ANNOUNCING THE WINNERS
After much delay, we are delighted to finally announce our prize-winners:
The £1,000 First Prize goes to Irene Marot for her oil painting, "Bosco and Sam".
The £500 Ffin-y-Parc Prize goes to Adam Taylor for his painting, "Holding Pen On Top Of The Hill".
Here, the selection panel describe the judging experience:
Ann Lewis PRCA: "Over the years of being a member of the Royal Cambrian Academy, I’ve been a selector for our Open exhibition several times but the response this year is nothing short of phenomenal, in terms of numbers, variety and quality of work.
It was so exciting to walk into the gallery on Monday, to witness all the work together for the first time and to come face to face with work we’d only seen online.
This is the Royal Cambrian Academy’s first venture in taking online submissions for the Open. The pandemic forced our hand, but aside from the steep learning curve for everyone involved, it’s been a hugely positive experience and we’ve been particularly pleased that the online process has resulted in submissions from all over the UK and overseas for the first time!
We were also delighted to invite Ralph Sanders from Ffin y Parc Gallery to join us this year as a selector and there was a lot of lively debate during the selection process, both for the exhibition and the prize-winners."
Ralph Saunders, Ffin-y-Parc gallerist: "Holding Pen On Top Of The Hill, is a small and perhaps unassuming work. There is sophistication in its composition and line, yet it is striking in its simplicity and economy.
There is no distraction here, and no embellishment. It is clear and lean and straightforward; suggestive and emotionally potent. The work’s stillness and control pulls you in, and it leaves its after-image in the mind afterwards. It is a fine evocation of a state of mind, recognizable and beautifully caught.
For me it stood out straight away as one of the strongest entries."
Susan Gathercole RCA: "Judging this Open Exhibition has been a rollercoaster. From the frustration and disappointment of all the postponements due to covid, to realising we could still hold the initial show online; then the visceral thrill of seeing the work for the first time when we finally saw it in the gallery this week.
Despite having been given the measurements, we were all thrown by the size of several works. Having seen them online and imagined some works to be small-scale - they turned out to be huge, and conversely, picturing some images to be large, in fact they were tiny.
The depth and vibrancy of the work really hit us as we wandered round the gallery, studying freshly unwrapped pieces, and began the daunting process of selecting prize-winners. The tremendous range of medium, style and subject matter, along with the sheer high standard of work, meant that we were hard-pressed to choose winners.
After a lot of thought and discussion, we finally arrived at a consensus with Irene Marot's oil unusual painting, "Bosco and Sam" as our winner. We were taken with the subtle but strong sense of balance, colour, draughtsmanship, and composition. The picture has an arresting, 'different' feeling to it. The quiet sense of the dog's heavy comfort, resting on its owner's lap conveys a great impression of warmth and deep relaxation, which spoke to us all, perhaps as a counterbalance to these dark pandemic times."
Many thanks go to our dedicated staff for working flat-out behind the scenes to bring this show together - Hilary, Sylwia, Nadine, Tim, Emily, Ffion and Bryony. Also, hats off to volunteer, Glen for storing mountains of packaging, and to Bob, Jeremy and Pam for spirited use of spirit level and drill, getting the work hung.