Media Release: Scottish artists hit the jackpot

A CLUTCH of talented Scottish artists revelled in the limelight last night (Thursday, 04 October 2007), collecting a range of top awards, valued at more than £18,000 – at the ‘Varnishing Dinner’, a traditional celebratory night in the Scottish art world’s calendar, hosted annually by the Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts (the RGI) for over a century.

The dinner is a stylish curtain-raiser for the RGI’s prestigious annual contemporary art exhibition which will take place at The Mitchell, North Street, Glasgow from Friday, 12 October until Sunday, 04 November 2007.

Though almost every corner of Scotland was represented on the winners’ podium, one of the night’s biggest winners was Glasgow-based artist, Margaretann Bennett. She collected the Inverarity One to One Travel Award for her painting entitled, ‘Remnants from an Island Ruin’.

Margaret’s prize includes a week at the French Chateau owned by luxury champagne producers, Louis Roederer, as well as a £2,000 cash prize, a commission for the sponsor’s corporate collection and a solo exhibition.

Several young artists also came up trumps, including Glasgow School of Art graduate, Blair Thomson, who collected twin honours – The Langside College Watercolour Award, and the Glasgow Art Club Fellowship for which Blair will also receive a solo exhibition.

The RGI’s 2007 show attracted approximately 950 entries from contemporary artists based all over Scotland, and south of the border – an increase of 15 per cent over 2006. Work selected for display ranges from paintings by self-taught artists such as Glasgow streetsweeper Allan Richardson to distinguished alumni of Scotland’s leading art colleges, aged from their early 20s to mid-80s.

RGI president, Gordon Macpherson, said:

“The standard of work this year has been exceptional, making it very tricky for our selectors to choose just one winner per category. We are delighted with the surge in numbers of entries for the 2007 show, and congratulate our worthy winners for their superb contributions to another outstanding exhibition.

“The RGI would like to extend an open invitation, and a very warm welcome, to everyone interested in the arts to drop by The Mitchell in Glasgow for a visual feast of a show featuring contemporary Scottish artists, where all works are for sale.”

Last year, over 8,000 visitors attended the show. The 2007 exhibition will run from Friday, 12 October until Sunday, 4 November with entry priced at £2, or £1 for concessions. Stunning original works range in price from £80 to last year’s record-breaking £15,000.

The total prize money awarded by the RGI encompasses 13 categories, including several exclusively aimed at young painters and sculptors or a first time exhibitor. The organisation has over 1,100 members comprising professional artists and enthusiastic lay supporters.

Further information is available from the website or from The RGI office, 5 Oswald Street, Glasgow G1 4QR.  T: 0141 248 7411.

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Notes to Editors:

The 146th RGI Annual Exhibition – Opening Times:

Monday to Saturday: 10.30am – 5pm.   Thursday: 10.30am – 7pm Sunday: 12 noon – 5pm.

Admission £2, £1 for concessions

The RGI was formed in 1861 to fill a much-needed gap for a forum in the city where the works of its many living contemporary artists could be exhibited.

RGI 2007 Annual Exhibition – 2007 Prizewinners

The N S Macfarlane Charitable Trust Award £1,000

Painting or sculpture by any artist exhibiting for the first time

Rosemary Taylor from Aberdeen                          ‘Shemariah’

The David Cargill Award £2,000 (all works eligible)

Zanna Wilson from Edinburgh                              ‘The Shore, Leith’

The David Cargill Award £1,000 (artists under 35)

Ryan Mutter from Kilmarnock                         ’Tightening Bolts by the Clyde’

City of Glasgow Prize £1,000 (Artists under the age of 40)

David Schofield, from Dundee                              ‘Every Day is Like Sunday’

Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow Award £1,000 (all works eligible)

Georgina S McMaster, from Kilmacolm                ‘Stare’

The Mabel Mackinlay Award £500 (all works eligible)

Jenny Hulse, from Cheshire                             ‘The Black Table’

The Armour Award £1,000 (work of distinction by a young artist)

Heather Ross, from Edinburgh                    ‘Red Sky in the Morning’

Cuthbert ‘New Young Artist’ Award £500

Landscape or still life work of distinction by a young painter

Lisa Smith, from Glasgow      ‘Clams Mussels and Whelks’

Langside College Watercolour Award £500 (works in water-based media)

Blair Thomson, from Glasgow                           ‘Rhythms, Kilcreggan’

Glasgow Art Club Fellowship

Two years membership and a solo exhibition for a young artist

Blair Thomson, from Glasgow                           ‘Rhythms, Kilcreggan’

Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts Exhibition Award

(£500 towards cost of a two-week exhibition, rent free in the Royal Glasgow Institute Kelly Gallery)

For a recent Scottish art college graduate, towards costs of a two-week exhibition, rent free, at the Kelly Gallery

Sian MacQueen, from Kilmartin, Argyll                 ‘Jura and Scarba’

The Strathearn Gallery Crieff Award £250 (small painting)

George Gilbert, from East Neuk Fife                    ‘The Painter’s Table’

The Art Exposure Gallery £250 (painting)

Graham Flack, from Edinburgh                            ‘I Wonder’

Milly and Benno Schotz Award £250 (best work submitted by a young sculptor)

Rebecca Wilson, from Edinburgh              ‘Origin, Authenticity, Incompletion’

James Torrance Memorial Award £250 (most promising work by a young artist)

Katy Poett, from Dollar (lives London)                  ‘On the Move’

Inverarity One to One Travel Award

Cash prize of £2,000 and a commission to produce a work for the Inverarity Vaults collection.

Also, a week spent at the Louis Roederer Chateau, plus a further week in the Champagne region plus a solo show in the RGI’s Kelly Gallery.

Margaretann Bennett, from Glasgow              ‘Remnants from an Island Ruin’

City Sites Estates Art Award £1,000 (all works eligible)

Stephen Mangan, from Edinburgh                        ‘Night Station’

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