And so, it’s off. The Biennial kicks off tomorrow. We’re not going to rush things. We’re going to take our time. Because what, exactly, is the rush anyway?
In the meantime, the UK’s premier painting prize, the £25,000 John Moores prize, is open for business at the Walker. And the shortlist has been announced.
Vinculum by Juliette Losq, winner of the Jerwood Drawing Prize in 2005, is a super-realist stunner. A large-scale watercolour image, it’s built up through multiple layers, and creates a dizzying, vertiginous immersion into a scrubby yard in the process of being reclaimed by nature. It’s a virtuoso display of technique, but perhaps a little too painterly for the prize.
This year’s judges are Tim Marlow, Director of Artistic Programmes at the Royal Academy and artists Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, Zeng Fanzhi, Chantal Joffe and Tom Benson.
“It’s for the visitors to make their own minds up about the state of contemporary painting in Britain,” says Marlow, “but based on my experience of judging the John Moores this year I’d say it was quietly confident, expansive, hard-won, self-critical, vital and engaging.” That’s enough adjectives to see us through to winter, then.
The John Moores Painting Prize is the subject of a BBC 4 documentary, presented by writer and comedian Alexei Sayle. The programme, which examines the history of the Prize as well as its place within contemporary art, will be aired in September.
Don’t like these? Don’t fret, there are 40-odd more to see at this year’s show: one of the best in recent years, in our opinion.
John Moores Prize
Walker Art Gallery
5 July to 30 November
(as part of Liverpool Biennial)