When did drawing become so boring?

I managed to finally catch the Jerwood Drawing Prize before it closed and the Other Art Fair! But as a comparitive I was left feeling disappointed with the former.

Jerwood Drawing Prize – Jerwood Visual Art, Southwark, London

Every year the Jerwood Drawing Prize is a must see show for any emerging artist who loves to draw! Running since 1994 the eclectic and vast range of drawing selected always excite, provoke and inspire. But this year I didn’t experience that awe inspiring feeling, I left thinking ‘when did drawing become so boring’?

Don’t get me wrong, there was some incredible stand-alone, eye-catching pieces, from artists that were masterful in their skills and individual approach to contemporary drawing, including Gary Lawrence’s work, which as ever was a stunning and very pink architectural landscape drawing. I was also inspired by Julie Cockburns humble piece titled ‘The Mother Ship’, which was a found photograph that had been doctored with ink and embroidery. It was a very simple but delicate piece, where she had used coloured thread to follow the lines of a greenhouse. It’s the simple things!

Gary Lawrence

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But this years selection was mediocre to say the least. Selected by prominent figures in the art world, the judges were: Dexter Dalwood, artist; Salima Hashmi, artist, curator and writer; and John-Paul Stonard, art historian. I love Dalwoods painterly collages, and I can certainly see what influenced his decision in picking the artists works, but the intense colour that regularly occupies his work was lacking here.

It’s not that drawing has to be colourful and bold to make it stand out as contemporary, but the selection chosen were so similar, so familiar, that there was no focal point for discussion, therefore the show felt irrelevant.

I’m a huge fan of this exhibition; having shown my work in it twice the show has an established reputation for its commitment to championing excellence, and to promoting and celebrating the breadth of contemporary drawing practice within the UK. I hope next year doesn’t disappoint, as I need my annual fix of the Jerwood Drawing prize.

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The Other Art Fair – The Truman Brewery, Shoreditch, London

Having only shamefully been to this show twice, I was excited to see some eye-popping, juicy inspirational stuff…and it didn’t disappoint! As I walked into the entrance on the Private View I was greeted with some fancy balloons and flashing neon! From then I was hooked. 

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Now when you go to the PV you have to be prepared for the swell of people that gather, but once you barge your way through, the work on offer is amazing. Such an extensive, bold and sometimes strange range of works – it was everything I expected from a contemporary and established art fair…and more! These were some of my highlights (the storm trooper on the cross was particularly interesting to say the least). If you missed it this year, you can see all the exhibiting artists on the website.

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