Saturday, 16 April 2011

Manchester artist nominated for this year`s BP Portrait Award!

Among the paintings shortlisted for this year`s BP Portrait Award, is the brilliant painting 'Holly' (pictured above) by the Manchester artist Louis Smith. The painting of a female model chained to a rock, is inspired by the myth of Prometheus, who in Greek mythology, was chained to a rock by Zeus as punishment for stealing fire from the Gods. The canvas, which is 8ft-high, is one of four paintings shortlisted from a selection of 2,372 entries which were submitted for the competition.

Writing last week in The Guardian, art critic Jonathan Jones (who is also a judge for this years BP Portrait Award) said that the painting by Smith, was 'by far the most memorable thing on the shortlist for this year`s Award at the National Portrait Gallery'. Describing the painting as a 'retro-academic, soft-porn fantasy' he said, 'after looking at 2,372 entries, this was the only one that stayed with me'. Referring to the 'technical brilliance and astounding details of the painting', he also added:

"The first time I saw it in the flesh, so to speak, I said, 'Jesus Christ'. The second time, I reacted in much the same way..."

A former Tameside College art student, Louis Smith, was born in Manchester in 1969. He did a BA Honours degree in Fine Art painting at Sheffield University and also studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, London. He also spent three years in Florence, Italy, studying classical realism art. He has previously exhibited at the Farmelo Gallery, Cork Gallery, in London and the Vernon Gallery and Object Art Gallery. In 2009, he was shortlisted by the Threadneedle Prize for painting and sculpture and in 2010, shortlisted for the Royal Society Portrait Painters competition and the ING Discerning Eye Award.

The winner of this year`s BP Portrait Award,(£25,000) will be announced on 14 June.

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