Competition for a spot at a grand exhibition at the Mall Galleries. Featuring a contestant fresh out of art college, a professional painter and an eco-artist from Cornwall.
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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 exhibit a painting in a major London gallery is a dream.
It would be amazing, it's such a good opportunity.
These artists could stand to make some serious cash...
I've priced this at 2,000.
I've priced this painting at 10,000.
..but first they need the seal of approval
from three of the art world's toughest critics.
I can't work out whether it's great fun and formally witty,
or, actually, if it's a waste of space.
Their hopes are in the hands of the Hanging Committee.
Beautiful picture...just not for me.
I don't distinguish that kind of thing from a garden gnome, really.
It's time to Show Me the Monet.
Hello and welcome to Show Me the Monet.
Over the past few months, amateur and professional artists
have had to withstand razor sharp critique from our judges
in order to get the chance to show and sell their work
at our prestigious London exhibition at the Mall Galleries.
But to get there they have to get past
three of the most demanding critics in the business.
Roy Bolton is our resident moneyman.
An experienced art dealer,
he's sold thousands of paintings over the years.
Technical ability is a skill to express yourself
in whatever artistic language you choose.
David Lee is a no-nonsense critic
who has two decades of experience under his belt.
Great art is not something that can be solved.
It's always just short of being understood.
Charlotte Mullins is a contemporary art specialist
who is hoping to discover the next big thing in the art world.
Originality is key for artists.
They have the ability to open our eyes to new ideas
and new possibilities.
These experts were the gatekeepers to our exhibition...
and only the very best would be selected
to show their work at the Mall Galleries.
Coming up on today's programme...
when one artist brings her passionate campaign
to the Hanging Committee...
My work is so important...
..it all becomes too much.
A top-selling professional puts his reputation on the line...
Showing anybody my work,
especially people in the art world, is a bit frightening. I'm nervous.
..and Roy uncovers a painting's hidden depths.
There are two enormous human heads, from a previous painting,
Eltham Palace, London, once home to the entire Tudor court.
It was here, where the kings and queens of medieval England resided,
that artists from all over the country arrived
to face the Hanging Committee.
First to brave the palace bridge was 47-year-old eco-artist
Georgina Maxwell from Cornwall.
She's passionate about using her art
to draw attention to environmental issues
and she's come to the Hanging Committee hoping to raise some money
for her research trip to the North Pacific.
My work is so important.
There's a huge, huge environmental catastrophe
that's happening through plastics.
But I'm not finding the right market
and so I need people who are passionate about the environment,
-especially the oceans, who have loads of money!
We need to find rich people. Right!
So where does Show Me the Monet come in? Does it help YOU as an artist,
or does it help the cause, or a bit of both?
Because I need, I need to be earning a certain amount of money
in order to keep producing and keep passing this message.
Well, it's obviously something you're very passionate about, so...
this COULD be a wonderful day for you.
-Yeah, could be.
-I'll keep my fingers crossed. Good luck!
Thank you. Thanks.
-The judges are there, through that door.
Georgina clearly cares deeply about the environment
but she's struggling to find a market for her work.
So our exhibition would be a huge opportunity.
To get there, she'll have to get past three very demanding judges
and she's hoping this piece will help her to do just that.
-Would you like to introduce your piece, please?
Yes, this is an artwork called Butts on the Beach.
Basically it's cigarette filters
that I collected from the beaches of Cornwall.
I've been collecting plastics from the beaches of Cornwall
for the last 13, 14 years, and I make them into artworks.
My art practise focuses on the suffering of marine life
-due to plastic pollution.
-Could you tell us how much you charge for this?
-Probably about £5,000.
Er, we'll have a look now. Thanks.
It's a substantial price tag BUT if Georgina can sell her piece,
she wants to put the money towards an environmental research expedition she's planning to the North Pacific.
And she'll get that chance IF she makes it to our exhibition.
To get there, she needs two of our judges to give her the yes vote
and they'll be looking for originality, technical ability,
and something that moves them emotionally.
-Georgina, I'm going to ask quite an obvious question, I think.
Who is going to buy an artwork
made from second-hand cigarette butt filters?
Er, I imagine someone who is concerned about the oceans
and the pollution, basically.
We really don't consider the oceans as being very important,
and yet they are, in fact, the womb of the Earth.
They're where we all came from originally and we're trashing it.
But in the end we are confronted by a lot of cigarette butts stuck together
inside a rather nice, deep frame.
Part of me can't believe that you really thought
that by simply collecting butts and sticking them up
you were making a work of art.
I guess, conceptually, it's not obvious
but then conceptually it's not supposed to be that obvious
The problem for me with this piece...
is I feel you have very heartfelt
and deeply rooted ideas about the sea
and about how we, as a nation, as a race,
are using it as our rubbish dump.
And I feel it's just not,
it's not in any way communicating what you're trying to say,
and I don't get a lot from it.
It's got absolutely nothing to do with the sea or anything else.
Look, I'm with you on the sea, I think it's absolutely disgraceful -
the way that so many creatures are being washed up with plastic bottles,
and cigarette butts, and all the rest of it
but this has got nothing to do with that.
It's not going well for Georgina.
She doesn't seem to be getting her message across at all
but we're yet to hear from our resident art dealer.
Georgina, I am gobsmacked that at least one of my fellow judges
doesn't see this work the way that I do.
This has all the stories of all the people
that have smoked these things.
Their death wrapped up in what they're doing.
There's consumerism, there's addictions - all this human frailty.
All that is in there without having to be referred to in any way,
other than the materials that you've used,
to have an emotional connection. I have lots of emotional connections with it.
-Fantastic piece of work, the best thing I've seen so far.
Wow, what a response! It's not often Roy gets so enthusiastic.
But will any of that rub off on the other judges?
Georgina, it's an obvious yes.
This is fantastic and our exhibition will be denuded without it, I fear.
Georgina, I just don't see it.
I don't interact with it, it's a no.
I wish you luck with our campaign
but I don't think an art gallery's the right place for it.
I'm afraid it's a no from me as well.
But thank you very much for stimulating huge discussion on this point.
It's all right, you have a huge advocate in Roy.
You know, he really gets it, I'm sorry we don't get it.
But keep working.
She's poured her heart and soul into this piece,
and it's devastating for her that Charlotte and David don't appreciate it
but at least she's gained a number one fan.
I really loved it and I'm... Are you all right? It's all right.
Oh, come here, treasure trove! Oh, look at you.
Oh, are you all right?
-How frustrating is that for you?
That's, I guess, why I'm so emotional,
is that I don't understand why they don't get it.
I mean, look, you have one champion in there.
Yeah, lovely Roy!
No, to have someone like him, actually...
He, sort of, was fantastic.
There must be that little light there now, for you, at the end of the tunnel.
-You must say to yourself, "Actually..."
-Oh, quite a big light!
-You know, and that's what I need to continue.
You have got something special.
-You are getting that message out there...
-..and please don't stop.
Artists from all over the country arrived at the palace,
hoping their work was good enough for a place at the exhibition
but only the very best would make it through.
Art psychotherapist Errol Fernandes submitted his image
of a wasteland area near his childhood home.
It was somewhere where I used to go and play with my friends,
and be by myself, and explore, and build dens,
and it was a wonderful place, a magical place for me as a child.
And Roy was impressed with its originality...
I've never seen anything like this.
I like the image, I think it's very strong.
..but the judges felt a bit lost with the meaning behind the work.
We've all taken different readings of it
but all of us have not read it in a magical way.
It's dangerous, or threatening.
I'd like to see the series but I'm afraid, with this standalone image,
it's not quite good enough to make our exhibition.
Next up was hairdresser and gardener Sarah Pye
with her painting of a beach scene...
and Charlotte was quite taken with it.
-You love colour...
-..you can see that
and you really capture the light on the water.
The emotional impact didn't quite cut it with Roy.
I don't think I'll find anything more in it when I come back to it
and I think that's usually essential for a picture.
It's quite interesting that you should say that
because one of the things about my work, I like to think,
is that each time you look at it you will see something different.
But, unfortunately, Sarah's arguments
weren't enough to convince the judges.
The sky looks like something extra-terrestrial, to me.
For me, with reservation, it's a no.
Art student Jojo Filer-Cooper went before the judges
with her photograph of three Highland cattle.
I saw the cattle start to run through a gap in the wall and I love it
cos I've got a bit of a thing about cows.
David could see the commercial potential of the work...
This is the kind of photograph that's going to become your nest egg.
Sell it to a Scottish hotel chain and sit back and make a fortune.
..although Charlotte found the work technically good,
the cows just didn't cut the mustard for the exhibition.
It's great for what it is but I don't think it's an artwork.
Not for me, Jojo.
Architect-turned-artist, Shiri Achu, wanted £5,000
for her paint and fabric image of a pregnant woman.
I love to paint with pregnant women
because I love to portray the anticipation, or the pride...
Roy really connected with the concept...
You're creating an African heroine and I love that idea.
..while Charlotte and David, however,
disagreed on one of the criteria...
In terms of originality,
very few people, I think, paint pregnant women.
That's a really interesting area.
Is it original for me? I'm afraid it's not.
It's the kind of thing I might see
above a, sort of, brass bedstead in a furniture shop. I'm sorry.
..and, in the end, even Roy changed his tune.
You have something but not yet with this picture. No.
Fresh out of art college,
22-year-old Shan Osman was the next artist to face the judges.
She currently works part-time as a teaching assistant,
but her dream is to one day become a full-time artist.
If she manages to sell her work at our exhibition,
she wants to put the money towards having her own art studio.
I'm just happy to be here, at the end of the day,
but, obviously, if they say yes, it's going to be like a dream come true!
Shan has submitted this painting,
which she hopes will make an impact with the judges.
Welcome to the Hanging Committee.
Would you like to tell us something about your painting, please?
This piece is called Untitled 29
and it's a portrait of the little boy that I met in Mangochi,
which is the village in Africa that my nan was born in.
Whilst I was in Africa I became really fascinated with people,
and also representation...
which is why my paintings are very much about seeing,
you know, using the brush strokes to define the figure.
The reason I chose to paint this portrait of this boy,
was cos he really reminded me of my brother...
but I feel that my use of brush strokes
make the figure almost abstract.
And how much would you sell this work for?
I'd say about 280.
-Right, I think we should have a closer look at it.
It's a confident start from such a young artist
but will the painting stand up to the penetrating scrutiny
of our eagle-eyed judges?
If she manages to sell her work,
she has her heart set on having her own studio.
So she needs this to go well.
-Shan, we're just going to ask you a few questions individually.
-David, would you like to start?
29, what does that signify?
With all my portraits, I've done quite a few,
so I see them all, not as part of one work,
but, obviously, each one,
-the first one I just entitled it, Untitled One.
Yeah, and then ongoing.
This one, how long did it take you to do it? It is a quite quick exercise?
-It is a quick exercise.
-With quite a large brush, you're using?
Yeah. And I use it with just one size brush for all of them.
What strikes me about this
is that it's a very sculptural way of working.
-It is kind of an aggressive attack you've got in execution.
You're making very big, bold strikes,
defining the volume of the cranium, for example.
Again, in just so few brush strokes,
that's quite an accolade to pull that off.
It's a really credible, three-dimensional head.
Shan, so you think this portrait captures enough of the sitter
to be a portrait?
Or do you think it relies, do you think you're,
you're doing it in this way more to show off your unique style
that you've created or adopted?
No, I think that it does actually capture,
you can definitely see a likeness with the boy
but it is very much about my style, obviously.
That's, you know, I definitely wanted to have my own unique style.
Shan's painting technique
has definitely struck a chord with the judges
but is the portrait strong enough for a fine art exhibition?
I think it's not quite as precise in some areas as...others, I must say
but the fact that you've done 29 suggests to me
that you are trying desperately hard to refine your technique.
You're getting there but I've seen this kind of approach in classes
and particularly from sculptors before.
Am I emotionally involved with it? It is striking.
-There's a power to it...
..for a young artist that's rare and it's convincing.
I get the form, I understand the person.
You have a lovely confidence and an attack in your approach.
There are areas that worry me -
under the chin, those pale marks are coming too far out,
when really the chin should be in shadow,
if that's what you're going for.
MAYBE this is just good enough. Maybe it's not.
So we're going to vote now.
-Erm, we'll take, we'll just take a moment to ponder.
Right, well I think I'm going to go first.
-I've pretty much put my cards on the table already, so yes.
Shan, it's a study, it's not the finished article here. No.
It's now all down to Charlotte.
A place at our exhibition
and the chance to raise money for that studio all hang on this vote.
I want to keep looking at it. Yes.
Oh, my God, thank you! Thank you, thank you! Oh! Great!
What a result for the young art graduate.
She's earned a spot at her first London exhibition
BUT will her unique style attract a buyer?
The Mall Galleries, London.
Shan's portrait may have been one of the smallest in the room,
but it certainly wasn't going unnoticed.
And Shan was in her element as she rubbed shoulders with art dealers,
collectors and the public alike.
There's been a lot of people interested in my work, actually,
and it's really nice to hear, it's definitely boosted my confidence,
and...yeah, I've got a real buzz at the moment.
Shani, who has produced some beautiful,
sort of, enigmatic portraits using quite minimal paintbrush marks.
She has a very expressive way of treating the paint
and it's just really connected with me.
There may have been plenty of interest
but would anyone want to own the piece
and earn Shan some cash for that studio?
Any offers will be subject to a 10% commission.
Any bids were made in secret
and were only revealed after the exhibition,
when I opened the sealed envelope for the first time.
What was it like?
-It was so good, I can't even say in words.
Yeah, it was really good.
-Meet loads of people?
-So many people.
-Very influential people!
-Yeah, really, it was just so good.
I mean, just talking to, like, collectors
and people that own galleries and stuff, so it was, yeah, pretty good.
-Ooh, sounds exciting!
-Is this Mum behind you?
-How do you feel about this? Are you proud of her?
-I am so proud of her.
-She's doing really well.
-She is doing really well.
Right, how much did you want?
-300, that's different to the Hanging Committee was it?
Yeah, originally I said 280
but with obviously with the ten percent commission and stuff, yeah.
-So you want to make sure you get your cash!
Shall we find out how you got on?
-..you wanted £310 cos you want to make sure you get the exact amount of cash, right?
You got five offers.
OK, the lowest offer...
was for £200.
Then we had another offer...
-Then we had another offer...
-Granny, you're getting excited now, aren't you?
Now we're getting serious. You had a fourth offer...for £476.
-And then we had our fifth offer...
..that was for £600.
Oh! That's good!
-I've got goosebumps, I don't know about you!
-I'm so chuffed!
Your mum is dying to give you a big kiss and a cuddle, aren't you?
-Yeah, look, there you are! £600 Shan!
-Yeah, that's really good.
It's better than that, isn't it?
-What are you going to do with the money?
Well I'm saving up for my studio at the moment, so, yeah.
-Looks like that's going to probably happen!
-Yeah. Isn't that brilliant?
Big round of applause!
'What a result for the young artist -
'a bidding war for her portrait
'and a sale price of nearly double what she hoped for.
'She's definitely one to watch for the future.'
We invited artists from all over the country to send in their work
and we were overwhelmed by the response,
as artists both young and old sent in their paintings, photographs,
drawings and sculptures.
Next in was 54-year-old farmer Chris Robbins, from Cornwall.
He spent 30 years raising cattle, while also building a reputation
as an award-winning wildlife photographer.
And when ill health prompted him to retire from farming early,
Chris seized the opportunity to push his photography even further.
I gave up full-time farming because of my arthritis problem.
My goodness, so you were out and about...?
Yeah, seven days a week for 30 for years
and I thought, "Time for a change".
OK, and you have problems with your hips?
I've had nine hip operations in total.
Both my hips have been replaced now.
I'm a bit like a second-hand car -
-get one bit mended, something else breaks!
-When was your last service?
Three months ago, I had a shoulder...
The shoulder's all right?
-Yeah, I got it, I'm waiting for the other one!
-My goodness gracious!
-So where does art fit in?
-I've always been interested in wildlife,
so I do, like, wildlife photography.
If it got to the exhibition, what would it mean to you then?
Oh I'd be delighted to go to the exhibition.
It'd be quite prestigious to, you know, just to be part of.
Yeah, and if you sold?
I'm going to take my wife out for a slap-up meal...
So there's a lot at stake, mate?
-I wish you the best of luck.
-Thank you very much.
The judges are awaiting you through that door.
Thank you very much. Thank you. Bye.
'Farmer Chris may have won awards for his wildlife photography,
'but he now wants to cut it in the fine art world.'
He's submitted this photograph,
which he's hoping will impress the Hanging Committee.
Could you introduce us to your photograph please?
Yes. This is my piece of work called the Seven Sisters.
I took it during a trip to India.
This is the River Ganges, the sacred River Ganges
and it's just an incredible atmosphere
and a really special place.
How much do you charge for prints like this?
-For this size, £150.
-Thank you very much.
-We'll have a closer look.
Well, there's no doubting Chris's commitment to his work,
travelling across the globe to capture this shot
but if he wants a spot at the Mall Galleries
he still has a long way to go.
Chris, where were you when you took this photograph?
-As in, were you on a boat, were you in...
-I was crouching down,
kneeling down in the bottom of a boat.
-I was probably that above the water...
-I was going to say cos our eye line is their eye line...
-A very shallow boat...
-..and they're immersed.
..it was wet in the bottom of the boat.
So I was just kneeling in this mucky water...
-but, so I could get the shot.
-You suffered for your art!
Crouching down at the bottom of a boat
after nine hip operations is true dedication.
Have you ever sold any work to a magazine?
Countryside, Trout Fisherman,
Practical Photography, various magazines like that.
So you're a travel and documentary photographer?
No, not really, to be fair, I'm a wildlife photographer.
But my wildlife pictures,
I didn't think would fit into your competition or exhibition.
What gave you the idea that travel photography might?
I just thought that this picture, sort of,
it's almost got a Biblical feel to it.
It looks like it could have been taken 50, sorry, 500 years ago,
or whatever, 1,000...
You were lucky to get them all doing different things...
That's what I like about it...
I mean that was a real stroke of luck as you went past.
You said it's luck but a good photographer, it isn't luck.
-You can't, you can't predict that.
-..let's not undermine the fact that this was chosen out of others...
-I'm not underestimating his skill.
The decisive moment is very important in a photographer like you
because you don't get much of a chance
to get the one good shot which counts.
Well, no-one doubts Chris's abilities as a photographer
but has he made the leap to fine artist?
I would not be surprised to open National Geographic and see this.
You know, they use the best photographers in the world
-and it fits in that genre, in that kind of method of presentation.
But to make a photograph in this style, travel photograph,
transcend it into art, it has to have something more, some depth beyond that
and I feel, sadly, that's just where it's lacking.
Chris, the women are a stunning group,
you've done fantastically well.
It's a great photograph in every technical way I can think up.
You know, it's very evocative, but...sadly, it is of a type,
and the type is travel photography.
Chris, I don't think anybody could take exception to that
as anything other than a really remarkable picture.
It's a beautiful thing.
It's perfect in a Sunday supplement, which is where it should be,
so that millions can enjoy it.
And I hope that over the years
you make a vast amount of money out of it.
Some seriously high praise for Chris's work...
but it sounds like the judges have made up their minds
when it comes to a place at the exhibition.
Chris, for the reasons I've given, it's a no I'm afraid.
Chris, it's no.
And it's a regrettable no from me.
I think that's marvellous work, Chris,
but it's not for an art exhibition.
-Thank you very much for showing it to us.
Thank you very much, Chris.
It's three noes for Chris
but at least confirmation he is a world-class photographer.
-Hello again, Chris!
-..bad luck mate.
-Still have to be fish and chips, won't it now, for the wife?
It'll have to be, yeah! You're eating in for the next three weeks.
-Thanks very much, Chris.
-Lovely to meet you.
-Nice to meet you.
-A remarkable photograph.
-Brilliant, breathtaking, but no!
-Thank you! Cheers.
-Nice to meet you.
Next to face the Hanging Committee
was 39-year-old art teacher Donna McGlynn, from Edinburgh.
Donna dreams of becoming a professional artist
but with a teaching job and a two-year-old daughter to look after,
finding time to pursue her passion is almost impossible.
My opportunities to paint are quite sparse
but I try to get in as much painting as I can, when I can.
I have a husband who, when he's home, he works abroad quite a lot,
he's very good, he'll take her out, just to the park,
just so I can get on with some painting,
-which is really, it's really, really supportive.
If you got to the exhibition and you sold,
-what would you spend the money on?
-I'd really like to go back to Rome.
We went to Rome, my husband and I, last year,
it seems such a long time ago now, and it was just amazing.
It was just fabulous.
So I would like to go back and spend some more time there.
-I hope you get that trip, it'd be fantastic.
-Thank you very much.
The judges are through that door.
'Donna's clearly got her hands full -
'juggling her painting, job and family life.
'Now she's about to find out if all that juggling and struggling
'has been worth it.'
She's hoping that this oil painting, entitled Life Goes On,
will have what it takes to send her life in a new direction.
Tell us about your work.
This painting was made last November.
I don't know if you remember the really bad weather we had.
I was trapped in the house with my two-year-old daughter
and this was basically the view I had from my living room window.
I felt quite bleak at the time,
and I think I was basically projecting my own state of mind
onto the people I saw passing my living room window, so...
Donna, how much do you charge for a picture like this?
Up to £1,500.
OK. We'll take a closer look.
Donna's wet and windy painting
is now coming under some serious scrutiny.
Let's hope the bleakness doesn't rub off on the judges!
I'm looking for a rainbow here,
maybe even a pot of gold at the end of it.
If we read this as an emotional state of mind, of you at the time,
you've still got quite a lot of humour
cos the woman and the dog are quite, quite amusing.
Well, I do have quite black humour myself!
I'm quite a...
quite a pessimistic person
but I can still laugh at some of the situations I find myself in.
Well, that's a relief. The forecast may have been gloomy
but at least Charlotte has spotted some sunshine on the horizon.
I can see, when I got close,
that when the, as the lights catch the painting there,
there are two enormous human heads from a previous painting underneath
that can be seen quite clearly when you catch it in the light!
-It's the lights, I know!
-It's just one of those things
but, yeah, I think, for a picture to go into, with your name on it,
to be sold to the public,
that sort of thing shouldn't be there really,
unless you intend it to be?
No, I can see it under the lights now, how, how that must look.
Oops! That's a bit embarrassing;
Roy spotting an earlier work showing through her painting.
She looks as if she wants the ground to swallow her up.
I don't get the impression I'm looking at a painting
that's been seriously thought about before it was actually started.
Did you work very quickly on this, or did you plan it out?
I didn't do a huge amount of groundwork, I tend not to.
I do tend to work from just thumbnail drawings, compositionally,
and, really, I just wanted to get it down quickly.
On technical ability, I think there's some lovely moments in this painting,
particularly the wall and the way that you, in a very simple style,
actually capture the horrendous nature of the weather
on this particular day that you observed
but it is not a style I warm to,
I just think it could be...
..slightly more original.
A place at the exhibition would give Donna the chance to make some cash
for that romantic break with her husband in Rome...
..but I have a feeling this stormy scene hasn't blown the judges away.
No, I'm afraid.
Not quite ready yet but keep at it.
-It's a no from me too.
-OK, thank you.
-Lovely to meet you.
Three noes and it's a disappointing end to Donna's journey.
Oh! But they made some fair points.
-Constructive criticism's always good, so...
OK. Not too downhearted?
No, I'm not downhearted at all.
It's been quite a nice experience, so I'm glad I did it.
-Good. Well, commiserations this time.
-Not at all.
-Thanks for having me.
-Safe journey back to Scotland with your painting.
-All right, good luck!
-Thanks very much.
For many aspiring artists,
the Hanging Committee was the chance of a lifetime
but, unfortunately, only a select few would leave the palace
with a spot at our exhibition.
Charles Williams is a professional painter from Kent,
and he's an artist with rather impressive credentials.
He was trained at the Royal College of Art,
has published his own book on how to draw
and has exhibited his work all over the world.
So why has he entered Show Me the Monet?
'Any exposure is good for an artist.
'It's kind of what you do the thing for,
'so that other people can see your work.'
Showing anybody my work and talking to anybody about it is,
especially strangers, and especially people in the art world,
is a bit frightening.
So, yeah, I'm nervous.
I'm quite excited but mainly nervous.
And he has every reason to be nervous.
This is a HUGE risk.
If the Hanging Committee goes badly his reputation is at stake.
He's submitted this oil painting, simply entitled Girl.
Like every other artist, his work will be critiqued
by three of the best in the business.
-Welcome to the Hanging Committee.
Would you like to tell us something about your painting, please?
Well, the first thing to say about my painting is
I don't work from a photograph or, photographic or drawing reference.
Don't work from any kind of reference at all.
It's all from my imagination.
So I'm working in order to find some kind of resolution,
and something to do with the figure,
and something to do with form, and how I represent it.
Yeah. I think that's about it.
What would you value this painting at?
-£5,000. And is that based on sales of previous, similar works?
OK. Have you, so you've been selling works for quite some time?
I've been showing pretty regularly, on and off, in...
Well, in England, London, and, sort of, around the world.
-And you've shown in galleries and...?
Let me buzz in.
He is a very significant painter
and a very important officer in the New English Art Club,
which is a, itself a very important body of considerable painters.
So I think we can take it for granted that the price of his work
is based on considerable sales and is accurate.
OK, well we'll finish on that one then!
-Which brings us to looking at it more closely.
David's clearly aware of Charles's reputation...
but he's not being judged on his reputation.
If he wants a place at the exhibition,
his painting must stand on its own merit.
if somebody came up to you and said...
"That painting looked as though you'd deliberately painted that figure badly," what would you say?
Actually, you know, that's, that, it would be a very valid question.
A painting like this is, kind of,
it's the product of lots and lots of knowledge of how to draw,
and then way too much knowledge of how to draw,
and going beyond the point of caring about whether or not you know how to draw.
OK. It sounds as if Charles has painted this picture badly -
Looking at this, there's an, there's interest in the body,
I am interested in the body,
but the face, what we read as a face...
is not there.
Although there's a, kind of, hint of a nose, possibly a forehead bulge,
there is no face there.
Now it's obviously conscious but it's not.
I don't really feel it's working for me
and I wondered what your thoughts were on that.
With this painting I've, kind of, taken out
as much as I possibly could, while still retaining a figure,
while still retaining somebody, or the presence of somebody.
Why would you want to get rid of all those things that,
for the vast majority of people, make a painting interesting?
Partly to see, partly to see what there is,
partly just to see what happens when you do that.
Charles's piece is obviously experimental
and you have to wonder if he's about to lose face.
A bit like his painting!
up close and personal...
I quite like the way I can see what's changed on the picture.
Some areas are painted fat, some tin, some scratched,
some going in opposite directions, swirls here and there.
That gives it some, some depth for me.
Standing back a hundred yards,
I could live with the picture like that.
That gives me the emotional connection I need.
I'm disappointed, in a way, that it's,
it's an attempt at sophistication which is kind of elitist.
You're not giving me very much to go on.
I keep coming back, when I look at it, to the face and the head,
and so therefore I read the little green space you've left as a face,
and it's not resolved for me.
It's time for us all to give our votes.
So we'll take another few seconds to consider it.
Very mixed reactions from the judges.
I think they're questioning if they love it or hate it.
And it seems to be finally dawning on Charles
that his gamble might not pay off when it comes to the vote.
Right, voting time it is.
I like the picture on lots of levels, so for me, my vote is yes.
I just can't resolve it. I'm afraid it's a no.
It's all down to David now. He seems torn -
is it genius...or a bit mistake?
I don't like it, Charles...
..but, yes, I think we'll have it in the exhibition.
Thank you very much!
It certainly raised debate with us, didn't it?
See you at the galleries. The Mall Galleries.
-All right. Thank you.
-Thank you very much, Charles.
He's done it. The painting just scraped through,
and Charles looks a very relieved man.
The Mall Galleries, London.
Charles's painting, Girl,
took its place on the walls of our prestigious exhibition.
The room was filled with art dealers,
collectors and the general public
but would anyone take an interest in Charles's experimental work?
I love the Charles Williams piece cos the woman is...
I don't know, there's something very vulnerable about her,
and the paint disappears, and she's not this strong figure.
She kind of looks like she's possibly sitting on a toilet,
which may sound a bit random, but in that way it at least touches me.
She looks like she's pregnant but she's not.
The way she's sitting, the way it's set out, it's outstanding.
Any interested buyers could make a secret, sealed bid
to an independent agent,
who would take a 10% commission of the sale.
The results of the bidding were handed to me in a sealed envelope
and only revealed to the artist after the exhibition.
-Charles, good to see you.
-How was it for you last night?
As someone who's been to so many exhibitions, was it boring?
-It was terrific.
-Excellent, really good private view.
Met lots of interesting people, lots of galleries,
and some people I knew, some people I didn't, it was great. Good mix.
Well, we said we had it all to lose, originally,
-and you still got through to the exhibition.
-So you didn't lose at all, you gained.
Now tell me, remind me how much you wanted for this?
And I can almost hear a couple of gasps back there
but with a man of your reputation, that's what you sell it for.
Yeah, I think that's a normal price for something like that.
OK. I've got, inside this envelope, possibly an offer.
-Uh-huh. Oh, right.
-I don't know, we'll find out.
I don't know.
..you got through to our exhibition...
and you wanted £5,000 for your piece of work.
-Sadly, we didn't get any offers on the night.
It's not unexpected.
-You don't sell every time you put a show up,
so it's not the end of the world if it doesn't,
-and you kind of have to deal with not selling things.
-That's part of the deal.
-Really lovely to meet you.
-Give him a big round of applause anyway. Thank you, Charles.
'Charles may not have sold
'but the good news is that shortly afterwards
'he secured a solo show at a fine art gallery in Canterbury.'
Join us next time when more hopeful artists face the Hanging Committee.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Among those facing the judges is 22-year-old Shan from Crawley, West Sussex. She is fresh out of art college and currently working as a part-time teaching assistant. A place in the exhibition and the chance to sell her work would help Shan raise funds for a studio. But what will the judges make of her unique style and striking acrylic portrait?
Charles from Kent is already a professional painter with impressive credentials. Trained at the Royal College of Art, he has published his own book on drawing and has exhibited his work all over the world. But is Charles in danger of risking his reputation when he presents the critics with a very experimental oil painting?
Georgina, 47, an eco-artist from Cornwall, is passionate about using her art to draw attention to environmental issues. She has come to the Hanging Committee hoping for the chance to sell her work and raise money for a research trip to the North Pacific. But what will they make of her piece called Butts on the Beach made using discarded cigarette ends?