Contemporary painting awards

Three Irish artists – Bernadette Kiely, Helen G Blake and Michelle Conway – are shortlisted for the 2022 Contemporary British Painting Prize. From an original entry figure of 5,750, they are among 17 selected artists up for the awards.

Contemporary British Painting is an organisation that explores and promotes current trends in painting. The winner of their annual award receives £8,000, a catalogue essay on their work and a seat on the judging panel the following year. In addition, £2,000 will be given to the winner of the Highly Commended Award.

Bernadette Kiely

The three Irish contenders are well established in this country. Bernadette Kiely works primarily in landscape. She studied at the Slade in London and is now based in Kilkenny, and is a regular exhibitor at Taylor Galleries in Dublin. ‘I’m delighted to be shortlisted,’ says Kiely. ‘I’ve been following the prize since its inception.

Contemporary British Painting is an artist-led, not curator-led, organisation, which is part of its appeal. It also has a diverse base. People have commented on the fact that it is a competition for artists working in the British Isles, but as far I’m concerned, art has no borders.’

Helen G Blake

Artist Helen Blake, who exhibits at the Molesworth Gallery in Dublin, also studied in the UK, at Aberystwyth University in Wales. ‘I entered the competition a number of times in the past,’ says Blake, ‘and was longlisted once. I’m thrilled that I’ve succeeded this time, as it will bring my work to the attention of a lot more people. Peer appreciation means a huge amount.’

Michelle Conway

Michelle Conway resides in Galway and exhibits in Ireland and internationally. ‘I have been following artists from previous Contemporary British Painting Prize exhibitions. It is an absolute honour to be included this year.’

An exhibition of works from twelve of the selected artists will be displayed at Huddersfield Art Gallery in West Yorkshire, where the prizewinners will be announced on 17 September.

Rose Comiskey