Turner credits bold and beautiful
The Turner Prize Jury are a powerful group. It is down to them to decide who makes it onto the nominations list. And they can put anyone forward, as long as the artist is British, or lives and works here; is under fifty years old and has taken part in an exhibition in the past year.
There is no formal nomination process, and no gallery pushing artists forward. Nothing external influences the jurors, apart from whatever they see happening in the art world.
So, in that respect, the decision is quite personal, and potentially emotional and subjective. But is it just me, or has the prize gone off the boil in the last couple of years?
It's true that audiences continue to visit the exhibition when it runs between October and the prize ceremony in December. And there also continues to be sufficient interest in the tabloids for those screeching and tedious, "but is it art?" headlines. But, recently, it has just felt a bit dull.
That's why the jurors (this year: Jonathan Jones, Guardian art critic; Mariella Frostrup, writer and broadcaster; Stephen Deuchar, Director, Tate Britain and Chair; and Dr Andrea Schlieker, Director of the Folkestone Triennial.) are important.
Even if it is subjective, they sift the wheat from the chaff for you and me. And this year, they have come up with the following: Enrico David, Roger Hiorns, Lucy Skaer and Richard Wright.
I loved Roger Hiorns' Artangel Commission in south London, in which he turned a derelict flat into a cave of sulphurous splendour.
And I look forward to what alchemy he has in store for the Tate exhibition.
No video installlations this year, which is merely coincidence rather than design, but a bit of a relief to those who hanker after the traditional arts.
Enrico David is a figurative painter, but not as you and I might recognise it - and he wouldn't want you to try and define what he does anyway.
Lucy Skaer draws, but is also a sculptor and has started doing installations. And Richard Wright is also a painter, whose sources are as varied as Medieval painting and graphics.
If there is one thing that makes all these artists stand out it is that they actually make things, and in the case of Roger Hiorns and Enrico David (the only two whose works I have seen, as opposed to just pictures) things that are beautiful to look at. This makes the exhibition at Tate Britain, in October, one we can look forward to, for the first time in years.