Before Vermeer's Clouds by Martin Greenland (born 1962)
Oil on canvas, painted in 2006
Purchased from John Moores 24 in 2006 with a donation from Lady Grantchester (No. 2006.33)
First prize, John Moores 24, 2006
The painting represents Greenland's vision of what Heaven might be like: on a human scale and with buildings and natural elements that have significance in his life. The scene, from right to left across the canvas, represents the changing seasons. It also contains a copied element - the sky from A View of Delft by the Dutch artist Jan Vermeer (1632-75). For Greenland, the act of painting and the smell of paint, plus the solitude and 'feel' of his studio, are important qualities. Nature is also a strong force in his work. He makes drawings in the open air, particularly in the Lake District where he lives, but does not refer directly to these when making his paintings. Instead, the landscapes he creates are invented. Greenland was born in Marsden, Yorkshire and studied at Nelson & Colne College, Lancashire and in Exeter
Martin Greenland on winning the John Moores:
It's like the pinnacle. I've always regarded it as the big painting prize, certainly in this country like the equivalent of the Turner Prize except it's just about painting, defiantly so. It's maintained its determination to be a painting prize and it's great that it's continued.
It's hopefully the beginning of all sorts of things, but I really don't know what. Painting-wise I will continue working with the themes that I've been working with lately.
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