Shortlist announced for John Moores Painting Prize 2018

Article Featured Image

Winner of prize in its 60th year will follow alumni including Hockney, Doig and Wylie

The Walker Art Gallery has announced the five paintings shortlisted for the John Moores Painting Prize 2018, marking 60 years of the UK’s longest-established painting prize. One of the shortlisted paintings, selected from more than 2,700 entries, will be chosen as the overall winner of the £25,000 first prize.

The shortlisted works are among the 60 paintings to be exhibited in the John Moores Painting Prize 2018, a free exhibition that will be held at the Walker from 14 July to 18 November. The Prize is showing as part of Liverpool Biennial 2018, the largest festival of contemporary art in the UK.

The five shortlisted paintings are: Quilt by Billy Crosby; King and Queen of Wands by Jacqui Hallum; The Thunderous Silence of Your Presence by Tom Howse; GIANTS by Joseph O’Rourke and The Divide, Beyond Reasoning by Shanti Panchal.

The paintings were judged anonymously by an esteemed panel of jurors including the artists Monster Chetwynd, Lubaina Himid CBE, Bruce McLean and Liu Xiaodong, and curator Jenni Lomax. The first prize winner will join the revered John Moores Painting Prize alumni, including David Hockney, Mary Martin, Peter Doig, Keith Coventry, Sarah Pickstone and Rose Wylie among others.

Artist and juror Lubaina Himid CBE said: “One of the most striking things about this year's John Moores Painting Prize shortlist is that all five artists are obviously deeply passionate, not only about the hard-won process of painting itself, but more importantly for me, about what a painting can do when presented in a meaningful conversation with an audience.

“We have chosen works which seem to want to engage in many different ways – sometimes challenging and provoking, sometimes so bold they almost caused us to laugh out loud. And yet in amongst these predominantly large-scale, striking works, there are still and gentle moments which seem to overwhelm us with their strength.”

Quilt, 2017, Billy Crosby. Acrylic paint, metal paint, foam, coins and cardboard on board. 243 x 147cm.

At first glance, Quilt appears to be wooden, yet it is in fact made from woven cardboard and foam. It is reminiscent of a padded cell door. Crosby calls his painting “an anti-quilt” – the opposite of traditional quilts which are often personal, emotive items, recycled from old garments by a maker with a personal history linking them to the material. Crosby describes his approach as “weaving together differing perceptions of material and representation into a rich mush.”

Billy Crosby was born in Dumfries and Galloway and attended London College of Communication 2010-11 and Camberwell College of Arts 2013-16.

King and Queen of Wands, 2017, Jacqui Hallum. Ink on cotton. Dimensions variable.

In her painting, Hallum draws on imagery ranging from medieval woodcuts and leaded glass windows to tarot cards and Art Nouveau children’s book illustrations. She works across a number of loose cotton sheets, staining and dying them with inks (drawing ink, graffiti ink and squid ink). The sheets move between Hallum’s studio and garden throughout this process, before they are grouped and pinned together, concealing and revealing themselves to create a multi-part work.

Jacqui Hallum was born in Wembley, London and is based in Totnes, Devon. She attended Coventry School of Art and Design 1996-9 and Slade School of Fine Art 2000-2.

The Thunderous Silence of Your Presence, 2017, Tom Howse. Acrylic on flax. 220 x 351cm.

Through his painting, Howse explores our approaches towards understanding the complexities of nature, humans and the universe in which we reside. He is interested in how humans can be drawn to cosmological explanations and folklore to sooth their fear of the unknown. Realism and fantasy sit side-by-side in Howse’s painting. He describes this “dichotomy between our quest to know and our fallibility to comprehend” as a driving force in his practice.

Tom Howse was born in Chester and is based in London. He studied at Wimbledon College of Art 2008-11.

GIANTS, 2017, Joseph O’Rourke. Oil, acrylic and spray paint on two canvases. 200.3 x 360cm.

O’Rourke painted GIANTS after returning from living in Budapest for six months. The city felt “gigantic” to the artist as a result of its geographical and historical size, from its impressive statues and monuments to its unique landscape, with the River Danube flowing through it. The title of the painting “refers not to the mythological beings but to the idea of what ‘giants’ really exist,” O’Rourke explains.

Joseph O’Rourke was born in Nottingham and studied at Manchester School of Art 2013-14 and Edinburgh College of Art 2014-17.

The Divide, Beyond Reasoning, 2017, Shanti Panchal. Watercolour on paper. 76.5 x 57.8cm.

Panchal creates his paintings slowly and meditatively, loading washes of colour onto the surface of textured paper and mixing the colours on the paper, rather than on a palette, to create a fresco-like depth and intensity. The figures in The Divide, Beyond Reasoning hold our attention with a solemn grandeur. Their surroundings are free from detail and they don’t make eye contact with each other, “suggesting a subtle tension or deep emotions beneath the surface,” according to Panchal.

Shanti Panchal was born in Mesar, Gujarat. He attended Sir JJ School of Art, Bombay and Byam Shaw School of Art, London (British Council scholarship) 1978-80.

In addition to the £25,000 first prize, four prizes of £2,500 will be awarded to the shortlisted artists. Visitors to the exhibition will also be invited to vote for their favourite painting to win the popular Visitors’ Choice Award, sponsored by Rathbones, the winner of which will receive £2,018.

In celebration of the Prize’s 60th anniversary year, an additional award will be offered to the first prize winner – a three-month fellowship at Liverpool John Moores University, together with an in-focus solo display at the Walker Art Gallery in 2019.

Five prizewinning paintings from the fifth John Moores Painting Prize China will also be displayed in the 2018 exhibition. Organised by the College of Fine Arts at Shanghai University, the China Prize was launched in 2010 to support the development of painting in China.

Visitors to the John Moores Painting Prize 2018 exhibition will be able to see paintings by past prize winner Sean Scully in Sean Scully: 1970. This free exhibition also opens on 14 July (until 14 October). Widely regarded as the master of post-minimalist abstraction, Scully was a prize winner in 1972 and again in 1974, when a special fourth prize was created for him.

The John Moores Painting Prize is organised in partnership with the John Moores Liverpool Exhibition Trust and is supported by its exhibition partner Weightmans. The exhibition is showing as part of Liverpool Biennial 2018, taking place across the city’s public spaces, galleries and museums from 14 July to 28 October.

@JMPaintingPrize / #JM2018

Free entry
Open daily 10am-5pm
William Brown Street, Liverpool, L3 8EL

Telephone 0151 478 4199

Follow the Walker Art Gallery online:





Notes to Editors

The full list of artists selected to exhibit paintings in the John Moore Painting Prize 2018 can be viewed here.

About the John Moores Painting Prize

  • The John Moores Painting Prize is the UK's longest-established painting prize. The competition is entered and judged anonymously and open to UK-based artists working with a painted medium.
  • The prize is organised in partnership with the John Moores Liverpool Exhibition Trust and is supported by its exhibition partner Weightmans.
  • The winner of the John Moores Painting Prize 2016 was Michael Simpson. The four prize winners were Talar Aghbashian, Gabriella Boyd, Benjamin Jamie and Selma Parlour.
  • The 2016 judges were Richard Davey, writer and freelance curator, and artists Gillian Carnegie, Ansel Krut, Phoebe Unwin and Ding Yi.

About the 2018 jurors

Monster Chetwynd, an artist whose practice intertwines performance, sculpture, painting, installation and video. Her work incorporates elements of folk plays, street spectacles, popular culture and Surrealist cinema. Her performances and videos often employ troupes of performers – friends and relatives of the artist. She has performed and exhibited internationally, and was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 2012. Recent solo projects include The Green Room & Science Lab and The Panther Ejaculates, Art Basel Parcours, Basel; Uptight upright, upside down, CCA Glasgow; JABBA, I’M BACK! and Cocaine and Caviar, Bergen Assembly, Norway and Dogsy Ma Bone, Liverpool Biennial, UK.

Lubaina Himid CBE, an artist and professor of Contemporary Art at the University of Central Lancashire. She won the Turner Prize in 2017. In her artistic, academic and curatorial work, Himid brings forth and celebrates the lives and histories of people of the Black diaspora. Himid has exhibited work in a number of major institutions such as Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe; South London Gallery; Spike Island, Bristol; Modern Art Oxford and Nottingham Contemporary. Part of her celebrated installation Naming the Money can currently be seen at the Walker Art Gallery. Her work is held in several public collections, including National Museums Liverpool, Tate and the V&A.

Jenni Lomax, an independent curator, was Director of Camden Arts Centre, London, from 1990 to September 2017, where she established an influential programme of international exhibitions, artist residencies and education projects. Before this, she developed and led the Community Education and Public Programmes at the Whitechapel Art Gallery. Lomax has been involved in an advisory capacity with many arts, education and charitable organisations and has been a member of selection and judging panels for numerous awards and exhibitions including the Freelands Award, the Turner Prize, Arts Foundation Award, Jerwood Drawing Prize and the Nissan Art Prize.

Bruce McLean, a sculptor who has investigated the possibilities of sculpture over the last 50 years using a variety of mediums, including photography, impersonation, video and drawing. McLean has exhibited in many major shows including When Attitudes become Form, A New Spirit in Painting, Zeitgeist and Documenta 6, 7 and 8. He continues to question the nature of sculpture and showcased a new body of ceramic work in the exhibition Garden Ware at the V&A in 2017. McLean’s painting Oriental Garden, Kyoto won the John Moores Painting Prize in 1985.

Liu Xiaodong, a graduate of and currently professor at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing. His first solo exhibition, held in 1990, marked the beginning of a new generation of art in China, for which he is considered to be a key figure. During the same period, Xiaodong was heavily influential in China's emerging independent film scene. From 2004, he has presented his large-scale, outdoor painting projects widely at an international level.

About the Walker Art Gallery

The Walker Art Gallery houses an internationally-renowned collection of paintings, sculpture and decorative art. It is one of Europe’s finest galleries, with a collection that ranges from outstanding modern and contemporary works to Medieval and Renaissance masterpieces. Some of the greatest British artists of the last century are represented in the contemporary galleries, from Lucian Freud to David Hockney, while the Gallery’s Impressionist collection is not to be missed. Visitors can also see paintings by 17th and 18th-century masters including Poussin, Rembrandt and Gainsborough, before taking in the Walker’s famed Pre-Raphaelite collection. Younger visitors will love Big Art for Little Artists, a gallery designed to introduce children to art in a fun and interactive way. The Walker Art Gallery is an Arts Council Collection National Partner. Between April 2016 and March 2019, the Gallery will curate and host an exciting and innovative series of contemporary art exhibitions, drawn from the Arts Council Collection.

About Liverpool Biennial 2018

Beautiful world, where are you?

14 July – 28 October

Free, various venues

Liverpool Biennial is the UK biennial of contemporary art. Taking place across the city in public spaces, galleries, museums and online, the Biennial commissions artists from around the world to make and present work in the context of Liverpool. The 10th edition Beautiful world, where are you? invites artists and audiences to reflect on a world of social, political and economic turmoil. Also showing as part of Liverpool Biennial 2018 are the John Moores Painting Prize, Bloomberg New Contemporaries, and the Biennial Fringe. Founded in 1998, Liverpool Biennial has commissioned over 300 new artworks and presented work by over 450 artists from around the world.

About National Museums Liverpool

National Museums Liverpool comprises eight venues, including some of the most visited museums in England outside of London. Our collections are among the most important and varied in Europe and contain everything from Impressionist paintings and rare beetles to a lifejacket from the Titanic. We attract more than 3.3 million visitors every year. Our venues are the Museum of Liverpool, World Museum, the Walker Art Gallery, Merseyside Maritime Museum, International Slavery Museum, Border Force National Museum, Sudley House and the Lady Lever Art Gallery. National Museums Liverpool is regulated by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). Museums and galleries regulated by DCMS are exempt charities under Schedule 3 of the Charities Act 2011. Registered Office: World Museum, William Brown Street, Liverpool L3 8EN.

About Weightmans

Weightmans is a top 45 law firm with over 1,400 people across offices in Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leicester and London. Weightmans is dedicated to providing results for its clients and success for its people.

About Rathbones

Established in 1742, Rathbones Brothers PLC is one of the UK’s largest and longest established wealth management firms. Rathbones is renowned for offering each of its clients a bespoke, personal service and for providing high-quality, personalised investment and wealth management services for private clients, charities and trustees. Its services include discretionary investment management, unit trusts, financial planning, unitised portfolio services, and UK trust, legal, estate and tax advice.