Over a thousand artists have submitted their paintings and sculptures to Scotland’s largest open submission contemporary art exhibition The Royal Glasgow Institute’s 151st Open Annual Show 2012 which runs from 16 September until 6 October 2012.
From the hundreds of artworks submitted by established artists, rising stars and new graduates, a selection panel of well known artists headed up by the RGI’s new convenor, Hazel Nagl RSW RGI PAI, has chosen 350 pieces which will be showcased at this year’s exhibition.
Along with the prestige of having their painting or sculpture exhibited and possibly purchased by art enthusiasts, the selected artists also have the opportunity to pick up one (or more) of 21 awards, including several expressly aimed at young painters and sculptors, or first time exhibitors.
The most recent award is The Lyon & Turnbull Prize of £1000 which joins the prestigious roll call of prizes awarded annually at the show. The RGI is extremely grateful for the loyalty and generosity of the companies, organizations and individuals who annually sponsor prizes.
Entries are from as far afield as Orkney and the south of England. Recent GSA graduate, Yaun Zhang, travelled up from London to submit her work The Full Moon Rise and the Dumpling Sky.
The artists are following in famous footsteps as during its 151-year history, the annual show has exhibited works by The Glasgow Boys, while Charles Rennie Mackintosh designed the 1895 show invitation.
One of the special deliveries at The Mitchell was the rain-soaked, Cragg, straight from the garden of the late and much loved artist and RGI, George Wyllie, whose Wee Yellow Burd sculpture graces the exhibition catalogue.
George’s daughter, Louise Wyllie said: “My sister Elaine and I are delighted that the RGI is honouring our father by showing his work this year. He was very proud to be an elected member of the Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts and was always conscious that it was an honour bestowed by his fellow artists, which meant a lot to him.
“The sculptures, which we have loaned for this exhibition, have special significance. Burds were always close to my father’s heart. He was, after all, For The Burds, and returned to them time and time again in his work as a key symbol.
“The other artwork, Cragg, is very close to home for Elaine and I, as until now it sat in the front garden of our parent’s home in Gourock, almost like a way-marker to tell people that they had reached George Wyllie’s house. It is a very early example of his sculptural work, dating back to the 1970s, which he showed it at the Royal Scottish Academy.
“This year, as part of the year-long Whysman Festival, celebrating his life and work, we’re especially pleased that these works are being shown by RGI in the same building which will host a major retrospective of his work from November 1, until the end of the January 2013.”
Works by another distinguished RGI, the portrait painter and GSA lecturer, Geoff Squire DFA (Lond) ARSA RSW RGI, who died earlier this year, will also be exhibited at the annual show.
The award of RGI is made to artists for artistic merit and dedication to the Institute, and there are only 50 RGIs at any given time. Current RGIs include Barbara Rae and Dame Elizabeth Blackadder, while Liz Lochhead and John Byrne are both Honorary RGIs.
Last year, over 3000 people visited the exhibition where prices ranged from £200 to four-figure sums. The show is a relaxed and informal way of viewing and buying art. The RGI’s recently elected President, Karin Currie said:
“I think the Selection Panel enjoyed the scope of work entered for this year’s Annual Exhibition – they certainly gave a ‘yes’ to more of the submissions than ever before, according to our chief technician of some 20 years, so I am in no doubt that we are in for a very vibrant show when the final few hundred are hung.”