Paul Noble, the Northumberland artist who shaped a phallic spin on Henry Moore sculptures while filling London's Gagosian Gallery with a dystopian heaven and hell as part of his imagined Nobson Newtown, has been nominated for the Turner Prize.
The playful experimentalist – a founder of the City Racing south London art space which welcomed early exhibitions by Gillian Wearing, Sarah Lucas and Fiona Banner between 1988 and 1998 – has perhaps had his seemingly limitless imagination rewarded with a place on the shortlist.
The monumental detail of his manifestations of his mind, expounded in graphite and pencil drawings of intense precision, included his Public Toilet raincloud above multiple visions of urinals, showers and waste.
Among his fellow nominees for the famously controversial annual £25,000 award, Luke Fowler continues the uncanny lineage of inventive Glaswegians making the final four.
The winner of the inaugural Derek Jarman Award in 2008, Fowler’s show at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, which was his first museum exhibition in the UK, featured the final part of a film trilogy portraying Scottish psychiatrist RD Laing.
The sound artist also presented a series of sculptural installations and photos, working with Japanese sonic inventor Toshiya Tsunoda and theatre photographer John Haynes in furthering his fascination with radical thinkers.
Spartacus Chetwynd is the artist most likely to earn the headlines. With an attitude of “unbridled enthusiasm”, she sews and dyes bespoke cloth outfits in combinations of the sublime and ridiculous, celebrating extreme human endeavour.
Creations by the London-based free spirit, who took part in the 2009 Tate Triennale, include The Lizard, The Mole and The Stick Insect. “My work is more like comedy or carnival,” she says, naming the Marx Brothers as her heroes. “It has a fun, rebellious energy.”
That could be a good – if somewhat gentle – description of Elizabeth Price’s User Group Disco, which spooked visitors to the British Art Show 7 by cramming an entirely new, rather macabre museum into each space it visited, populated by monsters to the soundtrack of Joy Division.
For her latest trick she transports viewers of her newest works, at the BALTIC in Gatehead, to the bottom of the sea, where they are immersed in a container ship through film, artefacts and archive photos.
- The winner of this year's prize will be announced at Tate Britain on December 3. The Turner Prize 2012 exhibition will be at Tate Britain from October 20 2012 – January 20 2013.