The intricate kaleidoscopic painting has won the £2,016 prize, sponsored by Rathbones.
In total around 10,000 votes were collected for the Visitors’ Choice, with many of those who voted for Donal’s work taking the time to say what had drawn them to it:
• “I love the surreal, chaotic fantasy world created.”
• “Endless patterns, associations, re-associations, layering, suggestions all in one small, dense, mesmerising piece of work. Food for the spirit.”
• “It is alive! It moves, twisting and changing, tiny little images of almost fairytale nightmares that alter and reform as you watch. Fascinating.”
Sandra Penketh, Director of Art Galleries at National Museum Liverpool, said:
"This year the John Moores Visitors' Choice has gone to a painting of extraordinary detail.
"Donal Moloney's Cave Floor is a painting which can reveal something new over and over again. Among the myriad of shimmering colours and patterns are hidden images - flowers, rocks, rainbows, bubbles - which reward the view with their jewel-like qualities.
"We are very pleased to award Donal the 2016 Visitors’ Choice, on behalf of the John Moores Painting Prize audience, who so loved this ethereal and otherworldly painting."
Artist, Donal Moloney said:
“I am delighted to have won the 2016 John Moores Visitor's Choice award for Cave Floor. It is always eye-opening to get feedback on one's work but an acknowledgement such as this award is very humbling.
“Being part of this John Moores exhibition has been terrific, seeing my work in the company of artists I have followed for years. I'm massively grateful to all the staff at the Walker Art Gallery and to the sponsors Rathbones.”
Alex Richmond, Director at Rathbones, commented:
“Rathbones is delighted to present Donal Moloney, the winner of the Visitors’ Choice Award, with a cheque for £2016.
“We have supported this Award since 2008 and the enthusiasm of the visitors participating in this competition is always magnificent. Congratulations to Donal Moloney!”
Michael Simpson was announced the winner of the prestigious John Moores Painting Prize 2016 at the Walker Art Gallery for the opening of the Liverpool Biennial in July. Simpson (b.1940, Dorset) received the £25,000 first prize for his work, Squint (19), which is one of a continuing series of paintings by the artist.
Four other shortlisted artists each received £2,500. The prizewinning works are: Untitled by Talar Aghbashian (b.1981, Beirut), Birthyard by Gabriella Boyd (b.1988, Glasgow), Dissolver by Benjamin Jamie (b. 1978, Nottingham) and One, The Side-ness of In-Out by Selma Parlour (b.1976, Johannesburg).
The entries were judged anonymously by an esteemed panel of jury members, who represent an international cross-section of influential voices from the art world: the artists Gillian Carnegie, Ansel Krut, Phoebe Unwin and Ding Yi, and the author and freelance curator Richard Davey.
Established in 1957, the internationally-renowned John Moores Painting Prize has championed contemporary British painting for almost 60 years – more than two decades longer than any other art prize of its scale. The prize will celebrate its 60th anniversary in 2018.
Past winners of the prize include David Hockney (1967), Mary Martin (1969), Peter Doig (1993), Keith Coventry (2010) and Sarah Pickstone (2012). Sir Peter Blake, winner of the junior prize in 1961, is Patron of the prize. The winner of the prestigious first prize in 2014 was Rose Wylie with her striking work PV Windows and Floorboards.
The John Moores Painting Prize 2016 exhibition also showcases the five prizewinning works from the John Moores Painting Prize China 2016. Now in its fourth year, the prize aims to promote talent and bring greater global recognition to Chinese contemporary painting.
Organised in partnership with the John Moores Liverpool Exhibition Trust, the John Moores Painting Prize is supported by its exhibition partner Weightmans. The exhibition is accompanied by a full colour catalogue. Most works featured in the exhibition are available to purchase.
The John Moores Painting Prize 2016 exhibition is on display at the Walker Art Gallery until 27 November.
www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/johnmoores @JMPaintingPrize #jm2016
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About the Walker Art Gallery
The Walker Art Gallery has housed an internationally-renowned collection of paintings, sculpture and decorative art within its impressive, neo-classical walls for almost 140 years. From Medieval and Renaissance masterpieces to an outstanding collection of modern and contemporary works, it is one of Europe’s finest galleries. Visitors can see paintings by 17th and 18th century masters including Poussin, Rembrandt and Gainsborough, before taking in the Walker’s famed Pre-Raphaelite collection. The Impressionist works are not-to-be-missed, while some of the greatest British artists of the last century are represented in the contemporary galleries, from Lucian Freud to David Hockney. Younger visitors will love Big Art for Little Artists, a gallery designed to introduce children to art in a fun and interactive way.
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 2.8 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.