Media Release: Scottish artists strike gold

A CLUTCH of talented Scottish artists revelled in the limelight last night (Thursday, 29 October 2009), as they collected a range of top awards, valued at more than £13,000, at the ‘Varnishing Dinner’ – a traditional celebratory night in the Scottish art world’s calendar, hosted annually by the Glasgow Art Club and the Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts (The RGI) for over a century.

The dinner, held at The Glasgow Art Club, is a stylish curtain-raiser for the RGI’s prestigious 148th annual open contemporary art exhibition – one of the largest such events in the UK – which will take place at The Mitchell, North Street, Glasgow from Thursday, 05 November until Sunday, 29 November 2009.

Many corners of Scotland were represented on the winners’ podium. One of the night’s biggest winners was Glasgow-based artist Rosalind Lawless who collected the Inverarity One to One Travel Award for her painting entitled ‘Hollow Space’.

Rosalind’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 at The RGI Kelly Gallery in Glasgow.

Several young artists also came up trumps, including Kilmarnock-based graduate Ryan Mutter (30) who this year collected his third award from The RGI – The City of Glasgow Prize valued at £1,000. 18 year-old Sally Hackett, from Dundee, picked up the James Torrance Memorial Award, while Paul Kennedy (27) from Glasgow was awarded the RGI Exhibition Award. Paul has also been shortlisted for the Aspect Prize – one of the UK’s leading contemporary arts prizes.

The 2009 RGI open annual exhibition attracted more than 1,100 entries from contemporary artists based all over Scotland, as well as south of the border. Work selected for display ranges from drawings and paintings by recent art school graduates, to paintings and sculpture by distinguished alumni of Scotland’s leading art colleges.

RGI president, Gordon Macpherson, said:

“Some quite exceptional work will be on show this year, making our selectors’ job extremely challenging in choosing just one winner per category. We are delighted with the continuing upward trend in numbers of entries, demonstrating a healthy artistic community with huge amounts of creativity. Hearty congratulations to our worthy winners for their superb contributions to another outstanding exhibition.

“The RGI would like to extend a very warm welcome to everyone interested in the arts to visit The Mitchell in Glasgow and experience a wonderfully vibrant show, featuring contemporary Scottish artists, where all works are for sale.”

Last year, over 8,000 visitors attended the show, resulting in brisk sales despite the challenging economic climate. The 2009 exhibition will run from Thursday, 05 November until Sunday, 29 November with entry priced at £2, or £1 for concessions. Stunning original works range in price from £140 to previous years’ record-breaking £15,000.

The total prize money awarded by the RGI encompasses 14 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, including membership forms, is available from the website or from The RGI office, 5 Oswald Street, Glasgow G1 4QR, T: 0141 248 7411.


Notes to Editors:

The 148th RGI Annual Exhibition –Thurs, 05 Nov until Sun, 29 November 2009

Opening Times:

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

Admission £2, £1 for concessions, free to RGI members.

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 2009 Annual Open Exhibition: The Mitchell, Glasgow

2009 Prizewinners

The N S Macfarlane Charitable Trust Award £1,000

Painting or sculpture by any artist exhibiting for the 1st time

Justin Butcher from Glasgow ‘Keys of Life Series: Leap of Faith’

The David Cargill Award £2,000

All works eligible

Rory McLauchlan from Prestwick ‘Church at Crossmichael’

The David Cargill Award £1,000

Artists under 35

Nadia Lazizi from Bathgate ’Sway’

City of Glasgow Prize £1,000

Artists under the age of 40

Ryan Mutter from Kilmarnock ‘Construction Begins on the Queen Mary 1930’

Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow Award £1,000

All works eligible

Irene MacKenzie from Cumbernauld ‘Dark Red Irises’

The Mabel Mackinlay Award £500

All works eligible

Paul Murray from Gourock ‘Altar’

The Armour Award £1,000

Work of distinction for a young artist

Emma Waine from Glasgow ‘Taxi Road to the Fort’

Cuthbert ‘New Young Artist’ Award £500

Landscape or still life work of distinction by a young painter

Catharine Davison from Edinburgh ‘Warriston Allotments, Late Summer’

Langside College Watercolour Award £500

Works in water-based media

Anne Skinner from Dundee ‘The Emperor’

The 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 recent Scottish art college graduate, towards costs of a two-week exhibition,

rent free, at the Kelly Gallery

Paul Kennedy from Glasgow ‘Correspondence’

The Art Exposure Gallery £250


Anda Paterson from Cardross, Argyll ‘Iberian Pageant’

Milly and Benno Schotz Award £250

Best work submitted by a young sculptor

Linda Watson from Brampton, Cumbria ‘Opening’

James Torrance Memorial Award £250

Most promising work by a young artist

Sally Hackett from Dundee ‘Sally the Man’

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 Kelly Gallery.

Rosalind Lawless from Glasgow ‘Hollow Space’

House for an Art Lover Award £1,000

Painting, print or drawing

Judith I Bridgland from Glasgow ‘Eastbourne Pier’

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Contact: Pamela Bailey
Phone: +44 (0) 844 445 1661