The Ruth Borchard Self-Portrait Competition
The 2013 £10.000 Prize Winner is Thomas Newbolt
The £10,000 award was presented to the 62 year old, Cambridge-based artist at King’s Place, London, by Joanna Brenden, granddaughter of the founder of the collection, Ruth Borchard.
The judging panel for this year’s competition comprised of leading industry experts including art critics Mark Hudson and Laura Gascoigne, Gallerist Robert Travers, Joanna Brenden, artist Celia Paul, and art market columnist for The Times Huon Mallalieu. Following an intense day of deliberation, the panel agreed that Thomas Newbolt should be awarded the £10,000 prize. Celia Paul commented “Out of all the entries it was the image that was most concerned with the possibilities of paint . . . it's a very distinguished painting.”
Newbolt’s unique artistic process attempts to create a state of unconscious creativity, in which it becomes impossible for him to imitate faces and forms from life. He achieves this by working in almost complete darkness, memorising the layout of his vast palette before beginning to apply thick paint to the canvas. Using his medium with great virtuosity, the paint is applied to the canvas with confident, bold brushstrokes despite the artist rarely being able to discern the resulting effect. Newbolt thrives on this element of the unknown, and rather than finding his conditions prohibitive as many visual artists might, it helps him to achieve an original end result. The artist himself is often surprised by the finished work in which he is able to instinctively place flashes of saturated colour with dexterous and expressive strokes. Working without light is something unimaginable to many painters, but for Newbolt it lends his medium new possibilities in achieving a sculptural texture and intense colour that is at once crude and refined.
On receiving his award, Newbolt commented, “Making a self-portrait is one of the hardest things a painter can do: you find that despite expectation you are working from memory but a memory that is looking back at you."
Out of over 700 entries, 122 works were selected for the exhibition at Kings Place Gallery.
The 2011 £10,000 Prize Winner was Celia Paul
Celia Paul was born in 1959 in Trivandrum, India and attended the Slade School of Art, London from 1976 – 1981. She has exhibited widely and has works in many public collections including the British Museum, the V & A and the Metropolitan Museum, New York. Lucian Freud was of great influence to Paul during her student years and she appeared in many of his paintings.
In the last 20 years Celia Paul has emerged as one of the most remarkable and original painters working in the figurative tradition. Her paintings and drawings are intimate portraits of people she knows well and invariably depict a single model or group. "My work is about people and their emotions", she has said. Her dark toned paintings are reminiscent of old masters and share an interest in the effect of light. Her paintings often have a monumental quality, but she is equally adept at capturing emotion in a small soft-ground etching.
Out of 508 entries, 173 works were selected for the exhibition at Kings Place Gallery. The judges, Rachel Borchard, Sister Wendy Beckett, Robert Travers, William Feaver and William Varley shortlisted works by Maggi Hambling, Marcelle Hanselaar, Celia Paul, Cherry Pickles, Fred Crayk and Mary Mabbutt, but unanimously awarded the £10,000 prize to Celia Paul.
Celia Paul's self-portrait, as well as other works in the exhibition by Donald Sutherland, Laura Gressani, Fred Crayk, Lindsay Simons, Diana Jean Cumming, Daniel Shadbolt, Anthony Eyton, Leslie Marr, Shanti Panchal, Eleanor Bowen, Maggi Hambling, Marcelle Hanselaar, Hannah Webb, Elizabeth Shields, Helena McGrath, Brita Granstrom, Susan Light, Mary Mabbutt, Anthony Eyton, Greg Tricker, Georgina Sleap, Peter Holt, David Caldwell, Thomas Newbolt, and Sally Muir were purchased to begin a new 21st century self-portrait collection to be added to the existing collection of 101 self-portraits acquired by Ruth Borchard in the post-war years.
CLICK HERE TO SEE WORKS SELECTED FOR THE NEW 21ST CENTURY SELF-PORTRAIT COLLECTION
CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT ABOUT THE 2015 COMPETITION
CLICK HERE TO SEE A VIDEO OF 2011 COMPETITION JUDGES