Norwegian artist exhibits in Newcastle

 Date:13/10/2007 - 02/12/2007
 Type:Culture, Contemporary Art
 Location:England, Newcastle

From the record 1,870 entries received for the prestigious BP Portrait Award, Ingolv Helland was one of only 60 artists chosen to take part in an exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery showcasing the best works that were entered. The exhibition has now moved to Newcastle.

The Portrait Award, now in its 28th year at the National Portrait Gallery, is a highly successful annual event aimed at encouraging artists to focus upon, and develop, the theme of painted portraiture within their work. This year the competition received 1,870 registered entries, compared to 1,113 last year, and 60 portraits – 45 from the UK and 15 from abroad - were selected for the exhibition which ran at the National Portrait Gallery earlier this year.

After taking a degree in philosophy at Amherst College, Ingolv Helland (b. 1974) moved to New York to work as a bond analyst for Citicorp Securities. During his finance tenure, he studied drawing at the Art Students League of New York in the evenings and privately with Michael Aviano at the weekends. In the summer of 1997, Helland quit finance and became a full-time student and studio assistant to Aviano. Since leaving the studio of Aviano and New York in 2001, Helland has been following unusual migratory patterns. He is new to the Oslo painting scene, having arrived in November 2006 from Copenhagen. Before that he lived in Berlin, Ny Hellesund, an island of the coast of southern Norway, and briefly in Kerala, India.

The painting selected for the exhibition, was painted between November 2006 and February this year. The artist says the focus of the painting lies in the deconstruction of form and the attributes of the painterly expression. The tactile quality of the paint handling combined with strong sense of coloration reaches for the emotional core of visual phenomena. The directness in Ingolv’s approach to form is handsomely mirrored in the disarming gaze in the painting.

The painting has been chosen as the cover image for the exhibition’s promotional material. Sandy Nairne, director of the National Portrait Gallery, says: ‘It’s not an easy task, choosing one image that will represent the diversity of styles seen in the BP Portrait Award exhibition. We chose Inglov Helland’s ‘Winter portrait’ for our promotional materials – for the cover of our quarterly brochure and for the posters that will be seen across the city of London – as it really engages the viewer. The fixed, outward gaze of the sitter immediately captures your attention, while the painterly style suggests the high standard of work that will be included in the exhibition.’

BP Portrait Award 2007
13 October - 2 December
Laing Art Gallery,
New Bridge Street,
Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 8AG
Monday to Saturday 10am - 5pm, Sunday 2pm - 5pm

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Ingolv Helland's 'Winter portrait' has been chosen as the cover image for the BP Portrait Award exhibition’s promotional material.Photo: Ingolv Helland

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