Ready for the drum roll? Last night, the National Open Art Exhibition announced its winners from the 2014 competition.
First place went to Mackie, who won the £10,000 Towry Award for Best Work in 2014, for his two oil-paintings A Summertime Retreat and Autumn Rhythm.
A Scottish born artist, Mackie is a pseudonym for an artist who now lives and works in London. His winning paintings both depict caravans, one opened to reveal a cosy book-lined interior, and the other showing one of Jackson Pollock's famed drip paintings. Quiet, unassuming and rich in narrative, they are well-deserving winners.
Mark Cass also awarded two Cass Art Prizes, to Thomas Allen for his mixed media Never Never Far Away Away, and Jean-Luc Almond for his Dripping Manpainting. Both were awarded The Big Art Prize - Allen won a year's supply of art materials from Cass Art, and Almond won a commission for Cass Art and a day shadowing a professional artist.
Another 28 prizes were awarded by the competition this year, including The Ward Thomas Award for an Emerging Fine Artist to Rogan Brown, for his intricate hand-cut paper piece, and The Naylor Award to Gina Soden for her photograph of an Italian Villa.
Ronnie Wood is the patron of The National Open Art Competition, and the YBA Gavin Turk is their Vice President, though he prefers the label "Artist at large."
We caught up with Gavin to find out what he thought about this year's show.
What do you think of this year's exhibition?
I really like it! I think it's great to see it in this environment, and it's still doing that job of representing lots of different kinds of artists - from young to old, all working in really different ways. The main difficulty with this exhibition is that it has so many entries, the selection process is so tough. And because the first selection is made from slides, I think the photographic work is often championed.
Do you have any favourites this year?
I'm mesmerised by the white paper one by Rogan Brown. It's kind of bacterial, when you see it close up. It's so technical but the technique doesn't overbear it, it's still an odd, strange thing. It's beautifully made but still a bizarre piece of art! And the Sigmund Freud made out of wire by Jane McAdam Freud is pretty cool, so I'm liking the sculptural works this year.
How did you get involved with NOA?
I was on the panel a few years ago, but now I have this 'artist at large' status and I'm still involved! I think NOA has a really important place in the art calendar.
What's going on in your own practice at the moment?
This Is Not A Book About Gavin Turk is finished - it's 30 small essays by a varied selection of artists, lawyers, actors, pscyhoanalyists, a chef...it was quite an editing process! But I they were the ones that fitted well together.
The National Open Art Competition has been running for 18 years now, and this year the winning works are exhibited in London's Somerset House, before touring to the Pallant House Gallery in Chichester.
Two Visitor's Choice Awards will be awarded to the works that receive the most votes from the public at both exhibitions.
Cass Art has sponsored the three Artists in Residence with art materials: Freya Pocklington, Chloe Leaper and Rosie Emerson. You can see them making work live in the exhibition and giving artist walkarounds.
The exhibition will be showing at Somerset House until 25th October.
Read our interviews with the Artists in Residence: Freya Pocklington, Chloe Leaper and Rosie Emerson.
We also interviewed the winner Thomas Allen about his dream-like paintings here on the blog.
The Artists’ Preview of the exhibition is to be hosted by Anthony Gormley and Gavin Turk on Friday 26th September at Somerset House, with free Cass Art Prussian Green tote bags.
Keep an eye on the NOA website and enter for next year's competition.