Michael Simpson’s minimalist painting Leper Squint¹ 19 (2015) wins the 2016 John Moores Painting Prize. A biennial event that has been staged at Liverpool’s Walker Art Gallery since 1957 and an event which coincides with the Liverpool Biennial. Simpon wins £25,000. He follows in the footsteps of Rose Wylie who, aged 80, won the last awarded John Moores Painting Prize in 2014.
Established in 1957, the internationally-renowned John Moores Painting Prize, is organised in partnership with the John Moores Liverpool Exhibition Trust, has championed contemporary British painting for almost 60 years. Which is more than two decades longer, than any other art prize of this scale.
The five prizewinners chosen by the jury in 2016 are:
Michael Simpson (b.1940, Dorset) awarded first prize,
Talar Aghbashian (b.1981, Beirut),
Gabriella Boyd (b.1988, Glasgow),
Benjamin Jamie (b. 1978, Nottingham),
Selma Parlour (b.1976, Johannesburg)
The judges awarded the first prize of £25,000 to Simpson and £2,500 to the other four shortlist competitors. The announcement of the first prize winner at the Walker Art Gallery (John Moores Painting Prize Exhibition Space) took place on Thursday 7 July, at 2 pm. The jury consisted of; Gillian Carnegie (artist), Richard Davey (writer and freelance curator), Ansel Krut (artist), Phoebe Unwin (artist) and Ding Yi (artist).
John Moores Painting Prize 2016
This year there was an overwhelming number over 2,500 competition entries. Which might be seen as continuing proof of the status of the Prize among British painters. Submission is open to artists working in the UK and entries are judged anonymously. Although the appearance of each exhibition changes, its principles remain the same: to support artists and to bring to Liverpool the best of contemporary painting from across the UK.
The 76-year-old Wiltshire-based artist, Michael Simpson wins of one of the UK’s most prestigious art prizes. His large scale painting, so one of the judges admits, can make you feel slightly uncomfortable. But we like to let Michael Simpson speak for himself, as he address the gathered audience after being announced as this years first prize winner. A painter indeed and yes, worth a visit indeed. The future of the arts may indeed (3x) lay in the hands of the older artists. Listen to the advocacy of Simpson on painting in our video below.
- A “leper squint” – is a medieval church window that allowed people with leprosy, and other “undesirables”, a chance to watch sermons below.