Turn Back Now – Keith Tyson at The Jerwood

A snapshot of Keith Tyler’s studio wall drawings

I never miss an opportunity to visit the Jerwood Gallery in Hastings. It has such a lovely location, down on the beach among the fisherman’s tall huts. And there are stunning views out over the working boats and fishing paraphernalia to the sea.


View from the top floor of the Jerwood Gallery to the beach


The Jerwood collection is full of surprises and the gallery attracts some excellent visiting exhibitions. For some reason I didn’t think I would be drawn to Keith Tyson’s studio wall drawings; I thought they would be too busy and in my face for me. And they are these things and also overwhelming because of the huge numbers of drawings and paintings and the way they are displayed in close grids. But they are clever and often profound and tell fascinating stories of life as understood through the mind and eyes of the artist.

The phenomenal quality and quantity of Tyson’s artistic output makes me feel like a sloth!

The studio drawings are the outcome of 20 years of painting or drawing on a large piece of paper on the wall of his studio every day in between and during other projects. The result is like a visual stream of consciousness diary. He says the drawings lie somewhere between a diary, a painting and a poem. In incredibly clever and beautifully executed work he explores ideas and thoughts. Sometimes about world events, sometimes about his emotions or response to everyday things or matters that are on his mind. Over time working on these drawings has evolved from a preparatory activity to a more expressive and essential practice. The Jerwood’s three ground floor spaces are filled with more than 300 of these works.

I just wished I lived nearer. If I did I would go back many times. They are overwhelming on mass… overwhelming and wonderful.

Tyler was born in Cumbria  and his life journey has taken him from shipyard apprentice at the age of 15, via art school and a degree from Brighton University, to Turner Prize winner in 2002.

Turn Back Now runs at The Jerwood in Hastings until 4 June 2017 so go on, take a trip to the seaside!

More information on the Jerwood Gallery website.


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