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UK's Largest Contemporary Painting Prize Announces Shortlist Today
Julian Brain, ‘Special Relativity’.

LIVERPOOL.- The shortlist for the John Moores Contemporary Painting Prize – the UK’s largest contemporary painting competition with a first prize of £25,000 and total fund of over £35,000 - is announced today.

The forty shortlisted entries demonstrate that far from being ‘old-fashioned’, an artist’s decision to paint is exciting and challenging. The paintings have absorbed the legacy of conceptual art and incorporated it into the work; they are not in opposition to it. The works, selected from a record 3,222 submissions, represent the best of the UK’s current and future painting talent. Over the last 50 years, this biennial competition has given prominence to artists including David Hockney and Richard Hamilton, who went on to find fame and acclaim after winning the prize, and Peter Doig, who described winning the John Moores in 1993 as a pivotal moment in his career.

Reyahn King, Director of Galleries at the Walker Art Gallery comments:

“The John Moores Contemporary Painting Prize this year provides an up to the minute report on painting today. The record number of entries demonstrates the excitement and importance of the John Moores as Britain’s pre-eminent painting prize. The judges sought to select works that most reflect contemporary practice, and the resulting selection makes clear that far from being old fashioned, an artist’s decision to paint is exciting and challenging.”

Graham Crowley, artist and juror on the John Moores 25 judging panel adds:

“There’s no art for airports or corporate foyers in this show. There is a great range in subject matter and context, and an urgency to the exhibition that I hadn’t anticipated.”

This year’s impressive selection ranges from portraiture, landscape and still lives to abstracts. The subject matter draws inspiration from the animal kingdom (Oportuno III by Georgia Hayes) to childhood experiences (The Baptism by Neil Rumming, who once witnessed a horrendous car crash and Nought Lovely but the sky and stars by Kit Poulson, who found what he thought was a UFO as a child). Woman surprised by a werewolf by Stuart Pearson Wright is inspired by the film An American Werewolf in London, whilst Cadet Congo Ganja by Tim Bailey draws from both Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now. The shortlist includes previous John Moores exhibitors and first time entrants.

Now in its 50th year, this year’s biennial prize has seen the highest ever number of submissions, reflecting the continued interest in painting and the John Moores’ position as Britain’s most important painting prize.

The judges for John Moores 25 are artists Jake & Dinos Chapman, art critic Sacha Craddock, and artists Graham Crowley and Paul Morrison, both former John Moores Prize winners. Almost 100 people have sat on the judging panel over the years, including Jarvis Cocker, Germaine Greer, Sir Peter Blake and Tracey Emin.

All shortlisted entries will be shown in a major exhibition at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool from 20 September 2008 to 4 January 2009. The winner of the 25th John Moores Contemporary Painting Prize will be unveiled on September 20. The first prize is £25,000 with plus four runner up prizes of £2,500.

In celebration of Liverpool’s year as Capital of Culture, this year’s popular visitors' choice prize will be increased to £2008.

The full list of 2008’s shortlisted artists is:
1. Georgina Amos – No Place

2. Tim Bailey – Cadet Congo Ganja

3. Richard Baines – Mickey’s Trailer

4. Christopher Barrett – Pirosmani in Tbilisi

5. David Bowe – Obst & Gemuse

6. Julian Brain – Special Relativity

7. Tom Bull – Black Flag

8. Louisa Chambers – Mechanical Coat

9. Clare Chapman – Still Life, No. 2

10. Jake Clark – Cornerways

11. Sam Dargan – Middle Management Meltdown

12. Geraint Evans – An Ornamental Hermit

13. Damien Flood – Uncharted (Island II)

14. Grant Foster – Hero Worship

15. Jaime Gili – A132 (AKIKO)

16. Gabriel Hartley – Dog

17. Georgia Hayes – Oportuno 111

18. Gerard Hemsworth – Frightened Rabbit

19. Roland Hicks – Sometimes We Sense the Doubt Together

20. Ian Homerston – Four

21. Neal Jones – Bruegel Camp

22. Stephanie Kingston – 252 Solitude

23. Richard Kirwan – As Above, So Below

24. Mie Olise Kjζrgaard – Watchtower with Green Stick

25. Matthew Usmar Lauder – Untitled (Hole)

26. Geoff Diego Litherland - My Flag is Better than Yours

27. Marta Marcι – Flowing 2

28. Peter McDonald - Fontana

29. Michelle McKeown – C**t

30. Eleanor Moreton – Prince (titled)

31. Alex Gene Morrison – Black Bile

32. Kit Poulson – Nought Lovely but the Sky and Stars

33. Sista Pratesi – Black Farm II

34. Ged Quinn – There’s a House in My Ghost

35. Neil Rumming – The Baptism

36. Robert Rush – The Dream

37. Michael Stubbs – Virus Maximizer

38. Matthew Wood – S-CAT LRAB1

39. Stuart Pearson Wright – Woman Surprised by a Werewolf

40. Vicky Wright – Extraction 1

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