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Aleah Chapin wins BP Portrait Award 2012 for large nude portrait of family friend
El abuelo (Agustín Estudillo) by Ignacio Estudillo (2nd Prize, BP Portrait Award 2012). ©Ignacio Estudillo.

LONDON.- On Tuesday 19 June 2012 the winner of the BP Portrait Award 20102 was announced at the National Portrait Gallery. The prestigious first prize was won by 26-year-old artist Aleah Chapin, for her large-scale nude portrait of a family friend.

Aleah Chapin wins £25,000 and a commission, at the National Portrait Gallery Trustees’ discretion, worth £4,000. The portrait can be seen at the National Portrait Gallery from Thursday 21 June when the BP Portrait Award 2012 exhibition opens to the public.

The second prize of £8,000 went to Ignacio Estudillo for El abeulo (Agustin Estudillo) and the third prize of £6,000 to Alan Coulson for Richie Culver.

The BP Young Artist Award of £5,000 for the work of an entrant aged between 18 and 30 has been won by Jamie Routley for Tony Lewis.

First Prize: Aleah Chapin (11.03.1986 ) for Auntie (oil on canvas 1470 x 965 mm)
Brooklyn-based Aleah Chapin has just completed a MFA in painting at the New York Academy of Art. She gained her BFA at Cornish College of the Arts in her native Seattle and attended a residency at the Leipzig International Art Programme in Germany in 2011. A recipient of several awards including the Posey Foundation Scholarship, Judith Kindler and Kyle Johnson Scholarship for Innovation in the Arts, and nominated for the Joan Mitchell MFA Grant, Chapin’s work has been included in solo and group shows in the US and Europe. Her portrait is of a close friend of the family and is part of a series of nude portraits of women Aleah has known all of her life. She says, ‘the fact that she has known me since birth is extremely important. Her body is a map of her journey through life. In her, I see the personification of strength through an unguarded and accepting presence.’

Second Prize: Ignacio Estudillo (12.09.1985) for El abuelo (Agustín Estudillo) (oil on canvas 2000 x 2000 mm)
Ignacio Estudillo lives and works in Córdoba, Spain and studied at the School of Arts and Crafts in Jerez de la Frontera, and the Real Academia de Bellas Artes of Seville. His work has been exhibited at ArtMadrid 2011 and is in the collection of Museu Europeu D’Art Modern, MEAM. His shortlisted portrait is of his paternal grandfather. He says, ‘I worked with artificial light and with a chromatic scale, mainly within the black and white spectrum. I painted the portrait larger than life size but the model was in a natural position. I made this painting because of my grandfather and his life experiences attracted me. It’s not a purely analytical portrait but it’s a way of showing a part of the human condition to which he belongs. At the same time I transmit his own nature and my idea of him as a conflicted, unstable, passionate human. I’m not only creating a portrait of my grandfather but also revealing a part of myself.’

Third Prize: Alan Coulson (06.01.1977) for Richie Culver, Contemporary British Artist (oil on panel, 850 x 590mm)
London-based artist Alan Coulson completed Foundation Studies in Art and Design at Harrogate College of Art and Design after leaving school but has no further formal art education and is self-taught. His work was previously exhibited in the BP Portrait Award 2010 and 2011 as well as at the Royal Society of Portrait Painters’ annual exhibition in 2010, 2011 and 2012. His shortlisted portrait is of Richie Culver, a fellow artist and friend. Coulson visited Culver at his home in west London where he took informal reference photographs before producing preparatory sketches and completing the painting in his studio. He says, ‘My aim was to produce a direct and honest painting that would capture Richie’s unique appearance alongside his easygoing nature’

BP Young Artist Award: Jamie Routley (18.07.1982) for Tony Lewis (oil on canvas 1250 x 460 mm)
Jamie Routley was born in Newport, Wales and currently lives and works in London. After completing a BA in Illustration at Swindon College he left the UK in 2004 to study under the American painter Charles H. Cecil in Florence, Italy where he stayed for four years. His work has been included in several exhibitions including the Royal Society of Portrait Painters exhibition in 2011 and 2012 and at Flowers East Gallery. His portrait is of Tony Lewis who has a newspaper stand at Baron’s Court Tube Station and works in ‘The Four Vintners’ wine shop. Routley says, 'I didn't set out to paint a triptych, but I found after each painting there was more to say. A past had been hinted at during the sittings for the first painting that I couldn't leave alone. Tony told me that for the first time in decades he'd found an environment that was both stimulating an allowed for quiet reflection. So we continued... It was an intense and profound experience for both of us.

In addition, The BP Travel Award 2012 winner was also announced last night. The BP Travel Award is an annual award of £5,000, to allow artists to experience working in a different environment on a project related to portraiture. It is open to applications from any of the BP Portrait Award-exhibited artists.

This year Carl Randall wins for his proposal to travel to Japan and journey along the Nakasendo Highway, following in the footsteps of the Japanese printmaker Ando Hiroshige (1797 – 1858). Hiroshige produced a series of woodblock prints on his travels which serve as an artistic document of life in Japan in the 19th Century. Starting in Tokyo and travelling to Kyoto, Randall will produce a series of portraits depicting locals along the route as it exists today, contrasting with life found in Hiroshige’s time. He says, ‘I have visited some of these areas, a great variety of people and places can be encountered on the journey, a cross section of professions from old and new Japanese society - from salary men in office blocks, to farmers in rice fields; employees of motorway restaurants, service stations and roadside hotels, to families living in mountain communities.’

The work of the BP Travel Award 2011 winner Jo Fraser is on display at this year’s exhibition. Fraser travelled to Peru to observe and paint the textile producers in indigenous communities. The subjects are shown sitting in an arc, as Fraser wanted to suggest that the viewer was sitting in on the daily occasion of their weaving. Fraser has always been fascinated by the geometric aesthetic of Andean hand-weaving, the allegorical symbolism within their designs and the ritualistic purposes for which they are created. She initiated contact with the weaving community she depicts through Awamaki, a small Peruvian non-governmental organisation (NGO). Awamaki works to protect the endangered textile traditions of two impoverished weaving communities by providing the female workers with access to a market for their work. Fraser stayed in the community of Patacancha, a village which sits at 12,600 ft, the lower of the two communities the NGO works with.

Today's News

June 21, 2012

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Exhibition of works by François Morellet and Gerhard von Graevenitz opens at Sperone Westwater

Exhibition presents fifty masterful and iconic images from the San Antonio Museum of Art's collection

Sports world and leisure events artist LeRoy Neiman dies in New York at age 91

Aleah Chapin wins BP Portrait Award 2012 for large nude portrait of family friend

Bortolami Gallery opens exhibition of works by artists Barbara Kasten & Justin Beal

First solo exhibition of Los Angeles artist Joe Deutch opens at Marlborough Chelsea

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