Thursday, March 04, 2021

Kathryn Maple wins £25,000 John Moores Painting Prize

Many congratulations to Kathryn Maple who has been awarded the First Prize of £25,000 in the John Moores Painting Prize 2020 competition.

The Common, 2020
Acrylic on canvas, 222 x 246 cm
Kathryn Maple

I'm pleased that her painting won. I've been saying for a very long time that it is a great pity that almost all painters totally ignore the scope for adding people in groups into paintings. 

View of all the shortlisted artists with Kathryn Maple in the centre

The John Moores Painting Competition - held on a biennial basis at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool - is an extremely prestigious competition and previous winners of the John Moores Painting Prize have included artists such as
I haven't always liked all the choices made by the varying Judging Panels in recent years - but knew as soon as I saw Kathryn's painting of "The Common" in the Virtual Tour of the Exhibition that it had an excellent chance of winning first prize.

The Common in the exhibition at the Walker Art Gallery
The Common evokes the quiet moments of urban mundanity, where observed and imagined worlds cross paths. Kathryn describes it as a ‘...meeting place, an intersection, people seemingly aware of each other, but minds elsewhere – all sharing an open space...’. Kathryn’s work frequently returns to ideas around these ‘resting places within a city’, where nature is seen and celebrated.

You can watch the announcement of the award, which happened this afternoon, in this video - which also includes:
  • comments by the Judges on every painting and why they shortlisted it - something of particular interest to anybody wanting to submit work for the next competition in 2022. Of Kathryn Maple's paintings they said that it resonated
"perhaps because it depicts the very thing we are currently unable to share: the painting resonates with movement and communality, and embodies the deeply social nature of humans,"
  • the faces of all five artists as they wait for the announcement of who has won
  • the very sneaky way that they announced who had won with none of the usual - "and the winner is" followed by a long pause - as it was obvious!

The Common will now join the permanent collection of the Walker Art Gallery, and will be among 67 entries on display when it is able to reopen.

About Kathryn Maple

I first met Kathryn Maple at the Sunday Times Watercolour Competition in 2014 - when she won first prize. (see my blog post Kathryn Maple wins Sunday Times Watercolour Competition 2014)

Winner of the Sunday Times Watercolour Competition 2014
Fatboys Diner (88cm x 64cm )
by Kathryn Maple

She won the SRWC first prize AGAIN in 2016 with another watercolour painting of her trip to India. (see my blog post Kathryn Maple wins Sunday Times Watercolour Competition for second time)

Winner of the Sunday Times Watercolour Competition 2016
Sandy Shoes by Kathryn Maple
110cmx92cm, watercolour

Kathryn in fact has a fantastic track record in art competitions due I am sure to her unique style and approach to both drawing and painting. She moved from painting mainly in watercolour in recent years and to painting in acrylic as she began submitting entries to other art competitions. For example this is not her first time in this competition having been selected for an exhibition in the John Moores Painting Prize 2018. She's also exhibited in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, Lynn Painter Stainers and ING Discerning Eye.She's also now painting a lot larger - and it does help to get you noticed!

There are some echoes of other painters (Doig being the most obvious) but her style is her own and it has continued to progress since I've been following her after that win in 2014

My personal preference is for her watercolour paintings which I feel are a lot more unique - in terms of perspective, technique and "feel" - than anything anybody else is painting.

Kathryn Maple was born in Canterbury, Kent and studied art at the Royal Drawing School London (2013-14) and University of Brighton (2008-11).

You can follow her on: Instagram

Other Prizes

The other four shortlisted artists Robbie Bushe, Michele Fletcher, Steph Goodger and Stephen Lee (see their profiles in my post about the shortlist below) won a prize of £2,500 each.

Kiki Xuebing Wang won the John Moores Painting Prize first ever Emerging Artist Prize, for her painting ‘Untitled (Loafer)’.



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