The fifth annual Northern Art Prize, worth £16,500, has been won by Merseyside-based artist Leo Fitzmaurice, it was announced at Leeds Art Gallery last night. Three remaining short listed artists; Liadin Cooke, James Hugonin and Richard Rigg each walk away with £1,500. Not bad for a Thursday night in Leeds.
In choosing Fitzmaurice as the winner, the judges commented: “The strength of this year’s exhibition and the Prize are testament to the generosity and commitment of all the artists. However, Leo’s work for the Northern Art Prize exhibition in particular is ambitious, risky and compelling. Drawing upon historic resources and current mobile phone technology, he provides a fresh perspective on the traditional subject of landscape, whilst at the same time pushing the boundaries of his own practice.”
Fitzmaurice, who lives and works in The Wirral, is known for his witty installations and sculptures. The Way Things Appear, a collection of photographs of objects and graphical elements taken in their everyday setting, is presented for the first time as a digital slide show for the Northern Art Prize exhibition. The initial piece of design, for example a sign or iron railing is captured in the photograph and then repeated or mimicked by other objects nearby or, in some other way, made strange by its situation.
Fitzmaurice also presented Horizon,(Leeds) as part of his Northern Art Prize selection, originally displayed with pieces chosen from the Grundy Art Gallery collection. For the Northern Art Prize exhibition he selected landscape paintings from the Leeds Art Gallery permanent collection creating a new piece of work by lining up the historic works to create a continuous landscape. This work continues Fitzmaurice’s fascination with relationship between graphic design, landscape and objects and their relation to language.
Northern Art Prize, 25/11/2011 – 19/02/2012, Leeds Art Gallery, The Headrow, Leeds, LS1 3AA. www.northernartprize.org.uk
Aesthetica in Print
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Photography: David Lindsay