John Moores Prize 2016 @ Walker Art Gallery

Made my regular visit to Liverpool to check out the winners and the competitors for this influential prize.

The highlights for me were really not in agreement with the jury – only one of the prizewinners was in my top 5:

Selma Parlour’s One, The Side-ness of In-Out:


Loved the palette for this and the way she used two shapes in seemingly different universes.  The top shape was held in place by gravity and it was not about to budge, whilst the lower shape hovered as if ready to take flight. Combined with the blue framing device which seemed to create the illusion of a room in the top right and bottom left corners, I was happy to see this amongst the winners.





Mandy Payne was once again in the running and I adore her work.  No Ball Games Here is from her series on Park Hillin Sheffield.   Mandy uses oil and aerosol paint on concrete which gives a gritty realism to the work.  Your eye is taken along the ballustrade to the end of the passage where there is a sharp turn and we see out onto the outer building.  Someone described this as ‘Mondrian-like’ and you can see the similiarities.



A fun piece that I liked was this ‘UntitledIMG_20160808_121630303 work by Nancy Milner. The rigid horizontal lines of blocked colour contasted wonderfully with the alternate lines that positively vibrated.  Loved looking at that one!






My favourite was by Lee Marshall, entitled ‘Midnight I’.


Everything about this one resonated.  Loved the vibrancy of the red and with the blue, the sense of horror it projected was thrilling. The surrealist nature of it was also exciting.  Marshall says that there is no intended narrative,but he thought of it as “stumbling in to an artist’s studio at night, lit only by the lights from the signage on the street outside.”



I said I had a top 5 and the fifth one was disturbing but fascinating at the same time:


This is Les Non-reclames (The Unclaimed) by Steph Goodger.

Based on a photograph from the 1871 uprising in Paris, where the communards who had been killed but not identified were photographed in their coffins for indentification purposes.

I looked up the original photograph:


and could see exactly what the artist meant when she said that she was elaborating “on the staged nature of the two photographs. The ever shifting speculations about the images fuel the intrigue over the many baffling details they contain.  There is too, a general sense of emptiness, of watching people fading from the world.”

Even after all these years, you do stop and wonder about these people, who they were, what they achieved, why they believed in their cause.

A very somber and meaningful work.

Another very rewarding trip to my second home!

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