Devon-based artist Jacqui Hallum has been announced as the winner of the John Moores Painting Prize 2018. She will receive a £25,000 first prize, a three-month fellowship at Liverpool John Moores University, plus an ‘in-focus’ solo display at the Walker Art Gallery in 2019.

Hallum was selected for her work King and Queen of Wands, which is comprised of three loose cotton sheets which have been stained, dyed and painted with inks. It is part of a larger body of work by the artist which draws inspiration from the popular Rider-Waite tarot deck, which was originally published in 1910.

She was chosen from a shortlist that also included: Quilt by Billy Crosby; The Thunderous Silence of Your Presence by Tom Howse; GIANTS by Joseph O’Rourke and The Divide, Beyond Reasoning by Shanti Panchal. Each shortlisted artist will receive £2,500 each, while the winner of the Visitors’ Choice Award will receive £2,018.

Hallum’s work was selected by a judging panel that included the artists Monster Chetwynd, Lubaina Himid CBE, Bruce McLean and Liu Xiaodong, and curator Jenni Lomax.

Commenting on why Hallum was chosen as the winner, Lomax, said: “Amidst the passionate and heated selection process, Jacqui Hallum’s painting emerged as the clear winner. There is something about the provisional and nomadic nature of the work that makes it feel very current. At the same time, an initial sense of lightness belies historical and personal references that collapse within its folds.”

Sandra Penketh, director of Art Galleries at National Museums Liverpool, added: “Her approach to painting is very special, resulting in highly individual artworks inspired by a wonderfully diverse range of stimuli. There is something truly captivating in the way that her beautifully illustrated sheets reveal and conceal stories within their folds.”

Previous winners of the prize, which this year celebrates it 60th anniversary, include: Michael Simpson (2016), Rose Wylie (2014), Sarah Pickstone (2012), Keith Coventry (2010),  Peter Doig (1993), and David Hockney(1967). Sir Peter Blake, winner of the junior prize in 1961, is Patron of the prize.

Visitors to the ‘John Moores Painting Prize 2018’ exhibition will also be able to see paintings by past prize winner Sean Scully in ‘Sean Scully: 1970’.

The John Moores Painting Prize 2018 exhibition runs 14 July – 18 November 2018 at the Walker Art Gallery

1. Jacqui Hallum, King and Queen of Wands, 2017
2. Jacqui Hallum, King and Queen of Wands (detail), 2017

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