Get acquainted with this year's prize winners from the Royal Society of British Artists Annual Exhibition.
Tara Versey Dark Turns to Light, Etching, 40 x 30cm, £380
Tara Versey, winner of The Rome Scholarship
Each year, the RBA sends a young, emerging artist on a month-long residency in Rome. This year, Tara Versey has won the prestigious scholarship. This is not the first time Versey has won the opportunity to go abroad. In 2010, she was given the Richard Ford Award by the Royal Drawing School, enabling her to spend a month in Madrid, creating work in the Prado. Find out more about the Rome Scholarship here.
“Drawing calms, yet stimulates. Drawing is feeling. Drawing is seeing. Drawing is concentration. Drawing is meaningful. Drawing is fundamental to my work and me – it is the foundation to lay before anything else can arise.” – Tara Versey
Yu Fan Running Whippet Bronze, 30 x 35 x 15cm, £8,500
Yu Fan, winner of The de Laszlo Foundation Prize (£1,500)
The de Laszlo Foundation Prize is awarded to an artist aged 35 or under for the best work from life. This year’s winner is 34-year-old sculptor, Yu Fan, who currently resides in Los Angeles. His bronze cast, ‘Running Whippet’, shows a greyhound in motion.
Benjamin Hope NEAC PS ARSMA Southwark Bridge Road Oil, 48 x 37cm, £1,500
Benjamin Hope NEAC PS ARSMA, Winner of The Michael Harding Award (£500 worth of art materials)
Benjamin Hope has been awarded one of two Michael Harding Awards for his painterly depiction of London’s ‘Southwark Bridge Road’. Benjamin is a member of the New English Art Club, The Pastel Society and an Associate member of the Royal Society of Marine Artists. He draws and paints directly from life both in and outside of the studio. "Working in this way results in marks that are reactive, and for me, it is the best way to capture what it feels like to be with the subject,” the artist explains. Alan Lambirth Sen RBA won the second Michael Harding Award for his work 'Afternoon Tea'.
Sarah Spackman The Pear Between Oil, 37 x 42cm, £950
Sarah Spackman, The Gordon Hulson Memorial Prize (£250)
Oxford-based artist Sarah Spackman won The Gordon Hulson Memorial Prize for ‘The Pear Between’. "I loved the colour of this pear and became fascinated by the contrast between it and the beautiful yellow pot from the studio. This was painted from observation, creating the form and space through the colour," the artist reveals.
Sarah is a contemporary figurative artist well known for her still-life paintings. She graduated from Camberwell School of Art in 1981 and has been working as a full-time artist since 1986. Her work is held in many private collections and a number of paintings have also been selected for the contemporary art collection of the AIB Bank.
Brett Hudson Dark Lines Watercolours, 70 x 90cm, £3,600
Brett Hudson, Hahnemuhle Fine Art UK Award (£250)
Brett Hudson has won the Hahnemuhle Fine Art UK Award for his depiction of this location in the south-western corner of London. Brett was "taken by the dark tones of the bridge and the Blackfriars station with the lovely old pub.” The artist's background as an illustrator is evident here, in the flat, graphic style in which he has applied watercolours.
Martin Langford Puppet Master Etching 87 x 73cm, £460 (£390 unframed)
Martin Langford, The Stuart Southall Print Prize (£250)
Martin Langford’s ‘Puppet Master’ has been awarded The Stuart Southall Print Prize for best original print in the exhibition. The work is a comment on the internet, social media and the “grip” it has on society. He studied at Polytechnic South West and earned a postgraduate degree in Advanced Printmaking at Central St Martin’s College of Art.
“My work tends to focus on the environment, the evolution of man and his material wealth, the development of bigger and bigger cities, more and more people, cars and industry on the planet and the consequences this has on nature.” – Martin Langford
David Sawyer RBA Campanile Sant'Ignazio all'Olivella, Palermo Oil, 73 x 38cm, £2,500
David Sawyer RBA, Frinton Frames Award (£200 worth of framing)
David Sawyer was awarded the Frinton Frames Award for his painting of Campanile Sant' Ignazio, a baroque church in Palermo. He describes himself as a modern British Impressionist, working within the tradition of landscape painting. "I am mainly interested in architectural subjects and the effect of light in revealing the nature of its structure and creating a mood or atmosphere," the artist explains.
Clive Duncan RBA Vespasian's Game 2 Stone & Steel, £3,000
Clive Duncan RBA, Winner of the Nathan David Award for Sculpture (£150)
Clive Duncan was awarded the Nathan David Award for his steel and stone sculpture, ‘Vespasian’s Game 2’. Educated at Camberwell School of Art, London and City & Guilds of London Sculpture School, Clive went on to assist Kim James, Uli Nimptsch RA and David McFall RA among others, and until recently taught at the Sir John Cass School of Art. All in all, he has 44 years experience making, teaching and discussing sculpture.
While Duncan is highly committed to the trueness of form when it comes to sculpture, he states that ‘the medium in the end is but a vehicle for illuminating significant themes within the fabric of life.” He quotes Gottfried Richter as a reference point which forms the basis of his practice: “Art makes visible otherwise hidden cultural and psychological forces.”
Henry Jabbour Gaze Not into My Eyes Oil, 66 x 61cm, SOLD
Henry Jabbour, Winner of The Davison Award for Oil Painting (£100) and The Winsor & Newton Painting Award (£500 worth of art materials)
Henry Jabbour has won The Davison Award for Oil Painting with ‘Gaze Not into my Eyes’ and The Winsor & Newton Painting Award for 'Out of my Mouth in Heaven'. Henry originally trained as a biologist and for many years pursued a successful career as a medical scientist, until 2010, when he decided to pursue his passion and become a full-time artist. He subsequently studied painting in Edinburgh and New York. Born in Beirut, Lebanon, he now lives in the UK. "My current body of work focuses on the human figure. I am interested in the emotive qualities of body gesture, colour and mark making," the painter and printmaker shares.
Owain Hunt Painter's Dog Resting Oil 90 x 65cm, £8,500
Owain Hunt, The Geoffrey Vivis Memorial Award (£100)
RBA Rising Star and In the Studio participant, Owain Hunt, won The Geoffrey Vivis Memorial Award for a portrait of his brother and their pet. ‘The Painter's Dog Resting’ depicts Hector, the painter's dog, resting in early summer. Around the time of the first sitting, Hector was sadly diagnosed with congenital heart failure, at the premature age of one. His prognosis gave him a life expectancy of 8 months, to March 2019 (the date the painting was completed). The Painter's brother comforts Hector. Owain will be exhibiting more work in the upcoming In the Studio exhibition, 12 to 17 August.
Meg Burridge Terrace Sunlight Oil, 30 x 42cm each, NFS
Meg Burridge, The Arts Society Star Student Award (£100 worth of art shop vouchers)
19-year-old Meg Burridge, is interested in showing beauty in the mundane, hoping to reveal overlooked areas in a new light. Working predominantly in oil paint, she has found an appreciation of the natural fluctuations of a painted line, as well as subtle use of colour to create the interplay of light and shadow. Burridge recognises the power of composition and simplicity, to depict her surroundings and everyday experiences. She uses art as a vessel to reveal her awe at the world which surrounds her. In this triptych, 'Terrace Sunlight', she used colour and light to demonstrate the hidden beauty of a run-down area.
Bernadett Timko Study of Max Oil, 65 x 80cm, £2,200
Bernadett Timko, Winner of The Anthony J Lester Art Critic Award
Born in Hungary in 1992, Bernadett Timko moved to London aged 14. She studied portrait painting and figurative sculpture at the Heatherley's School of Fine Art and has been working as a multi-media artist ever since. For those interested in owning Bernadett's work, we have a new selection of her paintings available to purchase on Buy Art | Buy Now.
Annie Boisseau RBA Red Earth, Sky Blue Oil, 55 x 55cm, £1,475
Annie Boisseau RBA, The Artist Magazine Award (feature in the magazine)
Annie Boisseau RBA was awarded The Artist Magazine Award for all of her works featured in this exhibition: 'Pink Moon', 'Red Earth, Sky Blue', 'To The River', Golden Light on the Hillside' and 'Autumn Light'. As the winner of The Artist Magazine Award, Annie will be interviewed in The Artist magazine, print and digital editions.
"I see my work as a contemporary interpretation of the tradition of Romantic landscape painting. It is inspired by an emotional response to the natural world, investigating the often transient qualities of time, space, memories or emotions with expressive semi-abstract painting. My painting process evolves through transforming and abstracting the subject. Layers of transparent paint are applied to the surface to create an atmospheric quality that suggests an unveiling or discovery of the poetic mystery of the landscape."
Holly Gallant Bobby Oil, 70 x 70cm, SOLD
Holly Gallant, The Dry Red Press Award (work published as a greeting card)
'Bobby' by Holly Gallant will be published as a greeting card in the Dry Red Press 'Prize Winners' range, with royalties from the sale of the cards going to the artist. Awarded for the first time to an RBA Rising Star, Holly is studying at Suffolk One Sixth Form College in Ipswich.
"Bobby" is Holly’s "pride and joy, her best friend, loving, faithful and full of energy." She wanted to capture his spirit in her painting.
Bethany Whell Window Light Graphite Pencil, 31 x 23cm, SOLD
Bethany Whell, winner of The LARA Prize for a Young Artist (Free short course in London)
19-year-old Bethany Whell is influenced by the human figure and the expression of raw humanity and emotion through art. The artist uses her work to channel personal insecurities about body image in a therapeutic way to alleviate depression and anxiety. It motivates Whell to view the human figure portrayed with such passion; this is what she strives to depict in her study. In every finished piece, she aspires to capture a conscience that resonates with every individual that views it.
Amber Li The River Mixed Media, 68 x 76cm, NFS
Amber Li, winner of The Surgeon's Prize
Amber Li was a sixth former at the time of creating 'The River' which was awarded The Surgeon Prize, which first exhibited in the RBA Rising Stars group show earlier this year. She has since embarked on a Foundation course at the University of the Arts Camberwell. Amber's main focus is the use of collage and layering, connecting all of the elements together and seeing how unexpected relationships appear.
Gareth Hugh Davies, winner of The Patron's Prize
'The Bright Field’ by Gareth Hugh Davies was awarded The Patron's Prize
The Royal Society of British Artists Annual Exhibition is on view at Mall Galleries from 4 to 14 July.