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John Moores Painting Prize winner revealed

Artist Graham Crowley has won this year’s John Moores Painting Prize with his work Light Industry – and on his 10th time in the prestigious competition.

Speaking after his name was announced in a ceremony at the Walker Art Gallery, the Suffolk-based 73-year-old artist, teacher, writer and filmmaker, revealed he had first exhibited in the competition in 1976, and had been shortlisted on three occasions.

He added: “I said to my wife before I left, whatever happens, this is my last time!

“My ultimate ambition is to be respected and loved, and respected and loved as a painter.

“The John Moores has been a major part of my life. Although I’ve done lots of stuff, I’ll be honest with you, it’s this moment that matters more than anything else.”

Light Industry was inspired by the workshop of Suffolk-based veteran, vintage and classic motorbike dealer Andy Tiernan and by Crowley’s own passion for building vintage custom motorbikes.

The artist studied at St Martin’s and the Royal College of Art, and his work has been shown extensively in Britain and Europe and hangs in public collections including the V&A, Imperial War Museum, Art Gallery of South Australia and the National Museum of Poland in Gdansk.

He previously exhibited in the John Moores Painting Prize in 1976, 1980, 1983, 1985, 1987, 1993, 2004, 2006 and 2016.

Above: A slideshow of some of the paintings in the 2023 exhibition. Top: Winner Grham Crowley with his work Light Industry

He was also involved in the British Painting show at the Walker in 2015, and in Public View at the Bluecoat in 2017.

As this year’s first prize winner receives £25,000 and the chance to hold a future solo display at the Walker Art Gallery, where the John Moores exhibition is staged. His winning artwork will also be acquired for the Walker collection.

The other shortlisted artists were Nicholas Baldion, Emily Kraus, Damian Taylor and Francisco Valdes who each receive £2,500, while there is also a Visitors’ Choice Award – with the winner voted on from the 70 paintings in the full exhibition – sponsored by Rathbones and which is this year is worth £2,023.

Meanwhile Emma Roche was awarded the inaugural Lady Grantchester Prize for her knitted acrylic work Hurl. The prize is for recent graduates, those who are within five years of graduation, or students who are currently in their final year of a UK-based arts-related course.

Above: Emma Roche won the Lady Grantchester Prize

The John Moores Painting Prize was founded in 1957 and has awarded more than £685,000 in prize money across 31 exhibitions, which have showcased more than 2,350 works of art. It presents a rich history of post-war painting in Britain. The first exhibition was held only six years after the Walker Art Gallery re-opened following the Second World War. 

Past prize winners include David Hockney (1967), Mary Martin (1969), Peter Doig (1993), Keith Coventry (2010), Rose Wylie (2014), Jacqui Hallum (2018) and most recently Kathryn Maple (2020). Patron Sir Peter Blake, won the competition’s Junior Prize in 1961.

In a message read out at the prize ceremony, the 91-year-old said: “I won the John Moores Junior Prize when I was 29 and it had a huge effect on my career.”

The John Moores Painting Prize exhibition is at the Walker Art Gallery until February 25 2024.

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