Nicholas Middleton is the John Moores Painting Prize’s Visitors’ Choice

Nicholas Middleton and his painting 'Protest, April 1st 2009' - photo by Minako Jackson
Nicholas Middleton and his painting 'Protest, April 1st 2009' - photo by Minako Jackson

This seems a very appropriate painting to win the award during this period of constant demonstrations against governments and bankers and an excellent piece it is too. There were over 6,000 votes cast by visitors to the exhibition. Note that the John Moores exhibition continues until 3 January 2011 so you still have plenty of time to see this, the judges’ choice by Keith Coventry and all the other works.

Nicholas Middleton is the winner of the John Moores Painting Prize’s Visitors’ Choice for the second time with his painting  ‘Protest, April 1st 2009’.

Nicholas scooped the £2,010 prize, sponsored by Rathbones, with a detailed photorealist depiction of the Financial Fools’ Day protest outside the Bank of England.

While the John Moores Painting Prize charts development in contemporary painting, the Visitors’ Choice appears to also reflect the mood of the public, with many voters choosing the painting not only for its technical ability but also the subject matter.

As one visitor described it:

“It captures the feelings of the nation during an important phase of our history…”

Another comments:

“He (Middleton) has taken away the decoration and concentrated on the stark financial climate we live in.”

The artist, who was also a prize winner in this year’s competition, won the Visitors’ Choice prize in 2006 with the work Scene from a Contemporary Novel. Interestingly the Visitors’ Choice prize is yet to agree with the official winner, who this year is Keith Coventry with Spectrum Jesus.

The exhibition is the UK’s biggest painting prize and has already attracted more than 37,000 visitors in only two and half months.

Nicholas Middleton says:
“Winning the Visitors’ Choice means a great deal to me. When I won the prize previously for my painting Scene From A Contemporary Novel exhibited in the John Moores in 2006, it was the first award of any kind that I’d received for my art. The fact that the award is voted for by members of the public who visit the exhibition made me appreciate it all the more. I am delighted to have won it for a second time and I’m very grateful to everyone who voted for my painting.”

Alex Richmond of Rathbones says:
“We are delighted to announce Nicholas Middleton as the 2010 John Moores Visitors’ Choice. Protest, April 1st 2009 is an impressive and skilful painting with real historical relevance.”

Nicholas Middleton was born in London in 1975. He studied at London Guildhall University 1993-94 and Winchester School of Art 1994-97. His exhibitions include ‘Defining the Times’ Milton Keynes Gallery 2000, ‘BP Portrait Award 2004’ and 2005 National Portrait Gallery London and the solo show ‘Black & White Paintings’ Arch Gallery London 2010. He was shortlisted for the BOC Emerging Artist Award in 2002 and has shown seven times in the ‘Summer Exhibition’ at the Royal Academy of Arts London. He was included in ‘John Moores 23’ 2004, and won the Visitors Choice Prize in ‘John Moores 24’ 2006.

'Protest, April 1st 2009' Detail. Nicholas Middleton
'Protest, April 1st 2009' Detail. Nicholas Middleton