Norwegian artist exbibits at National Portrait Gallery

 Date:14/06/2007 - 16/09/2007
 Type:Culture, Contemporary Art
 Location:England, London

From the record 1,870 entries received for the prestigious BP Portrait Award, Ingolv Helland is one of only 60 artists chosen to take part in an exhibition showcasing the best works that were entered.

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 - have been selected for the exhibition which runs at the National Portrait Gallery.

In addition to a cash prize of £25,000, the winner of the BP Portrait Award will receive a commission worth £4,000. The second prize will be £8,000 and third £6,000. The winner of the BP Young Artist Award will receive £5,000. The four artists in consideration for the BP Portrait Award 2007 are Johan Andersson, Paul Emsley, David Lawton and Hynek Martinec. The winners of these prizes will be announced on Wednesday 20 June. 

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 BP Award Show at the National Portrait Gallery, 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.’

14 June to 16 September
BP Portrait Award Exhibition
National Portrait Gallery
St Martin's Place
London WC2H 0HE
Opening hours: Monday - Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday: 10am – 6pm. Thursday, Friday: 10am – 9pm
General information: 020 7306 0055

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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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