The shortlist for this year's BP Portrait Award have been unveiled. The winner, which will be selected on the 14 June, will receive £25,000 prize money and a commission worth £4,000. Of the 2,300 entries this year, here are the 4 finalists.
My money, for what it's worth is on Louis Smith's giant painting "Holly" to win.
Louis Smith, from Manchester, studied painting at Sheffield Hallam University and scene painting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. He has exhibited in Britain and Italy. He was a BP Portrait Award exhibitor in 2009.
Louis’ huge portrait is an allegory of the Prometheus story re-imagined in female form – as punishment for stealing fire from Zeus Prometheus was chained to a rock where an eagle ate his liver daily only for it to grow back to be eaten the next day: ‘It’s a message of composure in the face of adversity, something we can all draw strength from in our struggle to make a living each day.’
Wim Heldens is a self-taught, professional artist who lives in Amsterdam and whose work has been seen in numerous group and solo exhibitions in Europe and the United States. He was a BP Portrait Award exhibitor in 2008 and 2010.
Wim’s shortlisted portrait is of Jeroen, a 25-year-old philosophy student to whom the artist has been a father-figure for twenty years: ‘I have been fascinated with painting Jeroen in all stages of life through growing up. While I have painted him many times in groups, once in a while there is the desire to paint a simple portrait of just him. Now, he is an intelligent and sensitive young man.’
Sertan Saltan, originally from Turkey, now lives and works in Avon, Connecticut (USA), where he is developing a studio. He studied painting at a famous atelier in Istanbul before moving to the United States in 2006 to continue his studies at New York State University where he gained a BFA in Product Design.
Sertan’s sitter, Mrs Cerna, is the younger sister of a friend in New York City: ‘The contrast of knife, gloves and rollers brought both humour and horror to mind. I wanted to capture on canvas that moment which allows the viewer to meet this extraordinary woman and experience the richness and complexity of her preparation for this Thanksgiving dinner.’
Ian Cumberland lives and works on County Down, Northern Ireland. After graduating in Fine and Applied Arts at the University of Ulster in 2006 he has had a solo exhibition at the Albermarle Gallery in London, has won several awards and his work is represented in public collections in Ireland. He was a BP Portrait Award exhibitor in 2009.
Ian’s shortlisted portrait is an enigmatic study of: ‘a friend whose story is like many others from my generation that have fallen victim to themselves and their preferred habits. The title refers to his answer when asked why he continues along his chosen path.’