Saturday, June 23, 2018

Prizewinners: John Moores Painting Prize 2018

This is about the five artists who have all won prizes in The John Moores Painting Prize 2018.  The artist who has won the £25,000 First Prize will be announced on Thursday 12 July at The John Moores Painting Prize 2018 Exhibition at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool. Each of the other artists will win a £2,500 runner-up prize.

The John Moores Painting Prize 2018 - Prizewinners
Prizewinners - John Moores Painting Prize 2018

The artists whose paintings have won a prize - AND been shortlisted for the First Prize in the John Moores Painting Prize 2018 are - in alphabetical order:
  • Billy Crosby
  • Jacqui Hallum
  • Tom Howse
  • Joseph O'Rourke
  • Shanti Panchal
They come from the:
  • 60 artists whose work was selected for exhibition - for the 60th year of this competition - from a total of
  • 258 paintings which were anonymously shortlisted for stage 2 judging from the
  • 2,700 paintings entered for the John Moore Painting Prize 2018.
The winner of the First Prize will receive £25,000 PLUS an additional award (to mark the 60th year):
  • a three month fellowship at Liverpool John Moores University 
  • an in-focus solo display at the Walker Art Gallery in 2019.
  • In addition, the prize is NOT a purchase prize, but the Walker Art Gallery may also purchase the painting which means another 'win' for the First Prizewinner.
The other shortlisted artists will receive a prize of £2,500.

BELOW are images of the paintings and more information about the artist. Links in their names are to their websites or sites where you can find out more about the artist.

Billy Cosby

Quilt (2017)
Acrylic paint, metal paint, foam, coins and cardboard on board
243 x 147cm
copyright Billy Cosby
About Billy Crosby
  • b.1992, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland
  • Lives and works in London
  • 2016 - BA (Hons) Fine Art Painting, Camberwell College of Arts, London
  • 2016/17 - year long studio residency at Vanguard Court Studios, London
  • 2017: first solo exhibition ‘Props’ at Camberwell Space, London
  • Exhibitions (including group shows) in London and Europe
One thing is certain when you are a painter with a name like Billy Cosby - it's not going to be easy to find out anything about you online right now!  It took me 10 minutes before I found his website after using every Google search trick I know. He has my sympathies...

About his painting
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."

You can see much larger images of his painting on his website - interestingly he has opted for very large images to show what his artwork looks like up close.

I'm still trying to work out how he made it - and whether I like it! I'm very definitely curious.
  • Is the wood grain (with the interesting knots masquerading as eyes) painted or not?
  • Is the lattice work painted or not?

Jacqui Hallum

King and Queen of Wands' (2017)
Ink on cotton; Dimensions variable
copyright Jacqui Hallum

About Jacqui Hallum 

  • 1977 - born in Wembley, London
  • now based in Totnes, Devon. 
  • 1996-9 - BA Fine Art. Coventry School of Art & Design, Coventry University
  • 2000-2 - MFA Painting. Slade School of Fine Art, University of London
  • 2000-02 The Worshipful Company of Painters and Stainers, Bursary Award
  • 2000-02 Arts and Humanities Research Board (AHRB), Bursary Award
She has one of those websites which is buried on Google. Took forever to find it.

About the painting

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.
Sorry - not impressed. She draws on imagery from a number of sources to what end?  A mulit-part work about what?  Plus - given its been created in ink and only certain inks are lightfast - what's it going to look like in 10 years time?

Tom Howse

'The Thunderous Silence of Your Presence' (2017)
Acrylic on flax; 220 x 351cm
copyright Tom Howse

About Tom Howse

  • 1988 - born in Chester in 1988 
  • Lives and works in London. 
  • 2008-11 - Wimbledon College of Art / BA (Hons) Fine Art Painting
  • Exhibitions: various (mainly) group and some solo shows since 2012 in London, Croydon, Oxford, Hereford and Munich, Rome and Cologne.
The only artist whose website came top of Google when I searched.

About the painting

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.

On a personal level I rebel against paintings which neglect draughtsmanship.

Joseph O'Rourke

Giants (2017)
Oil, acrylic and spray paint on two canvases; 200.3 x 360cm
copyright Joseph O'Rourke

About Joseph O'Rourke

  • 1995 - born in Nottingham
  • 2017 - Based in Manchester from September 2017 
  • 2013-14 - studied at Manchester School of Art  
  • 2014-17 - Edinburgh College of Art BA Painting; graduated with First Class Honours in 2017. (Degree Show 2017- where Giants was first exhibited)
  • Exhibitions: a number of group exhibitions between 2014-2018; two solo exhibitions in 2017

This is his Instagram account which he uses as a diary

About the Painting

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.
I guess I'd characterise O'Rourke as being seen as the edgy recent graduate with something new to say about painting.  Not sure I quite see it the same way....

Shanti Panchal

'The Divide, Beyond Reasoning' (2017)
Watercolour on paper, 76.5 x 57.8cm
copyright Shanti Panchal

About Shanti Panchal

  • mid 1950s - Born in Mesar, a village in northern Gujarat, India
  • Lives and works in London
  • 1976 - Fellowship Sir JJ School of Art, Bombay
  • 1976-78 - Taught Sophia College Polytechnic, Bombay
  • 1978 - came to London on a on a British Council scholarship to study art
  • 1978-80 - Studied at Byam Shaw School of Art, London 
  • 1989 The Imperial War Museum commissioned his painting The Scissors, The Cotton and the Uniform
  • 1994 - Artist-in-residence, British Museum, London and Harris Museum, Preston
  • 2000 - Artist in Residence, Winsor & Newton Art Factory, London
  • 2005 - Invited to contribute in BBC series of ‘Masterpieces of the East’ with British Museum
  • 2012 - The Imperial War Museum acquired his painting The Boys Returned from Helmand 
  • 2016 Invited/elected to be an Honorary Member at the Royal Society of British Artists
  • 2017 Invited/elected as an Honorary Member at the Royal Watercolour Society 
  • 2018 - Shortlisted for the ‘Portrait Artist of the Year 2018’ by Sky Television
Exhibitions: He has exhibited widely in many solo and group exhibitions in Britain and abroad - including 'Shanti Panchal: A Personal Journey', a British Council touring exhibition in India

He has been a selected artist and won awards in many art competitions over the past four decades. These include:
  • 1987 John Moores Liverpool Exhibition 15, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool
  • 1991 BP Portrait Award, National Portrait Gallery, London
  • 1999 First Prize, Chichester Open Art Exhibition, Edes House, Chichester
  • 2001 First Prize, The Singer & Friedlander/ Sunday Times watercolour competition, London
  • The British Council Award (to exhibit work in India)
  • 2010 The Artist Prize, RWS Open Exhibition, Bankside Gallery, London
  • 2012 Second Prize, The Sunday Times watercolour competition, London
  • 2015 Ruth Borchard Self-Portrait Prize, Kings Place/Piano Nobile, London
  • 2016 Eastern Eye Award for Arts, RFH, Southbank Centre, London

This 2011 interview explains something of his very unique approach and watercolour technique. He paintings on the largest sheets (60 x 40inches) of 300lb (640gsm) Arches Acquarelle Paper) and uses a limited palette of mainly earth colours.

About the Painting

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.
There's a reason his paintings win First Prizes in Art Competitions!

I have spent much time in very many exhibitions staring closely at his paintings, trying to work how and why he is the ONLY painter I know who paints the way he does.  His paintings are always arresting - providing a still point in the midst of the storm of visual images that you find in a group exhibition. Yet often, when you study them more closely, you realise there are underlying tensions which are not at first apparent. They are very clever and very accomplished.

However I've never been any good at predicting winners of the John Moores Painting Prize. It's often the one I hate the most so I don't suppose Shanti Panchal will win this one, although in my opinion he deserves to do so.

The John Moores Painting Prize Exhibition

John Moores 2018 will be a key strand of Liverpool Biennial’s 10th international festival which launches on 14 July 2018.

The John Moores Painting Prize 2018 Exhibition will be on display at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool from Saturday 14 July to Sunday 18 November 2018.

There is also a special display celebrating 60 years of the John Moores Painting Prize, featuring prizewinning paintings from 1957 onwards.

More about the John Moores Painting Prize


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