Jerwood Drawing Prize 2017

Another year, another inclusive mix of contemporary, multi-disciplined drawings that form the Jerwood Drawing prize.

For me, there was a clear focus on processes and form from this year’s selected artists’ – geometric shapes and clear lines dominated the show. From the cubic, mountainous landscape made from carefully folded card, to intricate and mesmerising scratches etched into paint. The most blatant of these was the archaic and industrial drawing machine, which still held the remnants of a drawing. Many artists had translated their ideas into the purest form of drawing by focusing on movement and material, which is always a significant theme surrounding the prize. By simply going back to basics we can question what drawing is today.

David Murphy ‘ Long Ending (blue)’ – 2016

Selected from original drawings, the Jerwood Drawing Prize has established a reputation for its commitment to championing excellence, and to promoting and celebrating the breadth of contemporary drawing practice. The exhibition provides a platform to showcase the work of UK-based drawing practitioners, from student to established, and as a project helps to define a wider understanding of the role and value of drawing in creative practice


The winner this year was Gary Lawrence, who I had exhibited with previously in the Jerwood back in 2011. And who had won that year too! It always astounds me the scale of which he works at and the intricacy of his landscapes. Photos do his artworks little justice, you really do need to see this one for yourself. Working on canvas this time with felt pen and poster paint, he depicts a holiday scene from Greece titled ‘Yellow Kalymnos and Fridge Magnets’. He even highlights, in a scientific, microscopic approach details from postcards and fridge magnets. It reminds me of those children’s’ phrase books that help you learn another language. There’s always an everyday scene illustrated with areas highlighted so you can learn the words and phrases quicker. In a way, his work has done this for me. I have taken away some knowledge and insight from studying the scene he’s created.


The other winners included Ana Mendes for her video work ‘On Drawing’, with the student awards going to Jade Montserrat and Dejan Mrdja. The newly created Evelyn Williams Drawing Award for this year went to Barbara Walker. You can find out more about the winners and selectors here.

The show runs until the 22nd of October and then starts it’s tour at Norwich university of the arts. Until then there are some fantastic events to book onto and take part, including exhibition tours and the Big Draw event.

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