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