Monday, 29 August 2016

John Moores Painting Prize at The Walker Art Gallery

Paid a visit to the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, to see the entrants in the John Moores Painting Prize 2016 exhibition. The winner was Michael Simpson with Squint(19), 2015 (below).

Here is an excerpt from his winners acceptance speech, which speaks volumes about the importance of painting as a medium in art today:-

"There's something I want to say about painting. And that is that; many people think of painting today - flat surface painting - as being sterile. And there is a great popularity for installation, video work, photography, performance and so on. Much of it is really interesting and some even profound, but for me, painting is something that endures. I have a great admiration for the nature of painting and for what it is and what it can do to people.
The limitations of painting I find quite beautiful. The idea that you can make a painting within its own boundary lines - whether it's a rectangle, a square, an ellipse, a circle or even an Egyptian painting on a wall. It has a kind of beauty and it conjures up so many human values and is diverse in the most extraordinary degree. It's a kind of magic, that you can do anything on this simple, flat surface. I think painting will endure for a very long time."

Hear, hear! The Walker has a great collection of paintings, and the John Moores Painting Prize is an important showcase of trends in contemporary painting, as well as a great opportunity to add to the Walker's own collection of modern art. If you don't agree with the winning work in the John Moores prize you can vote for your own personal favourite work of art in the competition courtesy of the Visitors Choice Award. The winner of the Visitors Choice Award recieving the most votes will get a cash prize of £2,000. I was torn between personal favourites Blue Drift by Graham Crowley, and The Playground by Julie Cockburn, below. 

The works in the permanent collection in the Walker Art Gallery continue to serve as inspiration years later, with me having visited often as a student. It is like paying a visit to old friends. The following are some of my personal favourites from their collection. 

 Samson (1887) - Solomon J Solomon

The Punishment of Lust (1891) - Giovanni Segantini

Landscape (1987) - Adrian Wisznieski

 Prince and Princess (1932) - Ben Nicholson

 Interior in Paddington (1951) - Lucien Freud

 Hermaphrodite (1963) - Allen Jones

 Open Arms - John Kirby

 Blotter (1993) - Peter Doig

Andy Warhol Text Painting (2001) - Peter Davies

John Moores Painting Prize 2016
until 27th November 
Walker Art Gallery
William Brown Street


Thursday, 25 August 2016

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Butterflies on Brick Lane

Came across this anonymous butterfly installation on Brick Lane which brightened my day.

Liked these Paul Bommer illustrated tiles as well, installed close by on Hanbury Street.

This piece of graffiti got my attention too, it is visually stunning, and beautifully painted.

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Alex Katz: Quick Light

Whilst enjoying the Serpentine pavilion and summerhouses in Kensington Gardens earlier this summer, I also popped into the Serpentine gallery to view the work of Alex Katz. Katz's exhibitions in London are always a draw for me. I posted about his last show in London in March of last year here.

This latest exhibition concerns his attempts to capture the light in landscape at different times of day as well as the change of seasons. I do like the fact that some of the paintings are very minimal in their mark-making and verge on the abstract. They are like exercises in shape and colour when reduced to the basics. I think the portraits are more successful and descriptive, though the multiple figure paintings are the weakest in the show. Wonderful though, that he is still finds the inspiration to paint at 89 years of age.

Alex Katz: Quick Light
until 11th September
Serpentine Gallery
Kensington Gardens
London, W2

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

If You Can't Stand The Heat...

From a very hot place.

"Stay close to anything that makes you glad that you're alive" - Hafiz