Celia Hart's blog about what's going on in and around her studio.
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Saturday, 10 November 2012

A review of the John Moores Painting Prize 2012

On Friday I had 45 minutes to spare before catching my train home from Liverpool, so I went to the Walker Art Gallery which is conveniently just across the road from Lime Street Station, to see the John Moores Painting Prize 2012.

You can see all the paintings online here, although I think the most interesting things about the real paintings are their size, texture and physical presence - this doesn't come across in the digital reproductions.

My notes:

Overall impression -  lots of war, violence - all feels very troubled.

The winner: Sarah Pickstone 'Stevie Smith and the willow' like an enlarged doodle. OK... ish.

Biggs & Collings 'The Greater Light' - clever in a Bridget Riley way, I like the way it's painted but is it surface pattern design rather than 'a painting' ?

Narbi Price 'Untitled Kerbstone Painting' - one of many gritty urban subjects but this one is painted with a light touch.

Dan Perfect 'Future Sun' - this is a huge painting like a grafitti wall. I liked the colours and different paints overlapping. Could look at this for a long time.

Cullinan Richards 'Collapse into Abstract' - my 2nd favourite; I like the thick cream paint on the intense black background.

James Bloomfield 'Collatoral Damage' - this was my favourite; from across the gallery it is like a black and white photo in a newspaper, probably of a middle eastern war torn town - close up it is almost random brush marks with white and grey paint on a damaged piece of plaster board. I sensed there was a seriousness about this work, it was telling a story.

Most pretentious piece: John Liversidge 'Proposal for the Jury of the John Moores Painting Prize 2012' ... in my opinion it is not clever, it's just stupid.

The Chinese work - big on technique over all else. But I did like 'Waiting' by Zheng Jiang.


Maybe I should read the artists' notes about their work and call in again next time I'm in Liverpool? Or should art be enjoyed without the need of complex explanations?

Have you been to the exhibition? and if so, what did you think of it?

Celia
x

14 comments:

  1. I've been a few times and this is just my opinion I was underwhelmed, if this was the best I'd hate to see the worst. The best part was meeting up with 2 fellow OCA students at a talk given by George Shaw one of the judges.

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    1. Interesting that you had similar feeling.

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  2. Hmm...most of it too "dark" for me. But I like Future Sun.
    As with many paintings, one really needs to see themclose-up.
    Still, that was a nice treat for me since my tram doesn't go to Lime Street!

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    1. Yes, you really do need to see these painting for real, not as reproductions.

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  3. I only wish I didn't have to cross "the pond" to attend!

    We like an artist named Thomas McKnight, we own a few of his prints, and a few years ago we had the opportunity to view his show . . . Needless to say, we liked his prints much better! However, he did have a few paintings that were nice.

    Art, to me is very personal, and I find it difficult to discuss at times, when it doesn't speak to me.

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    1. I think there are many works that people feel they have to like... and are afraid to say what they really think.

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  4. Personally, I think you should just connect with what you see, sometimes finding out some of the thoughts behind it is good, but it's all about that first impression! :)

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    1. In a way, I agree. But I also find the ideas behind a work to be interesting.

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  5. Celia, thank you for giving us a chance to see the Liverpool exhibit. I like your comments, and agree that it's not easy to really get a true idea of the paintings from the little reproductions.

    It's always better to see art "live." Sometimes the back story of a particular piece can be interesting, but I've always wanted the art to start the conversation on its own strength.

    xo

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    1. Your last paragraph puts it beautifully... thank you Frances.

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  6. Hard to judge by reproductions but I think I'm with you on this. Don't really get the winner but 'Collatoral Damage' looks good.

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    1. In this instance, the reproductions are only good for a reminder.

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  7. Well, none of them appealed to me, I like a bit of joy in my art. The artist statements always make me laugh, they are so pretentious and mean nothing at all. At least, that is my personal opinion, I don't mean to be rude and annoy people...

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    1. I think that there is an established code that the statements seem to comply to... I can see where they are coming from but the works themselves rarely live up to the 'promise'.
      As for 'joy', I can find 'joy' in paint and colour and texture, even when the 'subject' is dark or sad.
      Having said that, the overall impression of this exhibition was rather dreary and very little inspired.

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