The shortlist for this year’s BP Portrait Award has just been released after the judges whittled down more than 2,00 entries to a final four. It’s a strong selection as you’d expect but made especially intresting by the absence this year of an obvious favourite. The winners will be announced on June 19 and the exhibition runs from 21 June until 23 September.
Aleah Chapin: Auntie (Oil on canvas 1470 × 965 mm)
Brooklyn-based Aleah Chapin has an MFA from the New York Academy of Art and has won several awards in the past. Her painting features a close friend of her family and is part of a series of nude prortaits of women Aleah has known all her life. “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,” the artist says.
Ignacio Estudillo: El abuelo (Agustin Estudillo) (Oil on canvas 2000 × 2000 mm)
Spanish painter Ignacio Estudillo is based in Cordoba and has studied at bith the School of Arts and Crafts in Jerez de la Frontera, and the Real Academia de Bellas Artes of Seville. His work depicts his grandfather on his dad’s side and 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.”
Alan Coulson: Richie Culver (Oil on panel, 850 × 590mm)
Apart from an art foundation at Harrogate College of Art and Design, London-based Alan Coulson has no other formal training. His work formed part of last year’s BP Portrait Award show and the painting shows fellow artist and friend Richie Culver. “My aim was to produce a direct and honest painting that would capture Richie’s unique appearance alongside his easygoing nature.”
Jamie Routley: Tony Lewis (Oil on canvas 1250 × 460 mm)
Welsh-born Jamie Routley got a BA in illustration from Swindon College before heading to Florence to study under American painter Charles H. Cecil in Florence. His subject is Tony Lewis who mans a newspaper stand at Baron’s Court underground station and works in a wine shop. Jamie 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.”