Shortlist announced for John Moores Painting Prize 2018

King and Queen of Wands, 2017, Jacqui Hallum

Winner of prize in its 60th year will follow alumni including Hockney, Doig and Wylie

The Walker Art Gallery has announced the five paintings shortlisted for the John Moores Painting Prize 2018, marking 60 years of the UK’s longest-established painting prize. One of the shortlisted paintings, selected from more than 2,700 entries, will be chosen as the overall winner of the £25,000 first prize.

The shortlisted works are among the 60 paintings to be exhibited in the John Moores Painting Prize 2018, a free exhibition that will be held at the Walker from 14 July to 18 November. The Prize is showing as part of Liverpool Biennial 2018, the largest festival of contemporary art in the UK.

The five shortlisted paintings are: Quilt by Billy Crosby; King and Queen of Wands by Jacqui Hallum; The Thunderous Silence of Your Presence by Tom Howse; GIANTS by Joseph O’Rourke and The Divide, Beyond Reasoning by Shanti Panchal.

The paintings were judged anonymously by an esteemed panel of jurors including the artists Monster Chetwynd, Lubaina Himid CBE, Bruce McLean and Liu Xiaodong, and curator Jenni Lomax. The first prize winner will join the revered John Moores Painting Prize alumni, including David Hockney, Mary Martin, Peter Doig, Keith Coventry, Sarah Pickstone and Rose Wylie among others.

Artist and juror Lubaina Himid CBE said: “One of the most striking things about this year’s John Moores Painting Prize shortlist is that all five artists are obviously deeply passionate, not only about the hard-won process of painting itself, but more importantly for me, about what a painting can do when presented in a meaningful conversation with an audience.

“We have chosen works which seem to want to engage in many different ways – sometimes challenging and provoking, sometimes so bold they almost caused us to laugh out loud. And yet in amongst these predominantly large-scale, striking works, there are still and gentle moments which seem to overwhelm us with their strength.”

Quilt, 2017, Billy Crosby

Quilt, 2017, Billy Crosby. Acrylic paint, metal paint, foam, coins and cardboard on board. 243 x 147cm. (top image)

At first glance, Quilt appears to be wooden, yet it is in fact made from woven cardboard and foam. It is reminiscent of a padded cell door. Crosby calls his painting “an anti-quilt” – the opposite of traditional quilts which are often personal, emotive items, recycled from old garments by a maker with a personal history linking them to the material. Crosby describes his approach as “weaving together differing perceptions of material and representation into a rich mush.”

Billy Crosby was born in Dumfries and Galloway and attended London College of Communication 2010-11 and Camberwell College of Arts 2013-16.

King and Queen of Wands, 2017, Jacqui Hallum. Ink on cotton. Dimensions variable.
(image top)

In her painting, Hallum draws on imagery ranging from medieval woodcuts and leaded glass windows to tarot cards and Art Nouveau children’s book illustrations. She works across a number of loose cotton sheets, staining and dying them with inks (drawing ink, graffiti ink and squid ink). The sheets move between Hallum’s studio and garden throughout this process, before they are grouped and pinned together, concealing and revealing themselves to create a multi-part work.

Jacqui Hallum was born in Wembley, London and is based in Totnes, Devon. She attended Coventry School of Art and Design 1996-9 and Slade School of Fine Art 2000-2.

The Thunderous Silence of Your Presence, 2017, Tom Howse

The Thunderous Silence of Your Presence, 2017, Tom Howse. Acrylic on flax. 220 x 351cm.

Through his painting, Howse explores our approaches towards understanding the complexities of nature, humans and the universe in which we reside. He is interested in how humans can be drawn to cosmological explanations and folklore to sooth their fear of the unknown. Realism and fantasy sit side-by-side in Howse’s painting. He describes this “dichotomy between our quest to know and our fallibility to comprehend” as a driving force in his practice.

Tom Howse was born in Chester and is based in London. He studied at Wimbledon College of Art 2008-11.

GIANTS, 2017, Joseph O’Rourke

GIANTS, 2017, Joseph O’Rourke. Oil, acrylic and spray paint on two canvases. 200.3 x 360cm.

O’Rourke painted GIANTS after returning from living in Budapest for six months. The city felt “gigantic” to the artist as a result of its geographical and historical size, from its impressive statues and monuments to its unique landscape, with the River Danube flowing through it. The title of the painting “refers not to the mythological beings but to the idea of what ‘giants’ really exist,” O’Rourke explains.

Joseph O’Rourke was born in Nottingham and studied at Manchester School of Art 2013-14 and Edinburgh College of Art 2014-17.

The Divide, Beyond Reasoning, 2017, Shanti Panchal

The Divide, Beyond Reasoning, 2017, Shanti Panchal. Watercolour on paper. 76.5 x 57.8cm.

Panchal creates his paintings slowly and meditatively, loading washes of colour onto the surface of textured paper and mixing the colours on the paper, rather than on a palette, to create a fresco-like depth and intensity. The figures in The Divide, Beyond Reasoning hold our attention with a solemn grandeur. Their surroundings are free from detail and they don’t make eye contact with each other, “suggesting a subtle tension or deep emotions beneath the surface,” according to Panchal.

Shanti Panchal was born in Mesar, Gujarat. He attended Sir JJ School of Art, Bombay and Byam Shaw School of Art, London (British Council scholarship) 1978-80.

In addition to the £25,000 first prize, four prizes of £2,500 will be awarded to the shortlisted artists. Visitors to the exhibition will also be invited to vote for their favourite painting to win the popular Visitors’ Choice Award, sponsored by Rathbones, the winner of which will receive £2,018.

In celebration of the Prize’s 60th anniversary year, an additional award will be offered to the first prize winner – a three-month fellowship at Liverpool John Moores University, together with an in-focus solo display at the Walker Art Gallery in 2019.

Five prizewinning paintings from the fifth John Moores Painting Prize China will also be displayed in the 2018 exhibition. Organised by the College of Fine Arts at Shanghai University, the China Prize was launched in 2010 to support the development of painting in China.

Visitors to the John Moores Painting Prize 2018 exhibition will be able to see paintings by past prize winner Sean Scully in Sean Scully: 1970. This free exhibition also opens on 14 July (until14 October). Widely regarded as the master of post-minimalist abstraction, Scully was a prize winner in 1972 and again in 1974, when a special fourth prize was created for him.

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 is showing as part of Liverpool Biennial 2018, taking place across the city’s public spaces, galleries and museums from 14 July to 28 October.

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