Collaged graph paper, ink and pigment floated on glass, coloured masking tape, embroidered wool, and several videos, are just some of the great variety of media – as well as of course the humble pencil on paper – that make up the 73 drawings shortlisted for the prestigious Jerwood Drawing Prize, on show until 30 October at the Jerwood Space near Tate Modern.
This annual touring exhibition presents a snapshot of contemporary drawing practice in the UK, taken from more than 3,000 submissions received this year and is a chance to see drawing in its increasingly wide perspective.
Jessica Killeen and Samuel Taylor’s video Interventional Drawing documents the two artists lying on a sheet of paper marking out the distance between them in frenetic scribbles, as they explore what it means to make a collaborative drawing. Floating Creature Secret Joy 1 by Ka Wah Liu, explores the process of two elements – ink and pigment – confronting each other on the surface of glass. The result is a mysterious spontaneous configuration of marks that have a life of their own as they seem to glide in space. There are myriad processes and as many different approaches to the making the drawings on display – from geometric abstraction to observational drawing, automatic writing to drawing about the drawing process itself.
The Cut is a five-metre long pencil drawing of a journey through London’s East End along the River Lea Navigation Canal that explores its social history through stories and memories. The format of the drawing by Jessie Brennan physically evokes the idea of walking along the towpath, as the viewer traverses the length of the drawing to explore its sequence of images.
The winning work, however, is Gary Lawrence’s monumental drawing Homage to Anonymous, an immensely detailed Greek island townscape rendered meticulously in ballpoint pen, with fantastical imaginary elements and which the artist describes as ‘a tribute to all the anonymous artists through history who made work but are unrecognised’.
Whitechapel Gallery Director Iwona Blazwick was one of the three judges, along with Rachel Whiteread and Tim Marlow. She says of this year’s competition: ‘I think we will celebrate 2011 as a time of unprecedented freedom and experimentation. It is clear that the state of the art is in extremely rude health’.
Jerwood Drawing Prize 2011, Jerwood Space, London, www.jerwoodvisualarts.org,
until 30 October. The exibition tours to regional venues including Bay Art,
Cardiff, and Burton Museum & Art Gallery,