Catalyst Reviews – Liverpool Art Prize 2009

Photo by McCoy Wynne

Catalyst Reviews – Liverpool Art Prize 2009.
Liverpool Art Prize 2009
Al & Al, Terry Duffy, McCoy & Wynne, Nicki McCubbing, Richard Meaghan and Elizabeth Willow
Contemporary Urban Centre, Greenland Street (13th March – 4th May 2009)
Wed – Sat: 11.00 – 18.00, Sun: 11.00 – 16.00

Reviewed by Paul Cassidy

This year’s Liverpool Art Prize, hosted at an exceedingly well-equipped and impressive Contemporary Urban Centre, is a brilliant opportunity for a glimpse at the talent held within our city. Bursting with obscure concepts and limitless imagination, the work on show covers many disciplines. All six participating artists were nominated by public call during 2008’s Biennial and stand to win two prizes. The main prize of £2,000 is presided over by a panel of selected judges, whilst the secondary award of £1,000 is granted by the votes of visitors.

From the collective, two artists really shone for me: Elizabeth Willow and Richard Meaghan. Willow’s sculpture and installation explores longing, contradiction and impossibility. Her work perfectly communicates these interests; a small patch of flowers sprung from the damaged wooden floorboards of the gallery conjure ideas of the very natural forcing its path through the confines of the unnatural – the rose that grew from concrete, in essence. Meaghan’s work is not so delicate in approach, however. Sexually graphic at times, his painting is heavily influenced by ideas on globalisation and the seemingly uncontrollable developments of technology. A thoughtful Meaghan posed the simple (yet daunting) question of ‘Can we keep up?’ when coaxed further on the topic, his work being a viable reflection of such issues.


The exhibition should be a key event in the diary of any art fan with photography, video installation, painting, and sculpture and installation available for contemplation. The additional chance to indirectly, yet substantially, support grassroots talent through the simple ticking of a box only adds to the event’s appeal.