Julian Brain Is JM25 Visitors’ Choice

Julian Brain with his painting Special Relativity. Photo by Minako Jackson

Unusual to have a press call at the Walker on a Monday morning but it was a really good morning and a pleasure to meet and interview the artist Julian Brain whose painting ‘Special Relativity’ was overwhelmingly the choice of some 3,000 visitors who cast votes at the John Moores exhibition since 20 September 2008.

Its an excellent painting and an obvious people’s favourite in my opinion compared to the the rest of the 40 artworks on show. The exhibition as a whole is good but this is, dare I say, one of the more accessible pieces. It has surreal humour (his first ambition was to write Monty Python type comedy) and pathos along with great detail and technique.

Brain was also chosen by jurors as one of four runners up in the main JM25 competition and, surprisingly, is the only self-taught artist in the entire exhibition.

The interview should be on our podcast site soon.

Special Relativity uses a surrealistic re-ordering of a domestic scene to represent the experience of adoption, and the painting has won Julian a further £2008 in the Visitors’ Choice competition, generously donated by Rathbone Investment Management to celebrate the 2008 Capital of Culture year.

Visitors to the exhibition could vote for any one of the 40 shortlisted works chosen to be in this year’s exhibition by a panel of esteemed judges consisting of artists Jake and Dinos Chapman, art critic Sacha Craddock and painters Graham Crowley and Paul Morrison.

This year the jury picked Peter McDonald’s Fontana as the £25,000 first prize-winner, and Julian Brain’s Special Relativity, Geraint Evans’ An Ornamental Hermit, Grant Foster’s Hero Worship, and Neal Jones’ Bruegel Camp were each the further prizewinners of £2,500.

Selected from over 3000 anonymous entries, the exhibition of 40 works is now on display at the WalkerArtGallery until 4 January 2009.

Also on show is John Moores Prizewinners 1957 – 2006, a display showcasing a selection of past prizewinners of Britain’s foremost painting competition. Winning artists on show include Jack Smith, David Hockney and Peter Doig.