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.
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?