"Auntie", Aleah Chapin
More than 2,000 paintings were entered as part of this year’s BP Portrait Award, but none were able to match up to US artist Aleah Chapin’s large-scale image of a naked woman, titled "Auntie."
As part of the artist’s series of painting naked portraits of women she knows, "Auntie" is based on a family friend of the artist’s, and is now the recipient of the BP Portrait Award which includes a £25,000 cash prize.
"The fact that she has known me since birth is extremely important. Her body is a map of her journey through life," Chapin said
"In her, I see the personification of strength through an unguarded and accepting presence."
The portrait received high praise from many, including National Portrait Gallery Director Sandy Nairne, who said it demonstrated
"the vitality of contemporary portrait painting around the world."
"Aleah Chapin's portrait is ambitious and beautifully painted, with superbly controlled colour and tone," he said
Growing up in Seattle, Chapin began painting when she was just a young child. Following the completion of a BFA at Cornish College of the Arts, and a MFA at the new York Academy of Art, Chapin has participated in art shows in the US, the Netherlands, Germany and the UK. Her latest project, titled "The Aunties Project", is a deeply personal look at the women who have shaped her own life.
"On our bodies is left a map of our journey through life. The process of painting these women allowed me a glimpse of that journey and brought me into the present moment of our shared history," she said
The second BP Portrait prize, worth £8,000, was awarded to Spanish artist Ignacio Estudillo for his black and white portrait of his grandfather. Third prize went to London-based artist Alan Coulson for his painting of his friend, Richie Culver. Younger artists were honored too, with the BP Young Artist Award presented to 29-year-old Jamie Routley, for his triptych of newspaper seller Tony Lewis.
Now in its 23rd year, the BP Portrait Award exhibition will exhibit the winning portraits at the National Portrait Gallery in London, before they move on to the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh and the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter.
The portrait generally draws a large number of entries from around the world, although out of the 2,187 people who entered this year, almost 1,500 were from the UK.