Competition for a spot at a grand exhibition at the Mall Galleries. Featuring a professional artist from London, a painter from the Isle of Wight and a graphic designer.
Browse content similar to Episode 6. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
Britain's top artists make big money.
Their works can go for millions.
Nine million five. Ten million. Ten million five. 11 million.
Up and down the country, thousands of ordinary people are also
trying to get a piece of the action.
They're putting their necks on the block for the chance
to sell at the hottest exhibition in town.
To see my painting up on the wall of the gallery.
It would be unbelievable.
Bring it on, come on, let's have it.
These artists could stand to make some serious cash.
I've valued it at £1,500.
But first they need the seal of approval
from three of the art world's toughest critics.
Do you think this is clever?
Their hopes are in the hands of the Hanging Committee.
Get yourself to art school and have some grounding in how to paint.
I absolutely love it.
It's time to Show Me The Monet.
Hello, and welcome to Show Me The Monet.
Over the past few months, creative people across the UK,
both amateur and professional,
have been vying for the chance to show and sell their work
at our prestigious exhibition.
But, to earn their place, they had to face the Hanging Committee.
Charlotte Mullins has written ten books on art and contemporary culture.
She knows what it takes to cut it in the modern art world.
I'm looking for originality.
Artworks that make me see the world in a completely new way.
Roy Bolton is an art dealer who's sold thousands of paintings
over the years.
Technical ability is the skill to express yourself
in whatever artistic language you choose.
And David Lee has over two decades in the game
and doesn't mince his words when it comes to critiquing art.
Only the greatest works of art can stop you
in their tracks with their overpowering beauty.
But there's no harm in trying.
These experts were the gatekeepers to our exhibition.
And only the very best would be selected
to show their work at the Mall Galleries.
I'm going to say yes.
Coming up on today's programme, a passionate young British artist
tells the judges what he really thinks.
-I think that's a load of
I think art should be about war, sex, death and religion.
Roy gets a fit of the giggles.
And Charlotte grapples with an unusual style.
It's just quite difficult to look at. They're quite grotesque.
Eltham Palace, South London,
one of the few surviving medieval royal palaces in England.
It was an awe-inspiring backdrop for our aspiring artists,
as, one by one, they faced the Hanging Committee in the magnificent Great Hall.
First over the bridge was 25-year-old graphic designer
Joseph Steele, from Burton-on-Trent.
He's already been tipped as one of a new generation
of Young British Artists, and he's no stranger to controversy.
That's not surprising, given his favourite subjects -
sex, death, religion and war.
I've had exhibitions across the country,
running my own pop-up shows, and I've had some gallery shows.
But I haven't quite had any...
I haven't got to the next stage yet, I guess.
Now, for a layman, what's a pop-up show?
Anywhere there's an empty space and you can put some art in it, and
it's a great way to get your art out to the public from an early stage.
If you do get to the exhibition and you sell,
what would you spend the money on?
Well, I'm trying to make a film, a short film,
about a hermit that lives in a wood.
So many questions about that film, and I haven't got time, sadly.
I've got to send you in.
To see the judges, they are through that door.
-Thanks very much.
Joseph's already making waves in the art world,
but a place at the exhibition would give him some serious credibility.
And it's this print that he's hoping will get him there.
Welcome to the Hanging Committee. Would you like to tell us about this?
This is Nissunami,
and it's a digital print I made in August last year.
And it is a re-rendering of one of Hokusai's 36 Views of Mount Fuji,
rendered entirely using hundreds and hundreds of Japanese cars.
I created the work after the tsunami disaster,
but I didn't think I could do it by representing the human loss,
I wanted instead to try and connect to it through the material loss,
which I found equally as shocking.
OK. And how much would you charge for this?
Between £2,800 and £3,200.
If Joseph is to make it to the exhibition,
he'll need two of our panel to give his work a yes vote.
So, up close you can really see the detail, the gauges of design,
the mountain change, the waves change, the trees change, the sky change.
You're looking at thousands and thousands of mouse clicks,
it's quite an obsessive, detailed work.
And it took a month.
They'll be judging his piece on three criteria.
Originality, technical ability, and on emotional impact.
Joseph, this is a direct copy,
a reworking of a Japanese print by Hokusai,
one of the most famous Japanese printmakers of the 19th century.
Why did you choose this work,
and why did you choose to work with it so literally?
I have to think this over in my head a little bit.
It's a bit like when I pretended to be Andy Warhol at university.
Oh my God - no, that's dangerous, I'm not saying that!
I was... I wanted to learn more about him, and I wanted to
understand the composite, like, his work, what he stood for.
Well, that has to be one of the most unusual answers
we've had in the Hanging Committee.
This work is really bringing up-to-date the 19th century print
of what was a tsunami, into the 21st century.
But I feel that making it out of cars cheapens what was
an horrific disaster, that's very, very fresh in all our minds.
I think that, it's sort of, I quite like to be unsettled by things,
but I don't feel unsettled, more that I feel like I've been made to
listen to a bad joke that will make someone else feel uncomfortable.
He's not relating one event specifically to another,
he's drawing, I think, a general view of natural tragedies,
and suggesting that maybe there is a human element in them.
And in that I can see perfectly well.
I mean, distasteful, if you're, if you find this distasteful,
I feel sorry for you.
I'm finding it a confused message.
Mmm, David seems to be the only judge who understands
what Joseph's getting at here.
Am I moved by that in any way?
Um... Not really.
I've seen the image, I know what you've made it of,
I've got your message, but I don't want to come back to it,
because I know what the message is.
And art, really, is something you come back to many, many times
without being able to solve, and each time you go back to it, you
discover something new, so in, in that sense it doesn't work at all.
In terms of originality, it is, in my eyes, a direct copy of a print,
and although I see that you've pulled it into the 21st century
by using cars to make it,
that just is quite a light trick,
and there's no depth to it, so I don't connect with it emotionally.
Can I just, I, OK, so it's a no, I guess.
We all have our different opinions.
I actually have more things to say.
OK, sorry, please. Carry on.
Joseph's clearly rattled by the critique.
Let's see if Roy can give him any more hope.
I think you're a very interesting character,
I think you're a very interesting artist.
But I have the same problem as my other two judges in different ways,
that it's got one sole message,
and once I know that message, I don't necessarily need to come back,
I won't be refreshed in any way by seeing it again.
So I'm stuck on that one.
So, we're going to move to the vote now.
-Can I make one last statement?
I've seen a lot of art in London,
and I see a lot of art that is like, I don't know,
community stuff, or, like, some arrangements of cardboard.
-And I think that's a load of
I think art should be about war, sex, death and religion.
And this is what I'm aspiring to make with this piece of work.
I may not be there yet, but one day I will be able to get there.
A passionate plea from the young artist.
The Monet bleep machine going into overdrive on that one.
But will he have swayed the judges?
A place at the exhibition
and the chance to make around £3,000 for his movie depend on it.
Joseph. That one point, I can't come back to it again and again,
and that's what stops it for me.
So it is a no from me. Charlotte?
Joseph, it's a no.
Make sure you keep blasting at capitalism and consumerism.
I'm afraid it's a no from me, as well.
Oh my gosh! Right, OK. Well, thanks very much for your feedback.
I'm extremely disappointed,
I am genuinely extremely disappointed, but that's fine.
I'm disappointed we don't have YOU.
-I don't think it'll be the last we see of you.
-Yeah. Thanks. Bye.
Why's he allowed to use bad language like that when I'm not?
-Hi, how are you doing?
Deep breath. Did you find it constructive? I can see that you're angry.
I found it constructive in so far as to get, like, to get some feedback.
I found it less constructive in so far as I'm still here
and I should be at work.
-All right. I'll let you go then.
-Sweet, thanks very much.
-Nice to meet you.
-Sorry to make you late.
-That's all right. Bye!
To win a place at the exhibition, we asked artists from all over
the country to send us their work.
We had entries from both amateurs and professionals,
and the standard was incredibly high.
One of our professional entrants was Matthew Small from London.
Matthew has developed a sizeable reputation as an artist
over the last ten years, but he's also a man with a mission.
If he gets through to the exhibition and sells his painting,
he'll use the money to set up art workshops for disadvantaged people.
Matthew. Nice to meet you.
Lovely to meet you too.
Now, Matthew, I'm looking down at your CV.
It's very impressive. You're award-winning, you've sold art.
The thing that strikes me is that you've got everything to lose.
Are you not frightened?
I think as an artist you know that you put your work up,
you make it visible, people can have opinions, and you can't shy away from that.
What are your ambitions, then?
I think it's to allow my work to sort of be seen by more and more people.
I think because I'm so passionate about the subject matter that I deal with,
that's my main aim for my work.
-I wish you the very best of luck.
-Thank you very much.
-Through those doors there.
All right. Cheers, sir.
Matthew has shown his work in galleries in London and abroad
and he already sells pieces for up to £10,000.
So he's taken a huge risk coming here today.
And this is a first.
His colourful portrait is painted not on canvas, but on a fridge door.
If these three powerhouses of the art world don't like what they see
Matthew's reputation could be in tatters.
Hello, Matthew. Welcome to the Hanging Committee. Please tell us about your work.
OK. This is a young guy.
He's the sort of person that you might see on the housing estates,
see him on the streets,
the sort of person I feel is being ignored by society.
My aim is to try and represent, give him a little bit of light.
I want to, I want to show these guys as individuals, as opposed
to how the media portray them, and how we all start to believe that
they're less than, than anyone else, and I think that's my main agenda.
And could you tell me how much you value this work for?
Well, I have a going rate, because I'm an artist in my own right,
so he's about three-and-a-half grand.
We'll come and take a closer look.
If Matthew gets through to our exhibition
he has the chance to sell his painting.
He plans to use the money to pay for venues
and materials for his art workshops.
But first he has to get past the panel.
Do you find these fridge doors,
is this the way you work normally, on found objects?
I am primarily known for working on found materials.
My mission is to sort of reclaim these things,
and try and sort of, make use of them again.
In the way that you're trying to reclaim your subject.
Subject matter is exactly the same kind of process.
If you can reclaim something that's no longer required by society,
which a lot of young people can feel like,
then when you marry these two, the material and the subject matter,
I feel like it gives it a lot more of a, of a power.
Funnily enough, I thought the fridge door would be incredibly
distracting and unnecessary, but it does make a lot more sense,
it does give it more power.
So Mathew's decision to paint on a found object has earned him
some Brownie points.
But it's the skill of the painting on that fridge door
that he's really being judged on.
Can I just ask you both what you think about the paintwork?
I mean, it's very pretty and decorative,
but does it actually add anything to the eyes, the nose and the mouth?
David, I don't think it's decorative at all, I think that paint
makes this person, it gives them so much expression and energy.
-Energy, I just feel like you've gone, wham!
And thrown paint at that, and that is that person's character to me.
How can decorative, swirling paint equate to character?
I'm saying this is not decorative, swirling paint.
The way it splashes out across the forehead,
the way it drips down from the eye, it gives it strength.
-You're making it up as you go along, Charlotte.
-You're just not opening your eyes, David.
Matthew's painting has sparked a heated debate.
But does it fulfil all the judges' criteria?
Technical ability, I think it has it in bucket loads.
You've drawn a face out of what seems to the casual viewer
to be a haphazard arrangement of Technicolor,
but it obviously isn't that.
It's not every day you see anything on fridge doors, is it?
I like your theme, I think your theme is marvellous.
Emotional content? I think it's decorative.
Matthew, I'm going to disagree with David. I think...
That's nice of you!
This is an incredibly powerful portrait.
I love the way you've flung the paint around, but also controlled it.
Matthew seems to be enjoying the debate his work has provoked.
But will he still be smiling after the vote?
As a professional artist,
failure to make the exhibition would not be good for business.
For me, it's an absolute and resounding yes. Congratulations.
I'm going to surprise you.
It's not perfect. But I want it in the show.
-I'm going to say yes too. Well done.
We're going to have great fun seeing that in the exhibition.
-A truly worthy entrant.
Can I shake your hand?
It's a hat trick for Matthew.
His portrait will hang at the Mall Galleries.
He now has the chance to spread his message to a larger audience.
And if he can make a sale, he'll have some valuable funding
for those art workshops.
The Mall Galleries, London, and I'm guessing it was
the first time a fridge door had hung on these prestigious walls.
I like the fridge door painting of the young boy.
I've never seen a painting like that before.
The exhibition was open to the public.
And Matthew's eye-catching piece was instantly causing a stir.
We saw a lovely piece of work by Matthew, very interesting.
Matthew is another artist that I really enjoy and loved.
He sort of encompassed a way of looking at portraiture,
which wasn't necessarily about appearance.
And as the evening got into full swing, so did Matthew.
'The more people that come in and feel'
a connection to it, the better, because that means I'm doing something right.
There seemed to be no end of admirers for Matthew's work.
But was anyone going to make a bid?
Any offers on his work were made in secret
and subject to a 10% sales commission.
The results of the bidding were handled to me
in a sealed envelope, and only revealed
when I opened it in front of the artist for the first time.
Matt, nice to see you.
Good to see you too.
How was it with your fridge door in the Mall Galleries?
It was great, I had a good old time with it,
people were discussing the work, which is exactly what I wanted.
But, other than that, there was a few people that was,
was sort of showing genuine interest, so whether or not
they've bit the bullet and gone for it, I don't know, but we shall see.
OK, we will, we shall see, we'll open that envelope in a minute, but I just want to -
look, I've got some beaming people behind you.
What do you reckon, family? Will he do it?
-Everybody get their fingers crossed now, come on.
OK. This is the envelope.
I don't know what's inside, Matt, I honestly don't, I don't know.
Here we go.
You wanted £3,550.
-Something like that.
-Something like that.
-We've had one offer.
It is £1,818.
-What do you reckon?
-Family and friends? Is it enough?
-Your partner's saying no.
The little one at the back is shaking his head as well.
Honouring my career as such I'd have to sort of decline that one.
All right, well, I'll say commiserations. Bad luck.
-That's all right.
-But congratulations on getting all the way through to our exhibition.
-Hopefully you've made some great contacts.
-I think there's a few there, definitely.
Brilliant. And build on that career. And it's lovely to meet all of you.
Give him, give him a round of applause.
Matt may not have sold his painting this time,
but his work successfully caught the eye of a curator who's asked him
to display it in a group exhibition at another top London gallery.
One by one, nervous artists arrived at the Hanging Committee.
But only the select few were good enough.
James Sparshatt's photograph of a tango dancing couple
initially had the judges dancing to the beat.
I see an intense moment between these people.
And you have really captured that moment.
I think it's a very good documentary photograph.
So I can't commend you more highly than that.
But in the end, it was that documentary style that put paid
to his chances.
I just don't feel it has that art edge that I'm looking for.
It's a no.
Georgian artist Lyanna Rosa highlighted her Soviet roots
in her portrait of a childhood friend entitled Born In The USSR.
It reminded me a lot of one of the Soviet Union's officials,
which I was so afraid of when I was small girl.
Roy, for one, was impressed with her style.
I do like the way you've taken Soviet Realism,
which was a very realistic, communist-sanctioned way of painting,
and painting the workers heroically.
But Charlotte felt Lyanna had further to travel.
As someone who's just been painting three years, completely self-taught,
you've come a long way, but you need to feel something, some connection with her.
I don't feel that's there at the moment.
And, unfortunately, Lyanna's journey ended here.
You're almost there. But you're not.
Not yet. So, it's a no.
Next up was charity worker Clive Wakeford, with his photograph
of a painted dead oak tree, called A120 Ghost Tree.
Charlotte had issues with the presentation of his work.
Technically, I don't think
the quality of the print does it justice.
I didn't want it to be an absolutely perfect, pristine print.
I wanted it to have the air of mystique, of a spirit coming back.
But Roy certainly got the message behind the piece.
The idea behind it, very, very simple,
and very good.
It's a yes.
But with only one vote, Clive failed to secure a spot at the exhibition.
-It's a no from me.
48-year-old art teacher Chris Jove was hoping his painting,
entitled Patience, would put him top of the class.
She's waiting for somebody.
That's why I positioned her over to the left, to the left-hand side,
to kind of suggest that.
Charlotte warmed to elements of the painting.
You have some lovely moments in this.
The handbag is great, the fact that her legs drop down, you know,
I believe those elements.
But David had issues with the composition.
I don't believe that arm is actually sitting on that leg.
It doesn't sit on it properly.
I think it's a question of what we think something should look like and what it actually looks like.
It was a spirited fight back, but in the end it wasn't enough.
Not just yet. No.
Also hoping to impress the judges was 53-year-old Jackie Jones,
a professional artist from Norwich.
Jackie is passionate about the environment,
and has come to the Hanging Committee hoping to raise money
to put towards a research trip to the Arctic.
She submitted this sculpture, which is entitled A Bag For Life.
-Welcome to the Hanging Committee.
Would you introduce us to your sculpture, please?
I'm an artist that's interested in environmental issues.
I think in society today we very much use packaging,
use plastic packaging, we just take the food out of the plastic tray
and throw it into landfill, because a lot of plastics can't be recycled.
And this is part of a series,
but all the bags are sculpted in the form of embryonic figures.
Thank you very much. And what price do you put on this?
On this piece it would be around £300.
That's great, thank you, we'll have a closer look now.
Jackie's hoping her foetus-shaped sculpture
will provoke debate about environmental issues.
If she gets to our exhibition and sells her work,
she plans to put the money towards a trip to the Arctic to help
inspire new environmental art.
A lot is riding on the next few minutes.
No wonder she's looking a little nervous.
Jackie, if I were to re-title this work A Bag For Death,
would I be going off the rails as far as you're concerned?
I think that's really interesting.
It can be interpreted different ways. I'm happy for that to happen.
Maybe I would say, well, maybe, it's a little bit of death of the planet,
really, because we're using, plundering resources wastefully.
Jackie, you obviously want this to be emotionally unsettling,
you've used an incredibly evocative form.
What led you to connect the material to that sculptural form?
This foetal position is a way of maybe thinking about
the next generation,
and that we should nurture our planet for the next generation.
Jackie, the plastic is a water-soluble plastic, isn't it?
It isn't biodegradable.
It's an oil-based plastic, I've got to say,
it isn't biodegradable unless it had hot water put onto it.
Speaking of hot water and the medium, I noticed it's full of rice,
sort of boil-in-the-bag rice.
Is that significant to the piece?
I chose rice as a medium
because globally rice is a staple food product.
Jackie seems to have thought of every little detail.
Even the rice has a meaning behind it.
But, will the environmental message hit home with the judges?
I think, by itself, without Jackie's explanation, I...
you obviously get a foetal position and a small, you know,
a child of mid-term, sort of four months or so,
that sort of size, I imagine.
But I'm not sure I get anything too much about the Earth,
or the planet.
I don't, I don't think it matters, does it, does it, Roy?
Does any of that matter?
I mean, it's obviously had very significant
layers of meaning for all of us in different ways.
And if somebody can use a few scraps of plastic, manipulate it,
quite simply, actually, and produce that kind of effect,
that is surely what the definition of art is.
I am getting a mixed message from this.
I do find it a powerful piece.
But when I looked at it I wasn't totally convinced by it.
So, now we are going to move to our vote,
to see whether this is going to come with us to the Mall Galleries.
This one hangs in the balance.
All three judges have had a strong response to the work.
But they're reading it in different ways.
But all that matters now is, how will they vote?
-David, would you like to go first?
Sorry, I'm really on the fence with this one,
and that really surprises me.
So, for that reason, I think I have to say no.
The casting vote.
I can't see any reason why I would say no.
So it's a yes from me.
Oh, I'm so pleased.
I'm so pleased you just totally got it, as well.
Thank you so much. That means a lot to me.
Look forward to seeing it again, and you.
Two yeses for Jackie.
Her sculpture will be part of our grand exhibition.
But will she find a buyer who wants to own her Bag For Life?
The Mall Galleries, London.
Jackie's sculpture may have been one of the smallest in the room,
but it was certainly drawing in a big crowd.
Jackie was in her element.
But would anyone want to stump up the cash
when it came to the sealed bid?
Any offers on her work were subject to a 10% sales commission,
and the results of the bidding were only revealed after the exhibition,
when I opened the sealed envelope for the first time.
How was it for you last night?
Fantastic evening. It was a really fantastic evening.
There was quite a lot of interest in my piece, and, yeah,
I really enjoyed it.
-So, down to the nitty gritty.
How much were we looking for?
And what were you going to do with that money?
I'd like to put it towards
a trip to the Arctic.
Fingers crossed, everybody.
Let's see if Jackie will be off on that trip.
So you wanted £300.
Yes. That would be lovely.
You've had an offer. For £311.11!
'She's done it.
'Jackie's successfully sold her piece,
'and for more than her asking price.
'She's one step closer to that Arctic adventure.'
It's lovely that somebody appreciates it. Yeah.
Back at Eltham Palace, 47-year-old Alyson Jackson was next up.
She's always wanted to be a photographer, but with two sons
to bring up, she opted for a secure job and became a careers advisor.
But after 18 years advising others,
she decided it was time to change her own career,
and gave up her job to try to become a professional artist.
Today she's brought along her photograph, Pembroke Water,
to see if she's made the right decision.
Alyson. Welcome to the Hanging Committee.
Would you like to discuss your photograph?
Yes, um... Oh! Right.
It's a photograph that I took in Pembrokeshire,
where I went just to escape, really.
I think it was because - I just, I like the way that
there's something solid in it,
and then everything around it is moving and dynamic,
a bit cliched, but it's a bit of a sort of metaphor for life for me,
it's this, the sea has already been a passion.
So, what I've tried to capture is some kind of essence of that,
some kind of sense of that place for me.
And what value do you put on this?
I think £450.
-We should have a closer look, I think.
If Alyson manages to sell her work,
that £450 will go towards treating her family to a fun day out.
She must be feeling very nervous,
as three of the art world's most respected critics
decide if her piece is good enough for their exhibition.
A black-and-white photograph of the sea,
it's hard to be original with that and you've done it with the format.
-Do you think you have the photographer's eye?
-Yes. Yes, I do.
I almost walk through my whole life
with a frame of what might... and I'm aware of light, all that,
it's something that's been there for a long time.
Why, therefore, did you take
what IS an old-fashioned photographic cliche?
Because we've all got three versions of this picture
-in our portfolio, haven't we?
-This was different for me, though.
I think, to be honest, one of the issues for me is that...
it sounds so cliched, but it is such a passion for me
that I don't necessarily want to get to that point where I've cracked it.
The reason that I love to go and spend five days on my own,
away from my kids and my husband and my dogs
-is that I just want to do it more and more.
The ambiguity in this photograph I find interesting.
Unfortunately, where your work, I think, just falls down,
is on originality.
I feel that I could walk into any coastal gallery and see this image.
That this is not sufficiently making me see the sea anew,
through your eyes.
Alyson has taken a huge risk giving up her job
to see if she can make a living from her photographs.
Now she really wants to know that she's on the right path at last.
But I'm not sure how the vote will go for her.
-I'm afraid it's no.
I'm sorry, Alyson, it doesn't really matter what I say at this point
but it would also be a no.
Thank you. I really, really appreciate your comments. Thank you.
Oh, no. That's a bitter disappointment for Alyson.
Although the judges have recognised her talent,
they say she's not quite ready yet.
I know we hoped that if you got to the exhibition, it would mean
you're on the right path, Alyson,
and this is where you found your niche in life.
Have we still found that? Have we still done it?
Oh, yes, without a doubt, I will still continue to do this,
without any shadow of a doubt.
-I love it.
-I'm going to shake your hand and say the best of luck.
-Thank you very much.
-Not this time
-but maybe next time. See you soon.
-Lovely to meet you.
One after another, the artists waited to see the Hanging Committee
but only a few would leave with a coveted spot at the exhibition.
Next in line was 64-year-old Judith Barton,
a professional painter from the Isle of Wight.
Judith was a late starter in the art world,
and in fact, it was a miracle she started at all.
-Hi Judith, welcome to Show Me the Monet. Nice to meet you.
I was diagnosed with a genetic eye disorder called Best's Disease,
which is a disease of the retina.
Right, so what does that mean? You can see...
You know, the central vision's gone.
-So it's right in the centre.
-The central vision, yeah, the retina.
Does that affect how you work with...?
Yeah, I work very big now.
-Right, so it has to be massive. OK.
What turned it around for you? What was the turning point?
It was my youngest daughter.
It was the Daily Mail, they launched the Not the Turner Prize.
-And unbeknown to me, she entered me for that
and yeah, I was selected to exhibit at the Mall Galleries.
I've heard of that place! I think we're going back there, aren't we?
-And it's been good, so there's always a positive, isn't there?
Out of something that appears negative at the time.
Love it. OK, so if you do get to the exhibition,
you convince those judges you are the best thing since sliced bread
and you sell at the exhibition, what would you spend your money on?
Well, I'd take the family out for a really fantastic dinner.
-Well, good luck.
-The judges await through that door.
I'm sure you're going to wow them.
Judith has already hung her work once in the Mall Galleries.
What would it do to her confidence if she was rejected this time?
Judith has submitted this huge oil painting entitled Birthday Girls.
Let's hope our judges aren't about to spoil the party.
-Judith. Hello. Welcome to the Hanging Committee.
-Would you like to introduce us to your painting, please?
I got the idea for this painting
when I saw two ladies celebrating a birthday.
And as the wine flowed, they became more and more animated,
and they got louder and louder
and they just could not stop laughing
and it was very contagious.
And I thought to myself that
here they were, these ladies with their big, gnarled, arthritic hands,
and their warm faces, and yet they really inspired me.
-I thought it was such positive energy.
-Fantastic, it is quite inspirational.
Can you tell us, then, what price you'd put on a painting like this?
It's got 7,500 on it.
And you strike me as a professional artist, am I right?
-Have you been painting all your life?
Yes, there was a big gap in my painting career,
of actually about 25 years.
I was diagnosed with Best's disease
and I am now registered partially sighted.
But it was my youngest daughter
who actually got me back to work again, actually.
Right, well, that is quite a story,
-and something to thank your daughter for.
Judith, I think we'll take a look at this.
Now, that would be some dinner for the family.
Judith wasn't kidding about the size of her work. It's a whopper!
And now every inch of it is being examined.
Judith, we're each going to ask you a few questions now, individually.
What I want to talk about most is the scale.
Normally, with a lot of pictures, I might suggest to an artist
that they need to upscale. This is already vast, and I actually think
it would work a lot better if it was smaller.
You were talking about your eye illness.
-That's why I paint this size.
Judith, I know you can take some license with caricature,
but those hands are taking over the world, aren't they?
-They are. They are indeed.
Because...when I was painting this, I was thinking back,
and these ladies were larger than life,
with huge gesticulations.
And they were huge, gnarled, arthritic hands.
-It's just quite difficult to look at. They're quite grotesque.
For my part, I love the hands, I think they're...they're grotesque
-but they do, for me, they do exactly what you intended.
They're greedily scoffing up the fun, and the sweets, and the wine.
-And it is infectious.
The ring marks all over the table from the numerous glasses of wine
being spilled in the middle of laughing.
-It would make a tremendous greetings card. A birthday card.
Hmm, and as a card, it could be a real money-spinner.
Do I think there's anything more than great illustration?
Of that, I'm not sure.
My issue comes down to originality,
to whether something so illustrative can transcend into art.
It brings a massive smile to my face when I see it.
But when I'm walking past it at 6.30 in the morning
with a cup of coffee, feeling grumpy,
-they'll just annoy me. And that's different.
-They might cheer you up.
They might do, but on the 50th time, I'm not sure they would.
This one is a nail-biter.
The birthday girls have got the judges' attention
but have they done enough
to get Judith an invitation to our party at the Mall Galleries?
I don't think we should discriminate against illustration or caricature.
We're selecting for an art exhibition.
I'm going to have to say no.
Judith, I'm right on the edge. But I'm going to say yes.
-Thank you very much.
-You're very welcome.
-Thank you, God bless.
-A yes from Roy and David.
Judith has earned her place at the exhibition.
But will anyone want to buy her gigantic painting?
The Mall Galleries, London.
The exhibition was the talk of the town
and Judith's painting took its place amongst the select few.
As the room filled up, the party girls were in great spirits.
And their mood seemed to be infectious.
She made me laugh. Judith Barton's work, I just love it.
I think there's so much humour, and life,
and things that I can relate to in that. I would love that on my wall,
I would love it, cos it would make me smile.
There was no doubt the work was a talking point.
But would anyone have £7,500 or the space for such a large painting?
I would love to bid for the Judy Barton piece,
but, you know, it's an order of magnitude
over and above what I've got in my pocket tonight!
The public could bid on any piece
but they couldn't negotiate directly with the artist.
They could only make secret sealed bids to an independent agent
who would take a 10% commission on the final sale.
The results of the bidding were handed to me in a sealed envelope
and only revealed to the artist at the end of the exhibition.
-How was it last night?
-Really, really, great, great time.
Met loads of fantastic people.
Lots of positive comments, and, yeah, really enjoyed it.
To coin a sort of phrase from showbiz,
you owned that room last night. When I was walking around, you were,
everybody was around this wonderful piece
and you were telling everybody what it was about.
Yeah, everybody was having fun with the girls.
-And they were really enjoying themselves.
They loved it, they loved the attention.
-Now, I'm looking around. You've got a big entourage with you.
Hello, everybody. Are you all proud of her?
-Very, very proud indeed.
-How much money did you want for this?
7,500. And what were you going to do with the money?
Well, celebrate with my family, and my extended family,
and then everything back into the art.
So that's why they're here? For the big slap-up meal and drinks tonight?
-Come on! Your sons are already rubbing their hands.
How confident are you? Did you smell bidders?
No, no, I'm not thinking in terms of that, to be perfectly honest.
You know, for me, the achievement was being part of the exhibition.
The rest is the icing on the cake.
-Well, could be.
Right. So, you want 7,500.
We didn't get any offers.
-Oh, well, never mind.
-I can hear the "ahh"s behind me there,
-cos they can't believe it, it was a very popular piece.
Yeah, it really doesn't matter.
As I say, you know,
being part of the exhibition was the thing for me. Really and truly.
-I'm really sorry. I'll give you a cuddle.
-No, don't worry.
-I honestly don't mind.
-Good luck with everything.
-And that is a fantastic piece.
-We wish you the best of luck.
-Thank you very much.
-All right. Give her a cuddle, she needs it!
What a shame. But since then,
Judith has successfully returned to the Mall Galleries
to exhibit with the Society of Women Artists.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Londoner Matthew has already built up a sizeable reputation as a professional artist selling pieces for as much as £10,000. But he is also a man with a mission. If he gets through to the exhibition and sells his work, he would use the money to set up art workshops for disadvantaged people. He has chosen to show the judges an unusual piece - a colourful portrait painted not on a canvas, but on a fridge door. But if the Hanging Committee don't like what they see, Matthew's reputation could be in tatters.
Judith, 64, is a professional painter from the Isle of Wight. Judith was a late starter in the art world, but she has already had her work hung in the Mall Galleries many times before. Can she manage it again with her huge oil painting entitled Birthday Girls?
Joseph, 25, is a graphic designer from Burton on Trent. He has already been tipped as one of a new generation of Young British Artists and he is no stranger to controversy given his favourite subjects - sex, death, religion and war. He may be making waves in the art world but a place at the exhibition would give him some serious credibility. Will his print entitled Nissunami get him there?