Jerwood Drawing Prize, 2016

This year’s Jerwood Drawing Prize exhibition was incredibly inspiring. I had entered myself and was able to see why my work wasn’t suitable. Seeing the choices really helped me to understand further how my own drawing work needs to be more contemporary, more challenging and this will, therefore, inform what I enter next year.

The range of work was vast – really exciting, and yet there was also the strong thread of drawing connecting them all.

Whose work did I engage with the most?

Tyler Reed – Firstly I love that this guy has only just finished his A levels! His work is mature and fresh in equal measure. The figures remind me of my own work, and yet Reed has done it much better. There is a lovely combination of line, charcoal and paint washes in ‘Modern Soul’ 2015 – something I would like to experiment further with myself having seen this piece.

Helen Thomas’s work ‘Eight Day Draw No.1’ 2016 is a reminder to me of the importance of layers and time within work. The density of the mark making bring such depth to the work – and it is this history that is sometimes visible, sometimes revealed that I need to take further into my own work. To give myself more time and space to work more deeply.

Nicola Grellier’s work – ‘Bird Girl’ 2016, ‘Girl in a Red Dress’ 2016 and ‘Show Boy’ 2016 – also interest me – there is movement and energy within her drawings and the charcoal layers/smudges again add a feeling of depth and history. I am also interested in the honest presentation of the characters, the celebration of the odd-ness of the people she is drawing.

Thomas Treherne’s ‘Man Photographing Stars’ 2015 was another piece I was interested in – it has a sense of light and hope – a slight niaevity in the way the image is presented. There is a real joy in his use of charcoal, as well as depth, history, simplicity and an expansiveness in the piece.

I came away with a real sense of the celebration of drawing having seen this exhibition and a strong desire to bring what I learnt in D1 into my current painting practice. I also want to bring my use of charcoal into my current practice more regularly as it is a medium I am most connected to and somehow I have forgotten to use it – which is definitely to the detriment of my own practice.





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