BP Portriat Award 2011

I went to check out this years BP Portrait Award. As I walked into the exhibition I was greeted by a lifesize painting of two sisters by Tim Okamura called 'Little Sister'. What struck me about this painting was mostly to do with its process. Whilst still retaining realism it's very painterly; brush lines turn into drips further down and the hair is created through thick layering of paint.  Next to that was a very different style of painting (one that I could have sworn was a photograph) by Jan Mikulka called 'Jakub'. It was just so soft, I still don't know how people do it. However I think my favorites were Nathan Ford's 'Abi' - a very small and seemingly incomplete painting of a crazed man, whose eye lures you into the mess of smudged black paint and simple line; 'Holly' by Louis Smith - which depicts a young fiery haired woman chained to a rock (an allegory of the Prometheus story) held in an enormous 12 foot gold frame.  I do wonder how the award is judged, considering this years first prize winner... The painting wasn't at all bad, it just wasn't interesting. The depth to any meaning being it felt far too weak to have deserved £25,000.