A judge’s view: reflections on our Prize Exhibition… open until June 22

Judging an art show is both a challenge and a joy, according to one of our Prize Exhibition judges Emalee Beddoes-Davis.

Emalee is Curator (Modern and Contemporary Art) at Birmingham Museums Trust, and cast her expert eye over this year’s entries. Our annual Prize exhibition attracts a wide variety of work in a range of media and there’s just one more week to see it!

The show provides opportunities for art-buyers and artists alike because the majority of artworks are for sale and there are a range of prizes to be won, including a top prize of £1,000.

Saranjit Birdi, ‘Immersion’

How would you describe the range of work in the exhibition?

The range of works is incredibly wide and and the quality is extremely high. There’s highly-skilled traditional arts and crafts and experimental painting and drawing. Seeing the wide scope of talent and approaches to creativity in the city is extremely inspiring and almost dizzying.

What are your personal highlights?

There were a number of works I just love. Interestingly, they aren’t necessarily the types of works I would normally be drawn to, but they each have fascinating, unusual qualities.

I keep coming back to the portrait of an older man – I believe it was called ‘Gloriously Irritating’.

Nigel Whittaker, ‘Gloriously Irritating’

The portrait is extremely well executed and the blank background makes it particularly striking and creates an otherworldly impression.

I found such an honest, fond depiction of old age extremely moving. The title completes this, speaking of the difficulties and delights of relationships across generations

Other Highlights

How important are shows like the Prize for the artistic life of the city?

Open exhibitions like this are such an important part of fertilising the arts, allowing creatives the space to exhibit new developments in their practice.

A show like this in a gallery like the RBSA, with its incredible lineage and unshakeable dedication to celebrating artists with decades of experience and training alongside talented newbies, is something we are extremely lucky to have.

This year’s exhibition was selected by Emalee Beddoes-Davis, Curator (Modern & Contemporary Art) at Birmingham Museums Trust, and Jay Taylor, Co-founder of Odox and Course Director for Fine Art & Illustration at Coventry University.

Closing Party

The Prize closing party will take place on Friday 21 June, 6-8pm. The speaker will be Professor Andrew Kulman, Principal Lecturer in Visual Communication at the School of Visual Communication, Birmingham City University.

The RBSA would like to thank the following donors for their generous support of the Prize Exhibition:

GMC Trust First Prize – £1,000 cash

Alec Morison Trust Second Prize – £500 cash

Harris Moore Third Prize – £200 bespoke canvas/framing

The Artist Magazine Prize – 2 years free subscription

Jackson Art Supplies Prize for Young Artist – £125 Voucher for an exhibitor aged 35 or under

Tim Dabson Consulting Prize for 3D work- £100 cash

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