hung in the exhibition.
  • Members: averaged 2.87 works hung
  • 'Open' artists: averaged 1.45 works hung each
You can review my past blog posts about this annual exhibition (2007-2017) 
at the end of this post.

Call for Entries


In summary, both members of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours and other artists are invited to submit painting for consideration.  
  • Anybody can enter artwork created using in traditional watercolours or water-soluble media
  • All entries are via digital submission
  • The deadline for entries is Noon on the 5 January 2018.
  • The entry fee is £15 per work payable at the time of submitting (£10 per work for artists aged 35 or under).

Details of how artists can apply via the open entry process are set out below.

Information about the Annual Exhibition 2018


The 206th Exhibition will be held at the Mall Galleries between Friday 6 April and Saturday 21 April, 1pm (10am - 5pm every day) - so just over two weeks.

You can find
Another view of the 2017 Annual Exhibition on the Preview Day

Who can Submit


Any artist - over the age of 18 - living anywhere in the world can submit work in water-soluble media to this exhibition.

What you can submit 


  • Number: You can submit a maximum of six works - of which a maximum of four works selected.  Typically it's candidates for membership who submit a large number of paintings.
  • Media: Artwork in watercolour or water-soluble mediums, including watercolour, acrylic, ink or gouache (excluding water-soluble oils) are eligible for exhibition.
  • Size: Works must not be larger than 2.4m high and 1.5m wide.
  • Price: The minimum price is £450

Personally I think it's a mistake to pitch the minimum price at £450 since there are a lot of sales below this figure in other exhibitions. I'd limit how many low priced paintings can be submitted and pitch the minimum price at (say) £250 or £300.  I hope the rationale for this constraint on submission has been based in a rigorous analysis of past sales.....

The Candidates Wall at the RI Exhibition in 2017 - note each has four works hung

How to Submit


The process works as follows
  • Read the general terms and conditions
  • Read the specific entry requirements
  • Register for digital submission - if you have never entered before
  • Login to the Open Exhibition Entry webesite
  • Submit your entry online prior to the deadline (5 January 2018 - 12 noon). You need to complete the form, pay the fee and upload images of work between Monday 2 October 2017 and Friday 5 January 2018, 12 noon [Note: Images must be in JPEG format and under 5MB]
  • Pre-selection is based on online entries and associated digital images 
  • Notification of Pre-selection (12 January 2018)
  • Deliver pre-selected entries to Mall Galleries, 17 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5BD for final selection on 10 February 2018
  • Final selection - in front of a Panel of Members of the RI
  • Notification of Acceptance 13 February - via checking this page to see if your entry number is listed 
  • Collect work not accepted for exhibition from Mall Galleries, 17 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5BD on Thursday 15 February, 10am - 5pm
  • The selectors' decisions are final and no feedback is offered.

Timeline for Open Entries


These are the key dates for all those wishing to submit work to this open exhibition.
  • Submission opens: Monday 2 October 2017, 12 noon
  • Submission closes: Friday 5 January 2018, 12 noon
  • Pre-selection notification: Friday 12 January, 12 noon [Log in to see if your work has been pre-selected]
  • Receiving Day (if pre-selected only): Saturday 10 February, 10am - 5pm
  • Acceptance notification: Tuesday 13 February, 12 noon
  • Collection of unaccepted work: Thursday 15 February, 10am - 5pm

  • Collection of unsold work: Thursday 26 April, 10am - 5pm

Special Note for Artists living/working outside the UK  


  • Artists from outside the UK may need to register for VAT, please check with HM Revenue and Customs: https://www.gov.uk
  • Artists sending work from abroad should use a picture carrier
Artists who are not resident in the UK but are resident in the EU, if your work is sold at the exhibition you have a responsibility to register and account for UK VAT with H.M. Revenue & Customs. Artists without a UK residence (known as 'NETPs' - non-established taxable persons) can find further details on 'NETP' status and how to register for VAT at http://www.hmrc.gov.uk, (HM Revenue & Customs Reference: Notice 700/1, Mar 2014) under the heading 'Should I be registered for VAT?'. Please note: the registration process can take up to 4 weeks. Please address any questions you may have to the VAT Helpline on tel. no. 0845 010 9000 or, if your call is from outside the UK, +44 2920501 261


The Prizes


There are a number of prizes - and prizes look very good on your CV when you are seeking representation with an art gallery!

Monetary Prizes

  • The Leathersellers' Prize: £1,000 awarded by The Worshipful Company of Leathersellers to an artist aged between 18 and 30 years old
  • The James Fletcher-Watson RI Memorial Award: £500 for the best use of watercolour in the exhibition.
  • The Matt Bruce RI Memorial Award: An award of £500 for what is considered the most outstanding use of light and colour in a watercolour
  • The Neil Meacher RI Watercolour Award: An award of £250 for an outstanding watercolour

Art Supplies

  • The Cass Art Prize: A prize of £200 of art supplies from Cass Art, awarded to a work demonstrating the most innovative use of colour
  • The Escoda Barcelona Award: A set of Escoda's finest brushes for an outstanding landscape painting
  • The Frank Herring Easel Award: An easel presented for an outstanding work in the exhibition by Frank Herring & Sons
  • The John Purcell Paper Prize: Paper to the value of £100 awarded to a work chosen by John Purcell
  • The Schmincke Award: A Schmincke watercolour set to an outstanding exhibitor

Other Awards

  • The Anthony J Lester Art Critic Award: A certificate of commendation for an outstanding work chosen by the art critic and broadcaster Anthony J Lester
  • The Debra Manifold Memorial Award: Presented by the Linda Blackstone Gallery, an award for the most innovative work in the exhibition
  • The Dry Red Press Award: The winning work will be published as a greeting card in the Dry Red Press 'Prize Winners' range, with royalties from the sale of the cards going to the artist
  • Megan Fitzoliver Brush Award - a trophy, named The Pipe Fish, awarded for a work that most inspires a connection with the natural world
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ARCHIVE: RI Annual Exhibition 2007-2017


2017
2016
2015
2014
The purpose of this video isn't to give you an in-depth view of all the paintings so much as to give you:
  • an idea of the overall size of the exhibition
  • a notion of how big the paintings are that get selected via the open entry
  • a view of the paintings that were selected this year
2013
This exhibition has always been very popular with the provincial art societies whose members arrive in droves - on coaches!
2012
2011
2010
2008
2007

Monday, November 20, 2017

ING Discerning Eye Exhibition 2017 - award winners and review

The ING Discerning Eye Exhibition is a show of six curated exhibitions of small works independently selected by six prominent figures from the art world: two artists, two collectors and two critics.


View of one of the six individual exhibitions at the Mall Galleries
This is a review of the 2017 Exhibition which opened last week and continues until Sunday 26 November (10am and 5pm daily) at the Mall Galleries in London. It's taken a little longer than I had planned - I always forget how long this particular show takes to review properly - because there are lots of prizes and six completely different exhibitions!

If you're unable to get to see the show, you can
  • view the online artwork catalogue and 
  • also read my past reviews and view the sort of artwork which has been selected in previous years - with the different sets of curators they have each year - see the archive of my posts dating back to 2008 at the end of this post.

Some exhibition statistics provided by the organisers


This year there are 465 works by 237 artists on show
  • 75% of the artists and 55% of the works have come from the open submission. Typically if you see groups of work by the same artist in this exhibition it's a very good indication they have been "invited" to exhibit as opposed to "selected" from the open entry.
  • In terms of types of artwork selected for the exhibition:
    • Painting and drawing make up over 60% of the works, 
    • mixed media and sculpture about 15%, and 
    • printmaking about 8%.
This post covers the award winners and then reviews each of the six mini exhibitions in turn - with comments about different aspects of the show as a whole cropping up as and when!

2017 Award Winners 


This year there has been some very sloppy labelling of artwork in the exhibition and on the website. It's such a privilege to get selected and then such a disappointment when winning a prize if the right prize is not identified either in the gallery and/or on the website. The numbers are there for a reason - to get it right.

This is the list of prizewinnersThose that have numbers with an asterisk next to them were selected from the open submission.

11 of the 16 prizes went to artists selected from the open entry.  This breaks down as:
  • 6 of the 8 purchase prizes (75%) went to open entrants
  • 2 of the 2 other sponsor prizes (100%) went to artists selected from the open entry
  • 4 of the 7 regional prizes (57%) went to open entrants
Asterion by Jill Desborough
£1,200 SOLD
For those who have thought of submitting but not done so before, or maybe been dispirited by not getting selected, here's a word from Jill Desborough, who was one of the successful artists submitting via the open entry. This year she had two works selected by two different judges, won one of the top Purchase Prizes and also sold the other work that was selected
First, many thanks to the Discerning Eye for another lovely show and to Elmo Hood and Simon Tait for picking the pieces. There was such a good vibe there on PV night! Getting the prize was wonderfully encouraging. You have to harden yourself to a fair number of (kindly worded) rejections from open shows every year so it means an awful lot to get accepted and then the prize was an extra affirmation to keep on submitting!

The Purchase Prizes


These are prizes where the prize funds the purchase of the work. It's only just occurred to me that it could make a lot of sense to price your work to match the value of one of the Purchase Prizes! (Duh!)

The ING Purchase Prize £5,000


This year this was awarded to a painting by Rick Garland, one of the artists selected by Miranda Richardson.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Breach of rules - Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2017

This is about a competition where the organisers and Jury allowed an entry which breached the rules to remain in the competition and win two prizes.

One of the things I do when writing about art competitions is I aim to make the process more accessible for those wanting to enter and further their careers and/or achievements.

To that end I do three things:
  • I aim to unpick and make the call for entries a bit more accessible for people entering for the first time
  • I try to show those thinking about entering what the standard of work is in the exhibition - and the competition they're up against.
I've had much praise over the years from people around the world for making that effort - which is NOT why I do it - but it's always nice to know that my efforts are appreciated.

The third thing I do is the subject of this blog post.

Basically, I speak up for those who may feel they maybe can't when things happen which really shouldn't happen in terms of the conduct of the competition.

I don't like doing this - but I do think it's necessary.

This post is about how to undermine confidence in competitions 
  • BY allowing an entry which breaches the rules to remain in the competition 
  • AND win not one but two prizes!

One of Them Is a Human #1 (Erica: Erato Ishiguro Symbiotic Human-Robot Interaction Project) by Maija Tammi

Maija Tammi's project, One of Them Is a Human #1, is a series of photographs that places androids alongside one human, asking what it means to be alive.

A photo of an android was submitted as an entry into the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2017

The portrait is not of a human, but the National Portrait Gallery decided to keep it in the competition anyway. In a statement they say (my bold):
The Gallery has decided not to disqualify this portrait though accepts it is in breach of the rules. The rules are reviewed every year and this issue will be taken into consideration for next year. This portrait was part of 'One of Them Is a Human #1', a broader series which presents androids alongside one human. It was felt that the subject of this portrait, while not human, is a representation of a human figure and makes a powerful statement as a work of art in its questioning of what it is to be alive or human and asks challenging questions about portraiture. The ambiguity of this portrait makes it particularly compelling.

We review the competition rules each year and as part of this will discuss whether they need to be changed in light of the selection of 'One of Them Is a Human #1' for this year’s exhibition. The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize is dedicated to showcasing the best in contemporary portraiture. There are occasions when particularly compelling portraits raise interesting questions about the genre of portraiture, and these may be included at the judges’ discretion
The Judges also shortlisted the photograph which then went on to win
  • the third prize of £2,000
  • the John Kobal New Work Award and a £5,000 prize for a photographer under 35.
Maija Tammi with her awards
So a total of £7,000 (presumably in part funded by competition entry fees) was awarded for an entry which breached the rules and was ineligible for entry.

I'll now go on to explain why, in my opinion, this should not have happened.

Leonardo da Vinci sets new record for the most expensive painting ever sold at auction

The auction sale of Leonardo da Vinci's Salvator Mundi at Christies New York yesterday is unusual for a number of reasons - the nature of the sale, the price it went for and the history of the painting

This post is for those who enjoy their art history and includes reference links to other more in-depth articles about the painting.

Salvator Mundi (c.1500) by Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) 
25⅞ x 18 in (65.7 x 45.7 cm).
Sold on 15 November 2017 at Christie’s in New York
Here's my summary - each section is followed by referenced to some of the articles which comment in more depth on the painting and the auction

The Auction Sale


  • The final hammer price shattered the world record for a sale of an artwork at auction. The painting sold for $400 million (at a cost of $450,312,500 to the buyer after you include the auction house premium). That equates to a cost to the buyer of £342,182,751.
  • It exceeded the previous highest valued painting at auction by more than $200 million
  • It was very unusually sold at an evening auction of Post-War and Contemporary Art - because it's at evening sales where wealthy art collectors buy their art
“By putting it in a contemporary sale, they shine a big light on the painting.”
  • Almost 30,000 people viewed the painting as it was displayed to the public in The painting was show to the public in Hong Kong, London, San Francisco and New York. It's the very first time the painting has been shown to the public in Asia or the Americas.
  • It was billed as "The Last Da Vinci", the "Male Mona Lisa", a "once in a lifetime sale" and the “Holy Grail” for elite collectors
  • The auction house was so confident that it would sell for a high price that it had guaranteed a price of $100 million
  • The bidding lasted 19 minutes with four bidders on the telephone and one in the room. The last bid jumped $30 million to close out the auction!
  • The comments on the Facebook Live Stream of the sale make for interesting and somewhat predictable reading
  • Nobody knows who the successful bidder was. It's likely to remain in private hands.



They made a film of people viewing the painting prior to the sale.



Reference

The history of the painting

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

César Dezfuli wins £15,000 Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2017

Winner of the £15,000 Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2017
César Dezfuli being interviewed about his portrait of 16 year old Amadou Sumaila
It's extremely gratifying that the two photographs of refugees won the first and second prize in the Taylor Wessing Photographic Competition 2017 over the photograph of the android which to my mind was technically in breach of the rules of the competition and should have been eliminated.

I'm very much NOT a fan of competitions which change the rules after they have taken the money from those people who submit entries. It's just not fair or decent - and some might argue it's not legal either.

I'm actually going to split this post in two and deal with:
  • the first two prizes and the exhibition in this post
  • the entry which won third prize and the reason why, in my opinion, this was a clear breach of the rules - and what needs to happen to prevent this happening again in a post tomorrow. 
This aside.....

The competition had 5,717 submissions from 2,423 photographers living in 66 countries.  Those on the walls of the exhibition are as international as those submitting their photos for consideration by the jury.

The jury considering the entries has nothing other than the title to go on. All entries are anonymous as both the name of the photographer and the person who is portrayed. 

This year for the first time those entering work were allowed to submit digital entries for the first sift which will have much reduced expenses in relation to postage and packing for those living overseas. It also means that the jury can spend longer on those that make it through to the second sift.

The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2017 - First Prize


Amadou Sumalia by César Dezfuli
From the series Passengers
Inkjet print, August 2016

The £15,000 prize went to César Dezfuli for his photograph of 16 year old Amadou Sumalia from Mali. He was later transferred to a reception centre in Italy.

It comes from his series of photos called "Passengers". This documented in 118 photographs (click the link to see other photographs in the series) about the migrants on a boat who came from Mali, Gambia, Guinea, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra Leone. Most will have been economic migrants fleeing poverty.

It was taken very shortly after Amadou had been rescued from the Mediterranean, 20 miles off the Libyan coast along with 100+ other men. When compared with the rest of the photographs taken it's clear why this one was selected for this competition.


César Dezfuli

  • Age: born in Madrid on 10 January 1991
  • Nationality: Spanish-Persian origins
  • Occupation: freelance journalist and documentary photographer - focuses on issues of migration, identity and human rights
  • Current home: Madrid
  • Education: graduated in journalism and audio-visual communication from the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Madrid, Spain followed by a postgraduate qualification in photojournalism. 
  • Previous appearances in this award: None
  • Website: http://www.cesardezfuli.com
His work documenting human rights issues has been published in numerous magazines and has been seen in group exhibitions in 2017 including First Prize in the Head On Photo Festival 2017 Portrait Category, and awards at the International Photographer of the Year Awards and the Moscow Foto Awards.

César told me that he'd been working on a freelance basis, following a project to rescue people who were at risk in the Mediterranean as they try to reach Europe.
I think Amadou’s portrait stands out because of the emotions it transmits. He had just been rescued by a European vessel, apparently fulfilling his dream. However, his look and his attitude show fear, mistrust and uncertainty, as well as determination and strength.’

Judges Comments: 

Against the balance and precision of Dezfuli’s composition, the directness of Sumaila’s gaze is striking and unsettling. The portrait powerfully conveys his loss, solitude and determination.
My comments: It's much smaller than I imagined but amazingly arresting.

Second Prize

Winner of the £3,000 Second Prize 
Abbie Traylor with her award and her photograph Fleeing Mosul
From the series Women in war: Life after ISIS
Colour coupler print, November 2016
Abbie Trayler-Smith won the £3,000 Second Prize.  Abbie is a Documentary and Portrait Photographer who was working on an assignment for Oxfam when she took the photograph. She was at the Hasan Sham camp for internally displaced people in northern Iraq when a convoy of buses had just arrived, bringing people to safety from the intense fighting in Mosul.
‘I remember seeing the shock and bewilderment in the woman’s face as she looked out at the camp from the window. It made me shudder to imagine what living under ISIS must have been like.’
Abbie told me that the woman is now in Baghdad with her husband.  Her family have returned to Mosul but her sister had both her legs blown off when their home was bombed in Mosul.
  • Age: born 20 May 1977
  • Nationality: born and raised in South Wales
  • Education: - 
  • Occupation: documentary and portrait photographer. Her work covers women’s rights, social development and the aftermath of conflict for national newspapers, charities and NGOs. She spent eight years as a photographer with The Daily Telegraph, covering world events such as the Darfur conflict, the Iraq war and the Asian tsunami, before deciding to go freelance in 2007. Her work has been seen in numerous publications and in group exhibitions and has also won awards
  • Current home: based in London
  • Clients: wide variety of clients including Time, The Sunday Times, The Independent Review, Marie-Claire, Tatler, Monocle, Vice, Oxfam, Save The Children, IRC, UNICEF, Sony and BBC worldwide.
  • Previous appearances in this award: The Big O, won 4th prize in The National Portrait Gallery’s 2010 Taylor Wessing Prize.
  • Website: http://www.abbietraylersmith.com

Abbie Trayler-Smith (b.1977) studied law at King’s College London. In her photographic career


Judges’ comments: 

The colour and texture of the portrait has a painterly quality, created by the mud-streaked glass through which the young woman is framed. Her haunting expression quietly suggests the unimaginable horrors of life under occupation.
My comments: I really liked this photo and hoped it would do well. The drips on the window of the bus seem to act as a metaphor for the situation at some many different levels.  Also while she is undoubtedly traumatised by her situation, there seemed to me to be a certain element of curiosity about what lay out the window which comes from being moved from where you have lived all your life.  Is it going to be any better?


Exhibition

One of the interesting things about the exhibition is how it has changed since both the Director of the NPG and the Curator of Photography have changed (following their respective retirements).

One of the first notes I made was "no twins and no gingers". I think I'd begun to assume these were perennial features of photographic competitions - but obviously not.

There's a very powerful wall about the America of 2016/17 which was excellent which I am now euphemistically referring to as the "portrait of America". The two photos either end of the left hand wall are of the "wall" between Mexico and the USA. Inbetween are photographs of the American election.  On the right are two photographs of individuals with iconic emblems of the 'real American'.

Portrait of America
Alan Mozes followed the campaign trail for two months at the end for Vanity Fair and his portraits of both Clinton and Obama made the cut.

Alan Mozes with his portraits of Clinton and Obama

Alice Schoolcraft graduated in 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts in Photographic Arts with First Class Honours at the University of Westminster in London. She is half Swedish and half American and went to stay with her (never met before) American family and found that their values and activities were very different from those she has been brought up with. She photographed some of the curious things they got up to and called the series The Other Side.
Curiosity about people’s personal lives is a driving force in my work and by employing detailed study I want to provide the viewer with the feeling that they know the people in my photographs personally without ever having met them.
Halo by Alice Schoolcraftinkjet print
The dog is wearing a necklace and is standing behind a chair which has a dress on it
Somebody is behind the dog and has put their hands through the arms of the dress
There are also very few celebrities this year - of the bling variety. Instead we have artists as subjects - Jack Vettriano (who was at the preview this morning), Maggi Hambling and AA Gill who has subsequently died.  Plus one of David Cameron looking fairly harassed a few days before the Referendum result - and his resignation.

Jack Vettriano (on the right) in front of the photo portrait of him
by Ian Mcilgorm (on the left)
David Cameron adjusting his tie prior to his formal portrait photo by Charles Bibby
Young people and what they get up seemed to be a recurrent theme of this year's exhibition. The exhibition also felt rather more international than it has hitherto.

Young people around the world
More young people from around the world

Four boys who feature in one of the portrait photos (top left)
Minecrafting by Hania Farrell - which is actually two portraits in one

Judging Panel

This year’s judging panel was
  • Dr Nicholas Cullinan, Chair (Director, National Portrait Gallery, London); 
  • David Campany (Writer, Curator and Artist); 
  • Tim Eyles, Managing Partner, Taylor Wessing LLP; 
  • Sabina Jaskot-Gill (Associate Curator, Photographs, National Portrait Gallery, London); 
  • Fiona Shields (Head of Photography, The Guardian) and 
  • Gillian Wearing (Artist.)

More about the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize


The posts below contain images of past prizewinning portraits.