During a visit to Sluice Art Fair last year, I was given a copy of the catalogue for the Marmite Prize 2010 by one of the guys from Studio 1.1. I realise now that I must have dropped it into a drawer in the studio as soon as I got back, and only came across it again this morning. I recall being very pleased to have been given it, because a quick flick through at the time revealed a lot of promise. I have been going back through it this morning, and that promise was fulfilled. There is some wonderful work in there.
From time to time someone regurgitates the dull 'painting is dead'. If ever a truly great painter said that - and then never painted again - we might sit up and take notice, but it has always (as far as I know, but not that I care to look into it) been a declaration by someone who can't paint. There is enough newness, variety and excitement in this one collection of work to refute that dull-ism about the demise of painting. In my view there only ever needs to be one exceptional new work to show that painting remains vital.
The Marmite Prize doesn't have a big pile of cash on offer. It is no less credible - if not actually more credible - for that.
The 2012 Marmite Prize is due to open for submissions in Spring 2012