The prestigious £25,000 John Moores art prize 2016 has been awarded to the artist Michael Simpson for his painting ’Squint (19) ‘ 2015. It was announced at an awards ceremony at the Walker Art Gallery on 7 July 2016. The winner will be awarded the £25,000 first prize, with four shortlisted artists each receiving £2,500.
The five shortlisted artists, from which the winner will be selected, are: Talar Aghbashian (b.1981, Beirut), Gabriella Boyd (b.1988, Glasgow), Benjamin Jamie (b. 1978, Nottingham), Selma Parlour (b.1976, Johannesburg) and Michael Simpson (b.1940, Dorset).
The announcement of the first prize winner at the Walker Art Gallery (John Moores Painting Prizeexhibition space) took place on Thursday 7 July, at 1.45pm.
This year was a departure from the last few competitions showing a trend for more abstract work.
The prizewinning paintings will be displayed at the Walker Art Gallery as part of the John Moores Painting Prize exhibition, which runs from 9 July to 27 November 2016 during Liverpool Biennial 2016. The exhibition will showcase 54 works in total, which have been selected from more than 2,500 entries.
Other works worth mentioning were Bella Easton’s (Above)geometric monotone interior painting, John Stark’s ( Above) Hyper-realism landscape and Steph Goodger’s political painting depecting unclaimed bodies in coffins. (Below)
Sandra Penketh, Director of Art Galleries at National Museums Liverpool, said: “For nearly 60 years, the John Moores Painting Prize has represented the thrilling diversity and remarkable talent that is so characteristic of contemporary British painting, and this year’s vibrant and exciting mix of selected works is certainly no exception.”
Established in 1957, the internationally-renowned John Moores Painting Prize, organised in partnership with the John Moores Liverpool Exhibition Trust, has championed contemporary British painting for almost 60 years – more than two decades longer than any other art prize of its scale.
Past winners of the prize include David Hockney (1967), Mary Martin (1969), Peter Doig (1993), Keith Coventry (2010) and Sarah Pickstone (2012). Sir Peter Blake, winner of the junior prize in 1961, is Patron of the prize. The winner of the prestigious first prize in 2014 was Rose Wylie with her striking work PV Windows and Floorboards.
The entries have been judged anonymously by an esteemed panel of jury members, who represent an international cross-section of influential voices from the art world. The jury members are the artists Gillian Carnegie, Ansel Krut, Phoebe Unwin and Ding Yi, and the author and freelance curator Richard Davey.
Juror Richard Davey said: “Beyond their obvious material connection as paintings, this year’s shortlisted works may appear to have little in common: one is a geometric abstraction, three are figurative, and one hovers in a poetic space between figuration and abstraction.
“On closer inspection, however, we see that the paintings share a common ability to reveal fresh perspectives and new points of view, through the medium of paint. In doing so, they show us our reality and far more, broadening and transforming our individual outlooks.”
During the run of the John Moores Painting Prize exhibition, visitors will be invited to vote for their favourite painting to win the popular Visitors’ Choice Award, sponsored by Rathbones. The winning artist will receive £2,016.
The John Moores Painting Prize exhibition will also showcase the five prizewinning works from the John Moores Painting Prize China 2016. Now in its fourth year, the prize aims to promote talent and bring greater global recognition to Chinese contemporary painting.
The John Moores Painting Prize is organised in partnership with the John Moores Liverpool Exhibition Trust and is supported by its exhibition partner Weightmans. The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully-illustrated catalogue. All works featured in the exhibition will be available to purchase.
The exhibition is presented during Liverpool Biennial 2016, a festival of newly commissioned contemporary art from around the world. It takes place from 9 July until 16 October across the city in public spaces, galleries and online.
Winner: Michael Simpson ’Squint (19) ‘ 2015
Photos/Words: P C Robinson © artlyst 2016