John Moores Painting Prize – Oct 2016

My next outing in Liverpool took me to the Walker Art Gallery to see the John Moores Painting prize. Before looking at the painting prize exhibition I had a mandatory perusal of the permanent displays on the ground floor, a visual trip through time from classical design to designs of the near future.

I particularly like the strained expressions in old paintings where discrepancies in body proportions make for some amusing figures, much like the piture above right.


On my ascent up the rather grand staircase I was immediately confronted with ‘ZOO LOGIC’, a large, inflatable Felix the Cat. ‘ZOO LOGIC’ is one of two installation pieces in this space, both of which are the product of Turner Prize winner Mark Leckey.

Leckey’s fascination with moving image and technology are in evidence in both pieces but particularly more so with ‘FEELINTHECAT’, a two screened video piece showing the artists own transformation into Felix the Cat shown inside a dome shaped like Felix’s head.

I think of the two pieces Leckey presents here I was far keener on ‘ZOO LOGIC’ (pictured above). ‘FEELINTHECAT’ felt a bit overwhelming, the combination of unrelenting video effects and the close proximity in which character dress up comes to the edge of clown-like and the way in which they are now asscoiated serve to make the viewer feel uncomfortable. There is something almost eerie about the Felix character who, outwardly, still appears to be not from this era. ‘ZOO LOGIC’, however feels much more approachable and cartoon-like.

John Moores Painting Prize 2016

The John Moores Painting Prize is part of the Liverpool Biennial and brings together some of the best new painting in the UK. Subjects, mediums and themes covered in this years painting prize were hugely diverse but the qaulity of the work on show was of the highest standard.

First Prize went to Michael Simpson with his piece ‘Squint (19)‘.

Visitors Choice Prize went to Donal Molony with the busy piece ‘Cave Floor‘.

Other prize winners include: Talar Aghbashian, Gabriella Boyd, Benjamin Jamie and Selma Parlour.


I had two favourite pieces in the exhibition which were as follows:

Graham Crowley’s ‘Blue Drift‘ – A mesmerising and tranquil water scene where deep, steely-blue water is only broken by the brightly coloured boats that float along the mirrored water surface.

Lee Marshall ‘Midnight I‘ – This piece absolutely glows when one stands before it, the deep red glow is unlike anything I have every seen in a painting. One cannot help but feel a sense of sorrow or loss.

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Other paintings from the show can be seen in the above slideshow.

Food for Thought

Finally, on the way out of the exhibition there was a rather amusing wall, the Musuem asking visitors what question they would ask an artist. The rather amusing answers can be seen below.


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Walker Art Gallery (2016) Artists for the John Moores painting prize 2016 – Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool museums. Available at: (Accessed: 22 December 2016).

Walker Art Gallery (2016) John Moores painting prize 2016 – Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool museums. Available at: (Accessed: 22 December 2016).

Walker Art Gallery (2016) ZOO LOGIC by Mark Leckey, Felix the cat based installations – Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool museums. Available at: (Accessed: 22 December 2016).


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