Leo Fitzmaurice Northern Art Prize Winner


Innovative work with a Northern edge pushes artistic boundaries

The Northern Art Prize 2011 exhibition currently at the Leeds Art Gallery from 25 November 2011 to 19 February 2012 has announced the prize winner. Leo Fitzmaurice takes the fifth annual Northern Art Prize. Judge Simon Wallis presented Fitzmaurice with a cheque for £16,500 at a prize-giving ceremony at Leeds Art Gallery attended by over 500 people from the arts, business, public and voluntary sectors on Thursday 19 January 2012. The remaining three short listed artists; Liadin Cooke, James Hugonin and Richard Rigg each walked away with £1,500. Fitzmaurice, who creates new art out of old objects, from cigarette packets to 19th Century landscape paintings was selected by the jury on the 20th January. Last year’s winner Haroon Mirza went on to win a prestigious award at the Venice Biennale.

Initially selecting the short-list and ultimately deciding the winner, this year’s judges are Caroline Douglas, Head of the Arts Council Collection; Tim Marlow, Writer, Broadcaster, Art Historian and Director of Exhibitions at White Cube; Simon Starling, Turner Prize winning Artist; Simon Wallis, Director at The Hepworth Wakefield with Sarah Brown, Curator of Exhibitions at Leeds Art Gallery as Chair

In choosing Fitzmaurice as the winner, the judges commented: “The strength of this year’s exhibition and the Prize are testament to the generosity and commitment of all the artists. However, Leo’s work for the Northern Art Prize exhibition in particular is ambitious, risky and compelling. Drawing upon historic resources and current mobile phone technology, he provides a fresh perspective on the traditional subject of landscape, whilst at the same time pushing the boundaries of his own practice.”

The Northern Art Prize is an annual prize for contemporary visual artists of any age or nationality, working in any media and living in the North of England. Celebrating the quality and diversity of artists working in our region, the Northern Art Prize exhibition at Leeds Art Gallery showcases the work of the four shortlisted artists Liadin Cooke, Leo Fitzmaurice, James Hugonin and Richard Rigg.

The winning artist will be selected by this year’s judges – Caroline Douglas (Head, Arts Council Collection), Tim Marlow (Broadcaster, Art Historian and Director of Exhibitions, White Cube Gallery), Simon Starling (Artist), Simon Wallis (Director, The Hepworth Wakefield) and Sarah Brown (Curator of Exhibitions, Leeds Art Gallery) – based upon the strength of the work exhibited at Leeds Art Gallery.

The Northern Art Prize is open to professional artists of any age, working in any medium, living in the north of England (North West, North East and Yorkshire regions as defined by Arts Council England). Nominations come from arts professionals across the north, ranging from curators of public galleries and museums to directors of artist-led spaces and independent curators. They change every year to reflect the broad and varied practice of visual artists working across urban and rural communities. Each nominator puts forward two artists to the selection panel drawn from the national visual arts sector. The panel, which also changes every year, select four artists who show in a group exhibition at Leeds Art Gallery. After viewing the exhibition, the selectors choose the winning artist who is awarded £16,500, with the runners-up receiving  £1500 each.

Fitzmaurice, who lives and works in The Wirral, is known for his witty installations and sculptures. ‘The Way Things Appear’, a collection of photographs of objects and graphical elements taken in their everyday setting, is presented for the first time as a digital slide show for the Northern Art Prize exhibition. The initial piece of design, for example a sign or iron railing is captured in the photograph and then repeated or mimicked by other objects nearby or, in some other way, made strange by its situation.

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