Julian Brain, Special Relativity. © the artist
A bold and divergent shortlist of forty paintings has been announced for the UK’s largest contemporary art prize, the John Moores Contemporary Painting Prize.
Organisers of the bi-annual competition, which has become a mainstay of the Liverpool Biennial, say the forty shortlisted entries demonstrate that far from being ‘old-fashioned’, painting has absorbed the legacy of conceptual art.
The forty works, which will be shown in a major exhibition at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool from September 20 2008 to January 4 2009, were selected from a record 3,222 submissions and are supposed to represent the best of the UK’s current and future painting talent.
Alex Gene Morrison, Black Bile. © the artist
“The John Moores Contemporary Painting Prize this year provides an up to the minute report on painting today,” said Reyahn King, Director of Galleries at the Walker Art Gallery. “The record number of entries demonstrates the excitement and importance of the John Moores as Britain’s pre-eminent painting prize.”
“The judges sought to select works that most reflect contemporary practice, and the resulting selection makes clear that far from being old fashioned, an artist’s decision to paint is exciting and challenging.”
Chosen by a panel including Jake and Dinos Chapman, the selected paintings range across a variety of styles and forms - from portraiture and landscape to still lives and abstracts.
Geoff Diego Litherland, my flag is better than yours. © the artist
The subject matter also draws inspiration from a disparate range of sources including the animal kingdom (Oportuno III by Georgia Hayes) and childhood experiences (The Baptism by Neil Rumming, who once witnessed a horrendous car crash, and Nought Lovely but the sky and stars by Kit Poulson, who found what he thought was a UFO as a child).
Elsewhere in the selection is Woman surprised by a werewolf by Stuart Pearson Wright who was inspired by the film An American Werewolf in London, and Cadet Congo Ganja by Tim Bailey who draws from both Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now.
The John Moores has a good track record of picking out talented painters and over the last 50 years the competition has given prominence to artists including David Hockney and Richard Hamilton, who both went on to find fame and acclaim after winning the prize. Peter Doig described winning the John Moores in 1993 as a pivotal moment in his career.
The judging panel: art critic Sacha Craddock, artists Graham Crowley and Paul Morrison and Jake and Dinos Chapman. © NML
The judges for John Moores 25 are artists Jake & Dinos Chapman, art critic Sacha Craddock, and artists Graham Crowley and Paul Morrison, both former John Moores Prize winners.
The winner will be unveiled on September 20 at the Walker Art Gallery. The first prize is £25,000 with four runners up prizes of £2,500.