Visit to Jerwood Space for the Jerwood Drawing Prize

jerwood-prizeLast week was the last opportunity to see the work of the finalists for the Jerwood Prize at the Jerwood Space in London. I wanted to see the show as a means of keeping in touch with contemporary drawing and also for inspiration as I am still trying to decide which option to move forward with in Part 5 of my OCA Drawing One course.

So, I did a quick dash to Union Street last Thursday and I’m glad I made the effort. I’m still undecided about Part 5 but the visit has helped to broaden my thinking about drawing in terms of techniques, viewpoints, subjects, paper, creating texture and the experimental use of materials.

The Jerwood Drawing Prize, now in its 20th year, is the largest and longest running annual open exhibition for drawing in the UK. It is a joint initiative, led by Professor Anita Taylor, Dean of Bath School of Art and Design at Bath Spa University and supported by Jerwood Charitable Foundation. The selection panel changes each year, and the resulting exhibitions reflect the differing interests of each panel. This year’s shortlist included 51 drawings by 46 practitioners selected from 3,234 submitted works.

Surprising winner

First Prize was awarded to Alison Carlier for a short audio work entitled Adjectives, lines and marks in which she describes as “An open-ended audio drawing, a spoken description of an unknown object”. This is the first time a sound piece has been a Jerwood Drawing Prize winner. Listen to an extract on SoundCloud

Strangely enough it works… Carlier describes the lines and colours and shapes of an object using the very same observation skills that we employ when we draw with pencil and paper creating a parallel that makes sense.

Finalists’ catalogue

A PDF of the 70 page catalogue is here: jerwood-prize-finalists-catalogue. Well worth a skim through if you have time.

Drawings that caught my attention 

I was interested to see a huge variety of styles from the finalists,  from drawings that consist of a very simple lines to incredibly complex and detailed work as well as other works that push at the boundary between drawing and painting (is there one?)

Heap – Hugh Gillan   – an atmospheric landscape scene drawn with charcoal on gesso. The texture, created by sanding away at the gesso gives an interesting additional dimension.

Hannah Downing – Vertical Panorama Oak Tree – a long scroll of incredibly detailed, highly realistic drawing of the trunk and branches of an oak tree. It looks photographic, you have to get up  close to see the graphite pencil marks.

Katie Solohub – Quantum Life, Charcoal on paper. I  love the the way simple marks of varying depth and intensity have made a drawing of a table and chair so compelling.

Zoe Maslen – The Absents Presence, Hair Drawing  – Pencil drawing on Fabriano paper. Simple lines creating an amazingly complex and intriguing image that you can get quite lost in.

Alzbeta Jeresova, Position XVI, graphite on paper – The most amazing mark making made even more beautiful and intriguing with sweeping diagonal marks across the image. The counter / cubicle  with its translucent quality frames the picture, abstracting it ever so slightly.  As the artist says, the work “explores the “transient space between public and private space”. Yes, it does exactly that. This would have been my first prize winner without a doubt!


Michael Ditchburn, Abstract carpet – drawing with printer ink, what an interesting idea. The ragged lines are so effective.

Jessie Brennan Apostelstraat 20, graphite on paper – amazingly detailed view of an ornate ceiling reflected in an upside down mirror. The unusual perspective grabbed me.

While this exhibition is no longer on at the Jerwood Space it is travelling around the country until June 2015 (see catalogue above for dates and venues).

Incredibly varied with plenty of surprises!

Jerwood Drawing Prize web page




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