AN Aberdeenshire-based artist is launching a withering critique of the Turner Prize and its effect on contemporary art in an exhibition and book.

Currently exhibiting at the Tramway in Glasgow, the controversial prize that celebrates British artists under 50 has come under fire from artist Peter Goodfellow, who created the National Lottery's "It Could Be You" finger.

Acclaimed for his landscape paintings, the Lost Gallery founder's exhibition and book rail against the Turner Prize, which every second year is held away from its London home at Tate Britain, and some of the UK's leading conceptual artists.

His new work, Treason of the Scholars, satirises contemporary artists and accuses some of them of destroying the quality of the craft.

Treason of the Scholars targets artists such as Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin - her work My Bed was one of the most talked-about works to have been exhibited - and claims sponsors like Sir Nicholas Serota, director of the Tate galleries, have created a false economy affecting patronages.

Strathdon-based Goodfellow is backed by the historian Dr David Starkey, Roger Scruton, the philosopher, and by Duncan Macmillan, the art historian, all of whom have contributed essays for the book, also called Treason of the Scholars.

Originally from Middlesbrough, Goodfellow said: "I've spent four years creating an exhibition of work designed to shine fresh light on the insanity and absurdity of a situation which has left the quality of art in this country much diminished."

Goodfellow, who was selected to be part of the prestigious BP portrait exhibition in 2012, insists the problem is two-fold.

He said: “This scene has resulted in the modern public's alienation from contemporary art as the concept of art as a mode of communication and reflection of society has been almost lost.

"Traditional skills in the field of art have also suffered.

"Artistic craft, learning, content and judgement have each been compromised by commercialism, cynicism and politics.

“We need a revival of an art with an ambition to communicate, as profoundly and elegantly as it can, with everyone."

He said: "If Egyptian art was like holding up a mirror against the ancient world, what will a shark in a tank or a neon heart say about our society to future generations?

"The public should feel confident enough to think: 'I knew I was right not to like modern art, and now I know why'.

"I hope Treason of the Scholars will give people confidence to do this and seek out art that is of lasting quality."

He added: "Abstract art is fine, but things like exhibiting unmade beds are shocking.

"If my exhibition could in some way contribute to the decline of this post-art scene, the Turner Prize and the Royal Academy, then I will feel like it has achieved something of note.

"Turner would be turning in his grave."

A spokeswoman for Tate, which awards the Turner Prize, said she was unable to comment without details of the Goodfellow exhibition and book.

Treason of the Scholars is showing at Panter and Hall, Pall Mall, London, from October 21 to November 6.

The Turner Prize at the Tramway is running until January 2016.