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Transcript of audio commentary by Paul Morrison on 'Fontana' by Peter McDonald

Interviewer: Paul Morrison is a previous John Moores prizewinner. As one of this year's jury, here Paul provides his response to the first prizewinning painting, 'Fontana' by Peter McDonald.

Paul Morrison: I think it's a fantastically clever painting and very surprising as well. It's somehow a conflation of lots of different bizarre source material, clearly referencing the production of a Fontana type painting with a, an arm which looks as if it's come out of Alfred Hitchcock's 'Psycho', via Philip Guston or something like that and it's tremendously weird. And I think it, I'm very, very pleased it's won. I think it's one of the most inventive paintings I've seen for a while. The way that it somehow manages to also reference colour-field painting, you know and I'm forced to think of Helen Frankenthaler but maybe with an afro and a beard. It's just wild actually, so, very successful.


Interviewer: Can you explain a bit more about colour-field painting?


Paul Morrison: In as much as it references this kind of translucent layering of areas. So the way that it's painted you feel as if the, the artist's head producing this Fontana is somehow intangible or ghostly or has this weird translucency, which dematerialises the whole thing. And where the kind of head overlaps different areas it changes the hues, so the implication is that you're looking through some kind of acetate structure or something. Which is really unusual and totally unexpected. You know, to go from this kind of bizarre threatening stance of the painter in the picture to the almost grinding comedy of it, because of the way that it's executed, and then to have all this art historical referencing happening simultaneously is really fascinating and very sharp I think.