Art This afternoon the John Moore's Painting Prize announced the shortlist of five artists who will be in the running to win the £25,000 first prize and I was invited along with proper press people, all of the artists in the show and supporters to witness the events first hand. As you can imagine I was very pleased to attend, because this is the sort of thing which has previously taken place just outside my view, literally in some cases as I watched it happen from a distance behind glass doors at previous Biennials and now here I was for the second time in my life in the same room as the DJ from Revelation of the Daleks (Alexei Sayle is presenting a documentary about the history of the prize which is due to go out in September) (here was the first).
Writing this blog opened those glass doors (thanks Laura) and as I wandered into the main exhibitions space filled with tables and paintings and podium and food I couldn't help giggling, my eyes boggling at the sheer fact of being there. It's about as you might expect, a kind of a private view with no alcohol as people huddle around the edges of the room supping orange, water and beverages glancing at the art now and then. As you can see from the illustrative image I tried desperately not to look at the paintings because I want to return and "do" the exhibition "properly" but my own glances suggest that the judges which include Tim "possibly taught me everything I know about Mondrian" Marlow, in narrowing their selection to fifty, also upped the quality of the work chosen. I'll talk some more about it in my venue review.
After a while we were asked to sit, and a kind of musical chairs ensued in which people who realised they were standing next to the seating reserved for artists and supporters rushed to the other end of the room. Settling down we quite naturally introduced ourselves to our nearest neighbours, finishing just in time for the announcements. I've included the press release at the bottom of this with further illustrative images of the paintings themselves. Trying to at least look like I knew I was doing, I scrawled the names of the winners in my moleskin notebook leading to what seemed to be the prevailing condition throughout the press in the room of not knowing whether to applaud or make a note of the winners as they're announced. In the end I managed to do a bit of both not that I can actually read my own handwriting now anyway.
Then the mad dash for the buffet tables for the very nice food on offer which for me meant scouse, a kind of unspicy puff pastry samosa and salad. Then conversation and smalltalk and all of the things that people do at events like this. Bumping into old friends, making new acquaintances. I'm a bit bolder now when handing out the ostentatious business cards I created with this blog's URL on then. If I wasn't too embarrassed to have moo.com send them, I shouldn't equally be ashamed of producing them from my wallet. Hello to you too if you're reading. Sorry if none of this is what you were expecting. Then after a raspberry tart and a lemon and poppy seed cake, some more talking and chat, I said goodbye to the people it was necessary to say goodbye to and left, giggling again as I skipped out of the building into the rain.
JOHN MOORES SHORTLIST REVEALED
Five artists in running for UK's biggest painting prize.
Five artists have made the shortlist to one of British art’s most prestigious awards.
The prizewinners of the John Moores Painting Prize 2014 are (in alphabetical order): Rae Hicks, Juliette Losq, Mandy Payne, Alessandro Raho and Rose Wylie.
The five are now in the running for the £25,000 first prize, sponsored by David M Robinson to be announced on 19 September 2014.
A major part of the Liverpool Biennial, the John Moores Painting Prize runs from 5 July to 30 November 2014. Fifty paintings (including the prizewinners) have been selected for exhibition from more than 2,500 entries.
The prizewinning works represent the nature of the John Moores to seek out the most outstanding in contemporary painting and do not conform to any particular style or theme. In fact the paintings are starkly different with only their medium in common:
Sometimes I Forget That You're Gone by Rae Hicks, a recent graduate of Goldsmiths (2012) and the youngest prizewinner (b.1988). An intriguing painting where the ‘props’ of the scene appear unassembled and awaiting their final destination.
Vinculum by Juliette Losq, winner of the Jerwood Drawing Prize in 2005. The large-scale image belies the traditional understated nature of watercolour. Built up through multiple layers the painting creates an optical illusion which immerses the viewer into its world.
Brutal by Mandy Payne is spray painted directly onto concrete. An almost symmetrical scene from Sheffield’s Park Hill, a Grade II listed 1960s council estate, currently undergoing regeneration. Payne’s rendition of one of Britain’s largest examples of Brutalist architecture deals with the human memories and history indelibly weaved into it.
Jessica by Alessandro Raho, an artist with an international reputation. A painting of the artist’s stepsister against a plain white background is typical of the way that Raho uses family and friends as models, drawing upon personal relationships to create a parallel world within his work.
PV Windows and Floorboards by 80 year old artist Rose Wylie. The lively painting features four seemingly disconnected figures. Working from direct observation and memory, her work is informed by a fascination with film and current events. Rose had a BP Spotlight exhibition at Tate Britain in May 2013.
Dubbed the 'Oscars of the painting world', the Prize, organised in partnership with the John Moores Liverpool Exhibition Trust, has been keeping its finger on the pulse of contemporary painting for almost 60 years. Past winners include David Hockney (1967), Mary Martin (1969), Peter Doig (1993) and most recently, Sarah Pickstone (2012).
The 2014 judges are Tim Marlow, Director of Artistic Programmes at the Royal Academy and artists Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, Zeng Fanzhi, Chantal Joffe and Tom Benson.
Judge Tim Marlow said: “It’s for the visitors to make their own minds up about the state of contemporary painting in Britain but based on my experience of judging the John Moores this year I’d say it was quietly confident, expansive, hard-won, self-critical, vital and engaging.”
Judge Lynette Yiadom-Boakye said: “What was wonderful was seeing the range of different approaches to painting. It was a shame to have to choose only five prize winners.”
Sandra Penketh, Director of Art Galleries said: “The quality of painting in this year’s exhibition is very exciting. We are delighted to have such a strong exhibition of 50 works which reflect the climate of contemporary British painting. Among them the judges have selected five worthy works which will challenge, delight and intrigue visitors.”
The John Moores Painting Prize is part of National Museums Liverpool's Modern Masters series, part funded by the European Union - the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
It is also supported by our exhibition partner Weightmans and sponsor Investec.
For a full list of exhibiting artists: www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/johnmoores
Twitter: @johnmoores2014 #jm2014
The John Moores Painting Prize is the subject of a BBC 4 documentary, presented by writer and comedian Alexei Sayle. The programme, which examines the history of the Prize as well as its place within contemporary art, will be aired in September.
Here are the five prize winners, make sure you check out their work on our website http://t.co/bbura3mbIY pic.twitter.com/7NPs9t0JPi
— JohnMoores2014 (@JohnMoores2014) July 4, 2014