Dave Woody of Fort Collins, Colorado, has received first prize in the National Portrait Gallery’s 2009 Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition. His photograph, titled Laura (shown on right), was chosen as the winner from a field of more than three thousand entries in every visual arts medium. First prize was a cash award of $25,000 and a commission from the museum to portray a remarkable living American for the NPG permanent collection. Woody’s portrait, as well as works from forty-eight other artists, are on display at the National Portrait Gallery, in the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition exhibition on the second floor.
Of his work, Woody comments, “I am never really attracted to photographing subjects who are totally self-aware or self-confident, as I’m more interested in those people who move through this world with a quiet grace. Spending time with friends allows me to see them in a certain light where their mask drops and something soft and inviting is seen, and I’ll think of making a photograph of them.”
Stanley Rayfield of Richmond, Virginia, received second prize for a painting titled Dad, while third place went to Adam Vinson of Jenkintown, Pennsylvania for his oil-on-panel painting titled Dressy Bessy Takes a Nap. Commended artists are Margaret Bowland, for a her painting Portrait of Kenyetta and Brianna; Yolanda del Amo, for her C-print photograph Sarah, David; Gaela Erwin, for her pastel on paper Baptismal Self-Portrait; and Emil Robinson for an oil-on-panel portrait titled Showered. Each was awarded a cash prize.
NPG Director Martin Sullivan states, “The variety and depth of the entries was encouraging to me since it proved that portraiture is an ever-evolving genre. And best of all, this competition allows the National Portrait Gallery and its visitors to see how today’s artists interpret portraiture in all of its forms.”
Finalists for the 2009 competition were chosen in early May, and the winners were announced at the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition Awards Celebration on Thursday, October 22. In addition, one exhibiting artist will win the People’s Choice Award, in which visitors to the exhibition, both online and in the gallery, may cast a vote for their favorite of the forty-nine finalists. Voting for the People’s Choice Award will close on January 18, 2010.
The competition is named for Virginia Outwin Boochever, a former NPG docent and an ardent supporter of the Portrait Gallery. The exhibition’s catalog describes Mrs. Boochever’s endowment for the portrait competition “as a way to benefit artists directly… as a unique opportunity to fill a void in the American art world.” The works in the Portrait Competition will be on display until August 22, 2010. To view images of the works, see the exhibition Web site.