First held in 1957, the John Moores Painting Prize is the UK’s best-known painting competition and is named after Sir John Moores (1896 – 1993), the founder of the prize. Sir John Moores was the owner of the Littlewoods company and a keen amateur painter, founded the competition to challenge London’s domination of the national arts scene. It was first held in 1957 and is open to anyone.
The competition culminates in an exhibition held at the Walker Art Gallery every two years, which forms a key strand of the Liverpool Biennial. The John Moores exhibition is held in partnership with the John Moores Liverpool Exhibition Trust, and although the appearance of each exhibition changes, the principles remain constant: to support artists and to bring to Liverpool the best contemporary painting from across the UK. In 2012 Sir Peter Blake became the first Patron of the prize. Find out more about his connection to the prize and watch a video of the artist in his studio. A 54-work shortlist for the John Moores Painting Prize 2016 exhibition has been announced. The pieces have been selected from more than 2,500 entries and will be showcased at the Walker Art Gallery from 9 July to 27 November 2016.“The John Moores Painting Prize is the Oscar of the British painting world” says, Sir Norman Rosenthal, curator and former exhibitions secretary at the Royal Academy. Sandra Penketh, Director of Art Galleries at National Museums Liverpool, said: “The 2016 list of exhibiting artists represents a diverse and exciting selection of paintings, and there is an especially vibrant use of colour in this year’s selection. We also see many artists addressing the topical issues facing our world today, touching on subjects such as migration. “A number of the artists represented are of a non-UK origin, bringing a strong international feel to the show. Visitors to the exhibition might also recognise works by some returning artists, including ex-juror and previous prize winner Graham Crowley, and multiple Visitors’ Choice winner, Nicholas Middleton.” Previous recipients of the prize include David Hockney and, most recently in 2014, the octogenarian painter Rose Wylie from Kent. Julian Brown describes the selected piece ‘A Fairytale of Gdansk’ in detail: ‘My mind meanders to a scene from my childhood home of a humble landscape painting made by my mother shortly after she fled Poland around the time of the Warsaw uprising. I remember observing the painting like a love letter to her past. Etched into the landscape was a world of folklore, tradition and a longing to return to land then controlled by Communist rule.
The composition of floating boats, trees and crescent moons still resonate in my subconscious as does the collection of family artefacts and brightly coloured Wycinanki paper cut-outs that hung on the surrounding walls. When I consider this I become aware that embedded deep into my psyche is not only a synthesis of western painting styles but also a continuation of a rich cultural tradition that animates this fairytale of abstract thought‘ – Julian BrownIf you’re unable to visit Liverpool to view ‘A Fairytale of Gdansk’, there is currently a wonderful piece named ‘Buccaneers’ (pictured above) on display in St James’s at 18 Piccadilly Arcade, which was purchased by Oliver Spencer. The ‘Buccaneers’ painting was selected for the Marmite Painting prize in 2012-13.
Further details on Julian Brown
Julian was born in 1974 and is from Dorset. He studied at The Royal Academy Schools 1998-01, Liverpool John Moores University 1993-96 .Selected for the Marmite Painting Prize 2013 and Emergancy5 2012. Recent shows include Contemporary British Drawing Xian Fine Art Institute China 2015, York College Gallery 2016, Mayors Parlour London 2014, St Marylebone Crypt London 2014, @paintbritain Ipswich Art School & Huddersfield Art Gallery 2014 and the Aspex Gallery Portsmouth 2010. His work is part of the Falmouth Art Gallery, Abbott Hall and the Priseman Seabrook Collections
Artist Julian Brown was a student at the Royal Academy Schools 1998-2001 and has been involved in the St James’ area ever since. It was recently announced that he has been short listed for the John Moores Painting Prize 2016.