LEEDS.- Leo Fitzmaurice is the winner of the fifth annual Northern Art Prize. Judge Simon Wallis presented Fitzmaurice with a cheque for £16,500 at a prize-giving ceremony at Leeds Art Gallery attended by over 500 people from the arts, business, public and voluntary sectors on Thursday 19 January 2012. The remaining three short listed artists; Liadin Cooke, James Hugonin and Richard Rigg each walked away with £1,500.
Initially selecting the short-list and ultimately deciding the winner, this years judges are Caroline Douglas, Head of the Arts Council Collection; Tim Marlow, Writer, Broadcaster, Art Historian and Director of Exhibitions at White Cube; Simon Starling, Turner Prize winning Artist; Simon Wallis, Director at The Hepworth Wakefield with Sarah Brown, Curator of Exhibitions at Leeds Art Gallery as Chair.
In choosing Fitzmaurice as the winner, the judges commented: The strength of this years exhibition and the Prize are testament to the generosity and commitment of all the artists. However, Leos 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 Fitzmaurices fascination with relationship between graphic design, landscape and objects and their relation to language.
Each year visitors to the Northern Art Prize exhibition are encouraged to pick their winner through an online poll. Although it has no direct bearing on the judges decision, the winner of this years public vote is Richard Rigg who collected 44% of the votes. The exhibition of work from all four artists will remain on show at Leeds Art Gallery until 19 February 2012, over 50,000 visitors have already visited the show since doors opened on 25 November 2011.
The Northern Art Prize was founded in 2006 by Prize Director and Founder and Co-Director of PSL [Project Space Leeds] Pippa Hale in collaboration with design and communications agency Logistik Ltd and Leeds City Council. The Prize is supported by Marketing Leeds for the first time this year and continues to be backed by business and design consultant Arup and Doubletree by Hilton Leeds City Centre, previously Mint Hotel Leeds.