Leo Fitzmaurice wins Northern Art Prize

On Thursday 19th January TQS Magazine made a dash in the rain to Leeds Art Gallery for the announcement of the Northern Art Prize 2011/12 winner. The event was a bustling, vibrant affair, with over 500 of Leeds’ who’s who (and a few of us commoners) in attendance.

Fitzmaurice was shortlisted amongst three other artists – Liadin Cooke, a mixed media artist, who’s work included a brass pole wrapped in green wax, James Hugonin, an abstract painter who produces large scale works comprised of thousands of coloured marks over detailed grids, and Richard Rigg, an artist that manipulates everyday objects into repurposed, and often unusable objects. Rigg won the audience’s vote, securing over 40% of the votes cast on the online poll. All shortlists artists took home £1,500, with Fitzmaurice bagging the £16,500 prize money.

Fitzmaurice presented two works at the Northern Art Prize – Horizon (Leeds) (2011) which saw him collate a number of 19th and 20th Century paintings into a continuous horizon, spanning the length of one gallery space, and The Way Things Appear (2011), a simple slide show of mobile phone photographs examining patterns, moments and sequences that appear in the everyday.

The winner was announced in the Tiled Hall café at Leeds Art Gallery live on BBC’s Look North, to a lively and attentive crowd who gave a shocked Fitzmaurice a rapturous round of applause. The judged commented that Fitzmaurice’s work was “ambitious, risky and compelling” and that he “provides a fresh perspective on the traditional subject of landscape, whilst at the same time pushing the boundaries of his own practice.”

Fitzmaurice was a particular favourite for TQS, and we were very happy to see him take home the prize. The standard of talent at this year’s prize surpassed all previous years, and the exhibition is attracting large numbers – 50,000 have already visited since it’s doors opened in November.

The exhibition remains on show until the 19th February, and if you’ve not been yet, be sure to check it out soon. You can find more information on The Northern Art Prize as well as images of all the artists’ work on their website.

Photos credit of David Lindsay

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