Curious Gallery Winter 2014-15 show
THINKING / DRAWING
Is there still a place for drawing as a tool for thought
in our digital age?
Saturday 6 December 2014 until Friday 6 February 2015
An exhibition of over 40 drawings by artists who use drawing as a tool for thought and an aid to the creative process.
For this exhibition, the 27 window panes of the gallery are transformed into picture frames displaying sketches, diagrams and working drawings.
There are pictures of the drawings on our Facebook page:
Read an independent review here:
James Abell / Judith Alder / Ursula Antesberger / Gwen Bajon / Alexandra Carambellas / Meriel Clarke / Michaela D'Agati / Nikki Davidson-Bowman / Holly Duce / Lorraine Fossi / Stephanie Grainger / Sharon Haward / Paulo Henrique / Cat Ingrams / David Jones / Heather Martin / Mike Newman / Suzanne O'Haire / Oliver Palmer / Candida Powell-Williams / Angela Rogers / Tom Sander / Claire Shoosmith / Patricia Thornton / Alexandra Valy / Ruth Watkins / Jonathan Wright
James studied at Edinburgh College of Art gaining a BA (Hons) degree in Interior Design in 1999. Since then he has produced 3D graphics for many clients including engineering companies, particularly in the renewable sector. James has also made two short 3D films: ‘Ant Colony 5′ – which was shortlisted in a Tango and Channel 4 competition, and ‘Structures Like the Leaves’ – which appeared in a Channel 4 film festival ‘Rolling Stock’.
James Abell has a constant drive to learn, question and evolve his creativity through life experience and art experimentation – both with tools of the hand and tools of the mind.
"Digital tools while good, are not as direct as drawing. A sketchbook and pen do not require a large studio, they do not crash or run out of batteries – it is a direct application of material with your hand. You can combine traditional drawing with digital. Traditional drawing helps me to think with clarity and freshness."
The drawings exhibited are concept sketches working out composition for 3D graphics mixed with traditional drawing.
Judith Alder has worked as an artist and exhibited her work widely for more than 15 years, taking part in and organising a range of independent, commissioned and curated projects mostly in the UK. Judith also run Blue Monkey Network, an artists' network based at Towner, Eastbourne, organising professional development and networking events for artists and she is a Visiting Lecturer for the University of Brighton
"Drawing happens in lots of different ways within my work and at all stages of it. I draw to think or to work things out and I think while I draw. I rarely draw to depict a reality; more often I try to record or develop an idea, or I take something real as a starting point and explore what happens if I look at it in a different way, hoping that through drawing a change will happen and the drawing will become something new and surprising. Sometimes the drawings are the work, at other times they are a by-product of it; sometimes they are messy and crude, at other times they are precise and careful; often they are in biro or marker pen, on paper, in books, on walls."
Ursula Antesberger is an artist and psychoanalyst who lives and works in Switzerland. She was born and raised in post-WW2-Germany, her origins and the time in which she grew up have formed her artistic practise. The notions of loss, destruction and re-creation, the visible and the invisible run through her work.
Ursula studied art in various places, e.g. M-Art Zurich, F&F Schule für Kunst und Mediendesign Zürich, Camberwell College of Arts London (Summer School), Akademie für Malerei Berlin.
Taking extensive walks through cities such as London’s suburbs and Berlin Ursula registers and documents through sketching impressions such as walls covered with graffiti, peeling paint, cracks and torn and fading posters. As much these impressions reveal the obvious passage of time and decay, they also express her personal investigation namely 'marks' imbedded in our subconscious existence, irregularly exposed through tiny 'slits'.
The drawings exhibited are sketches for large drawings on paper.
Gwen Bajon is a multidisciplinary artist working between South Africa, England and Germany. Her practice is defined by an ongoing exploration of objects and images as carriers of culture, history and experience.
"I use consecutive sketchbook-diaries in my practice. I always carry one and I always use vellum paper and a 4-colour 'Bic' biro. Drawing a thought creates a complete imprint in my mind – when I see one of my drawings I immediately travel back into the moment it was made."
Working within the media of photography, drawing, collage and installations, Alexandra Carambellas focuses on the juxtapositions and contradictions of urban existence.
Having studied at Central St. Martin’s College London and Middlesex University (BFA Hons) Alexandra Carambellas now lives and works in Zurich, Switzerland. Parallel to her artistic practice, she has been working since 2004 at the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK) for the PhD Scenography and the MAS Spatial Design programmes during which she has managed and run various workshops and events including this year’s ZHdK’s collateral event at the Architecture Biennale 2014 “Z-Club – On Money, Space, Post-Industrialisation and….”. Since August 2014 Alexandra Carambellas runs the Master of Advanced Studies programme Spatial Design as co-leader together with the course director Eberhard Tröger.
"The techniques I apply in my art practice are photography, drawing, printmaking and (video-) installation. In addition to using drawing as a tool for sketching out ideas for video installations, I often combine drawing with photographs by scribbling and drawing directly onto them, transforming and distorting the depicted subjects, space and narrative. The immediate act of mark-making enables my thoughts to flow and allows room for experimentation and hence a less predictable outcome which I favour and seek in my work."
The drawing exhibited sketches ideas for a video-installation which has been realised.
Meriel Clarke is a third year Sculpture student at Brighton University. In her work she aims to bridge the gap between the physical and the subconscious by evoking memories shared through common experiences and associations. Meriel Clarke chooses materials for their familiarity and their tactile and aesthetic appeal, triggering senses such as smell or the desire to touch and by incorporating modest everyday substances such as jelly and brown packaging paper into my work.
"Drawing is integral to my practice. I use it as a tool, enabling me to take intangible thoughts and visualize them, and to work through ideas before moving on to a 3D form. I created the ‘Jelly Arrangements’ drawings to help with a series of sculptures I am making where different arrangements of coloured jelly are composed within a space, for example a cube. Marker pen is ideal for this as it demonstrates a similar build up of layer and colour to jelly, allowing me to view compositions and select which I will take forward and make in 3D."
Michaela D'Agati is a recent BA (Hons) fine art graduate from Norwich University of the Arts currently living and working in Cambridgeshire. With the ongoing development of her practice, drawing has always been the inherent activity and thinking through making the prevalent methodology. Her work is installation-based, site relative, and highly curatorial. Michaela D'Agati regularly works in steel and plaster using processes of welding and casting creating works that are three-dimensional and play on a sensitive awareness of space.
"Drawing is the medium of my thought; its what excites me, aids me to understand, articulate, problem solve, it helps me fail, helps me succeed, comprehend, put into perspective, be certain, be uncertain. It’s so deep rooted in my thought process that almost every activity and approach is imbued with it. The process and physical engagement, the coalescing of thought and action is bound up in the senses encompassing more than just sight/vision. A spatial and haptic thing, the relation to it as activity is one involving all the senses; it becomes a drawing because I approached it as one."
A multi media artist, Nikki Davidson-Bowman's practice evolves through playful experimentation, collecting, cutting, making, analysing, laughing, destroying, remaking, measuring, reanalysing, thinking and removing. It is obsessive, meticulous and laborious. The work considers an ambiguous relationship with storytelling and the autobiographical, challenging what its fact and what is fiction, trying to provide some order out of chaos, be that externally or within.
"As a conceptual artist I usually use traditional drawing to try and visualise the ideas in my head to work out either how different pieces of work could be presented in a space or to plan out structures for work. I like to use a pen that means I just go with the line and cannot remove or amend it and usually annotate the sketches in some way. Where dimensions are critical to a piece being installed, I have recently started to use Adobe Illustrator to draw out ideas as scaled drawings."
Holly Duce is currently in her final year studying BA sculpture at Brighton University. Her work explores how we absorb time and place; this is particularly within the natural landscape. She is interested in why we engage with certain aspects of a place or why we may be drawn towards a singular object.
In the studio Holly Duce uses drawing, photography and objects to regain /recreate a sense of place through engagement with materiality and process.
"I am able to realize sculptural/spatial ideas through drawing. It enables me to consider things such as geology and site in a form that is immediate; one image rarely takes me more than ten minutes. I feel that the more instantaneous they are the more successful. I often use heavy materials such as oil pastels, enamels and varnishes. These tend to ‘sit’ on the paper creating physical layers and textures. Drawing for me derives from memories of a certain aspect of a place or time, it is very unusual that I will draw directly from an image or object."
Lorraine Fossi was born in Paris, studied Architecture at the Beaux-Arts and graduated in 1987. Since 2000 she has been based in London, originally as an architect and currently as a professional painter. She is currently undertaking a MA research degree in Fine Art at City & Guilds in London in which she explores the painting world and the link it might create between the real and the unreal.
"In approaching painting, I draw a few lines on the neutral surface with a spatial intention, juxtaposing scribbles and words written with pencils. Along the marks I have drawn and the ones I imagine, I am holding the logic of the eye’s movement within the surface. I draw to think, feel and hear the unknown... it is a language and an activity."
"When I made ‘Sketch for Ocean Lobby’ I was looking for a formal answer. The drawing activity has helped me to think through and achieve a large painting of the same name. "
Stephanie Grainger trained as an actor and then as a teacher. She went on to work in drama schools, where she designed sets and costumes. She then moved on to working more closely with actor training at University level. Later in her career, she became an academic manager and now she is focusing once again on her own creative work, this time on visual art. Stephanie Grainger's interests lie in the crossovers between theatre, narrative, animation and drawing. She has recently completed a foundation art course at Sussex Downs College and is a member of the Blue Monkey Artists Network.
"Drawing is a tool for thinking and helps me explain my ideas quickly to others. I use diagrams, floor plans, and designs to create the image and style of the artefact and at the same time consider the actual process of making. Drawing the object or parts of the object you're making allows you think about the structure and mechanics of the making process. You shape and outline how the thing will actually work, balance, move or take stress and of course how it will look. Visual appearance and pragmatics are inextricably linked; drawing helps find those links."
Sharon Haward studied Fine Art at Newcastle University (BA) and Digital Media Arts at University of Brighton (MA). Over the past ten years she has collaborated with artists and curators from Europe and UK on a range of projects including installations, projections and interventions in a number of abandoned, empty and public spaces and buildings in UK, Belgium and France.
Much of Sharon Haward's practice is based on the use of different combinations of objects, structures and digital media to create installations and interventions created in response to a range of venues and sites.
"I use drawing as a tool for thinking about things, thinking about words and where words might lead me, other people's words, links between words and images; the words lead to diagrams, sketches and drawings. I use drawing as a way of planning how things might be, how they might fit together and work and how they can say something else about what is imagined, seen, read or written."
Paulo Henrique is a Portuguese choreographer and multimedia performance artist. As a choreographer, he has created a number of performance and installation works, integrating different media such as video, sound, text, voice, and visaul arts. He has been awarded grants / fellowships from Gulbenkian Foundation / Luso-American Foundation / Centro Nacional Cultura for artistic research at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute, The Trisha Brown Dance Company and Film & Video Arts in New York. He had participated in projects of Meredith Monk, Lidia Martinez, Robert Flynt and Eva Mueller. Recent residency: Arte Total.
"When creating, the use of drawing have been always the best companion. I can put in perspective ideas in easy way to confront and share, to re-draw, to change and evaluate during time process. I like the uncertain territory as between the idea and the drawing a new cartography is created. It helps to better understand the work and in a way obliges me to (des)construct the thought in a perfect dialogue between the mind and the paper and never in definitive way."
Cat Ingrams's first degree was in Philosophy after which she worked in Barcelona for several years as an English teacher and translator. In 1998 she returned to the UK to study Foundation in Art and then Fine Art Sculpture, graduating from the University of Brighton in 2003. Later that year she got together with three of her fellow graduates to start Blue Monkey Studio in Eastbourne, which is still a thriving artists’ workshop today.
"Once the ideas for a piece of work have evolved from mere fragments of thought into at least a vague visual image, I use drawing to pull that blurry notion closer to reality by exploring the practicalities of how to ‘make it so’. Often it is the drawing that shows me what I really want to make and the mental space of drawing is very conducive to articulating some of the ‘why’…or indeed, ‘what else’ the work is about – something I’m not really conscious of until the drawing, the extraction, has begun."
David Jones studied design at Salisbury College of Art and later studied Fine art at The City Lit, London. He has exhibited in London and in 2014 his work was selected for the East Sussex Open at Towner, Eastbourne.
"Although most of my work is 3 dimensional, drawing is central to my practice. Drawing, for me, is a way in which I can explore ideas and concepts. It enables me to tentatively touch the 3rd dimension and has the means to be both spontaneous and reflective, enabling me to fine tune my intentions."
Heather Fiona Martin is a multi-media artist living and working in South East London. She graduated with a BA in Textiles from Goldsmiths College in 2002. She works in print, stitch and felt, sometimes in isolation and often incorporates remnants of materials from her everyday life into her work. A key theme in her work remains human behaviour, particularly loss and emotional separation. In parallel to her personal practice, as a community artist, Heather Martin facilitates a wide range of public art with local communities and schools across London. She is currently installing a large suspended sculpture in the new Parkview Centre for health and wellbeing in White City.
"Just as the title to a work of art can provide a way in, a bridge to what a work is about, I find placing pen or pencil to paper forms a pathway between a thought, an internal vision perhaps something I want to make, or get someone to make for me or position in a space. So drawing is a way for me to start to explore and explain an idea first to myself and then to others. Often when working things out, I use layout paper, tracing off areas from one drawing to another. Refining and transforming as I go creating a series with which I communicate. Through which I physically see if the thought works."
Mike Newman is an artist living and working from Eastbourne and currently work as an Art technician for the Towner and other galleries. I enjoy creativity in many formats and enjoy playing with the function of art.
"Drawing is something I do daily and is a way for me to clarify ideas. I mostly use line to draw out plans and find using paper and digital media as a way of developing ideas. If an idea remains as a thought it tends to either disperse or morph into something new. So drawing helps to set an idea from which to work. Drawings are steps from one to another."
After a time of success earlier in her practice, Suzanne O'Haire became disillusioned by commercial galleries. Immersed within her role as an art lecturer, she continued her practice behind closed doors. Years after first studying (Camberwell College, BA Illustration) Suzanne O'Haire returned to re-establish her practice (MA Visual Arts). This experience resulted in a need for change... Three years on, it’s falling into place. Suzanne O'Haire's practice, multidisciplinary, is activated through a series of seemingly banal, repetitive or labour intensive processes intent on elevating an object's status from the discarded, useless, mundane or unseen to that which is once again purposeful and newly provocative.
"It is never an intention for my drawings to be seen... until now that is. It’s the process of how I figure it all out, activating a dialogue through which things come to a fore, link together, mean something, say something. These drawings dealt with a ritual of collecting [lost] hair-grips (which informed a piece shown in Towner’s East Sussex Open 2014). Whether a couple of hours, large-scale, on a flattened cardboard box or a brief ballpoint sketch on a till receipt they all matter. For me, drawing cross-examines, plans, visualises and, most importantly, keeps my mind filtered and ticking over."
Oliver Palmer lives and works in London where he recently finished an MFA in Fine Art at Goldsmiths, University of London. His practice predominantly manifests itself in the form of sculptural installations. These works often deal with issues inherited from the history of abstraction and have also developed from an interest in maps, graphs and economic data. Although he develops the vast majority of these and other projects through drawings and writings in his sketchbooks he rarely exhibits drawings and has never before exhibited content from his sketchbooks.
"I use drawing as the starting point for many of my projects (which usually manifest as sculptural installations). When imagining a space - a corner, for example - I might draw three simple isometric lines and then build further geometric shapes and forms into that imagined space. The importance of drawing for my practice extends beyond the page; a number of my installations have utilised tape: I have used this minimally three-dimensional material to draw lines on to and colour in sections of floors and walls. Drawing is an essential tool for imagining alternative configurations that these materials might produce."
Since graduating from the Royal College of Art in 2011, Candida Powell-Williams has had solo exhibitions including 'Coade’s Elixir' – an occupation (2014) at Hayward Gallery Concrete Café, 'Sleight' at Lewisham Arthouse and 'Glissando' at Salisbury Art Centre in 2012. Recent group exhibitions include 'Hot Stones', 'Wet Areas', 'Fast Melons' (Vienna, 2013); 'Muster Point' (ASC Gallery, London, 2013), 'Please be Quite' (BSR, Rome, 2013); and 'Tourist Information Point' (Supercollider, Blackpool, 2013). She presented her live performance 'Icons' at Phillips Auction House as part of BFAMI's fundraising event, Nov 2014. In 2013 Powell-Williams completed a yearlong residency at the British School in Rome, having been awarded the Sainsbury Scholarship in Painting and Sculpture.
"In drawing, like on computers, it feels as though space and time are endless and so are the possibilities. Drawing, as apposed to computers, feels to me to be tactile and physical but simultaneously unreal. In drawing, I can give form and texture to the air around. Drawing is the first port of call because through it I can reduce the complexity and detail of my subjects. Drawings are therefore an abbreviation and approximation in an attempt to get closer to an idea of truth."
Click here for an interview of Candida Powell-Williams where she talks about her relationship to drawing:
[Interview by Stephen Farthing for FUKT Magazine – a Magazine for Contemporary Drawing]
From 2008 to 2010, Angela Rogers was a Research Fellow at the Creativity Centre, University of Brighton, where she co-authored a series of booklets on Drawing to Learn and was an organiser of the national Drawing Research Network conference. More recently her work has been seen in the Drawing Triennial, Tallinn, Estonia; in a screening of films on drawing at Firstsite Gallery, Colchester and in a solo show at Avenue Gallery, University of Northampton. Angela Rogers's doctoral research explored drawing as a means of one-to-one encounter. She is a tutor for BA Painting and MA Fine Art at the Open College of the Arts.
"I value drawing for its immediacy, simplicity and economy. I can use it as a tool to better understand the world by drawing from observation, to help to clarify complex relationships by diagramming and conceptual mapping and to give form to deep and confused emotions. I can also use it as a means of dialogue or encounter to meet and connect with others by making drawings together. Images are more ambiguous than words, and collaborative drawing allows us to be more playful and risk taking in our exchanges, it gives us opportunities to try out new kinds of social interaction."
Tom Sander graduated from the Sculpture/Environmental Art department of the Glasgow School of Art in 2007. Between 2010-2011 he studied on the Royal Drawing School’s postgraduate Drawing Year programme. He uses painting, sculpture and drawing to make works that aim to resonate with a viewer on an emotional level, harnessing a wide range of material processes to express physical and psychological experience. Alongside his continuing studio practice he currently teaches on the Royal Drawing School’s Foundation year based in East London.
"Drawing gives me a language for recording ideas and experiences, but just as importantly a language for finding ideas, for arriving within an idea through drawing. My notebooks are where my ideas begin their life as visual forms and where I’m able to see diagrams, symbols and visual phrases recur and unfold. I draw from observation in order to apprehend forms in space through their reenactment on the page. Focusing intently on visual appearance enables me to briefly tether myself to a place or subject. This process helps me make the connections between figurative imagery and abstract materiality that informs my work in painting and sculpture."
Claire Shoosmith has worked with performance, installation, film and photography since gaining a degree in sculpture from Central St. Martins and an MA in photography from the Royal College of Art. Much of her work has investigated how we negotiate and make sense of specific environments, in particular examining our communication with and behaviour towards others, and so looking at the choreography of human interaction.
"Ideas for new work or ways to move forward with existing projects often happen when I'm on the train. I can write a rough description of what I might be trying to achieve but it is always with drawing that I begin to pin the idea down, to fix it in my head and allow for the unexpected to happen. I use scraps of paper and notebooks and the drawings will help me to map or plan the physical nature of the work, playing with scale, form and situation."
Patricia Thornton is a painter and printmaker living in Lewes. She was a designer in resins for many years but, since her MA in 2006 (Brighton University), has focussed on drawing and painting exclusively. Patricia Thornton has had work exhibited in various national group exhibitions, currently at the Discerning Eye London, and last year at the Jerwood Drawing Prize, Jerwood Space London and was delighted to be part of ‘Shared Space’ residency with Blue Monkey members at Eastbourne College earlier this year.
"A ‘thinking drawing’ is what all drawing is, giving form to those shifting, illusive and shapeless thoughts from your imagination. Even observational drawing is a distillation of the complex shapes you see to a few marks. The drawing exhibited is from the sketchbook that I use to develop ideas for paintings. I often start very small on the back of envelopes that subsequently get transferred to my sketchbook – together with collaged bits of paintings, painted newspaper or photographs until a composition takes shape and something clicks."
Alexandra Valy studied at Camberwell College of Art (Foundation), Middlesex University (BA Fine Art), Byam Shaw School of Art (PG Dip Fine Art) and Goldsmiths College (MFA Fine Art, year one). Her work spans disciplines, from sculpture and installation to video, stop-motion animation, photography and light projections. She has exhibited in London and nationally, including the Liverpool Biennial, Deptford X and a solo show at the No:ID gallery. After 18 years in London, she recently moved to Eastbourne where she now lives and works. In March 2014, she founded the art organisation Curious Projects: a space for making and thinking.
"I use drawing to work out ideas. Drawings can either be almost technical, working out aspects of a three-dimensional piece; or fairly abstract, a putting-down of vague thoughts and shapes which can then be pushed and teased into the beginning of a piece of work. I often combine words with sketches and use mind maps."
As a child Ruth Watkins always loved drawing and making things, but pressures to ‘achieve’ and earn a living pulled her away from developing her art practice for a long time. She began drawing much more regularly following a life changing illness in 2007 and recently completed a part time foundation course. Her work has been exhibited in several venues across the Midlands, most recently in the West Midlands Open at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.
"These drawings are from a series I made while developing a 3D model of an imaginary building. I made the drawings very quickly - not intending them to be seen, so I could express myself more freely and focus on the process. I just grabbed the nearest biros, covering both sides of each notebook sheet. I much prefer to scribble quickly when I’m thinking, combining images and words without fear of scrutiny. I find that drawing more slowly and accurately can inhibit my thinking. Drawing fast also helps me to cut through the potential dominance of verbal thinking."
Jonathan Wright has been working as an Artist since graduating from the Royal College of Art in 1987. His constructed works embody the mechanics of a modern society – "we are surrounded by structures whose functions are mysterious, and these structures become invisible in their ubiquity. When encouraged to look at them afresh, to reverse our perspective, we realise we can see more and see better".
Drawing has always been an important tool in Wright's work. He employs it as a form of shorthand to unlock subtlety in an idea and introduce a flexibility into the process of development and contextualisation that is invaluable in the development of finished Artworks in other media.
The drawings inevitably become works in themselves displaying a raw and direct approach that shows how ideas form and change in the Artist's head.
The drawings for the show were made to develop the work 'Pent Houses' for the Folkestone Triennial 2014 (made in collaboration with Diane Dever).