September 13, 2017

Jerwood Drawing Prize Winners Announced

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Jerwood Drawing Prize has established a reputation for its commitment to championing excellence, and for promoting and celebrating the breadth of contemporary drawing practice within the UK.

The prestigious First Prize of £8,000 has been awarded to Gary Lawrence for his monumental drawing Yellow Kalymnos and Fridge Magnets; this is first time an artist has won twice in the history of the award. Gary Lawrence’s intricate depiction of Greek Island Kalymnos, which has been produced in felt pen and poster paint, is a celebration of draughtsmanship and observational skill. The complex composition provides a snap shot of popular tourist spot Kalymnos Square, honing in on the myriad of magnets for sale at the side of the road, each accompanied by an ironic comment from the artist – ‘Athens – never been here’, ‘Cyprus ‘08 ok-ish’, ‘Zante Town – Euro Spar’. Taking almost a year to complete, the drawing is a labyrinth of personal narratives, executed with technical precision using readily available craft materials.

Professor Anita Taylor, founding Director of the Jerwood Drawing Prize recalled the moment the drawing was unfurled for the selection panel to view: “it was immediately striking, with its intense colour and construction – it was compelling.” Artist and selector Michael Simpson said Gary Lawrence’s drawing was “a brilliant evocation of a time capsule; of time squashed in on itself as a topographical romance in retrospect.” Dr David Dibosa, also on the 2017 panel, felt the piece “radiated power”.

Ana Mendes is the recipient of the £5,000 second prize for her video work On Drawing – an emotive interview with Mina Pegourie, a housemaid the artist met during a residency in France. Moroccan born Pegourie discusses how she’s used drawing to navigate her way through life, given that she cannot read or write. She says “when someone gives me their phone number, I draw something to remind me.” The film encourages viewers to consider the relationship between thinking and drawing and the utilisation of drawing as a tool for everyday life.

Two Student Awards of £2,000 each are awarded to Jade Montserrat, for documentary photograph No Clothes Needed; and Dejan Mrdja, for his dynamic video work Chasing Synchrony 2.0.

Jade Montserrat’s practice lies in the intersection between art and activism, manifested through performance, film, installation, sculpture, print and text. The artist interrogates these mediums with the aim of exposing gaps in our visual and linguistic habits. Her prizewinning piece speaks of entanglement and commodity fetishism; a polemic engaged in combat between histories of colonialism and today’s realities.

In Dejan Mrdja’s Chasing Synchrony 2.0, the artist creates a link between drawing, installation and performance. Rather than focusing on an end product or outcome, Mrdja celebrates the process of drawing – it becomes a shared activity, uniting both performers and viewers through an immersive experience.
The prizewinning pieces are amongst 69 works by 65 artists which have been selected for the 2017 exhibition by Dr David Dibosa, writer, researcher and Reader in Museology at the University of the Arts London, Helen Legg, Director of Spike Island and Michael Simpson, artist.

The recipient of the newly introduced Evelyn Williams Drawing Award is Barbara Walker, whose figurative drawings explore race identity, belonging, class and power. The new award, which is worth £10,000, will support the artist to realise a body of new drawings, culminating in a solo exhibition at Jerwood Gallery, Hastings in 2018. Eligible artists selected for the 2017 exhibition were invited to apply for the Award. The final selection was made by Elizabeth Gilmore, Director, Jerwood Gallery, Hastings; Anita Taylor, founding Director, Jerwood Drawing Prize, and Nicholas Usherwood, Art Critic and Curator and trustee of the Evelyn Williams Trust.

The Jerwood Drawing Prize exhibition will be on display at Jerwood Space, London from 13 September – 22 October 2017, followed by a national tour to East Gallery, Norwich University of the Arts (14 November 2017 – 6 January 2018), The Edge, University of Bath (10 February – 31 March 2018), Sidney Cooper Gallery, Canterbury (11 April – 6 May 2018), Vane Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne (26 May – 28 July 2018) and Drawing Projects UK (17 August – 6 October 2018).

Jerwood Drawing Prize is the largest and longest running annual open exhibition for drawing in the UK. Supported by Jerwood Charitable Foundation through its programme of awards, exhibitions and events, Jerwood Visual Arts, Jerwood Drawing Prize is a unique initiative led by founding Director, Professor Anita Taylor (Executive Dean of Bath School of Art & Design at Bath Spa University). The Prize is committed to championing excellence, and to promoting and celebrating the breadth of contemporary drawing practice, this year including hand drawn, digital and three-dimensional works. In offering emerging, mid-career and established artists a national platform to exhibit their work, the exhibition has established a reputation for developing new insights into the role and value of drawing in creative practice today.

Following 17 significant and successful years of support, Jerwood Charitable Foundation and Bath Spa University have announced that 2017 will be Jerwood Charitable Foundation’s final year as the key partner and funder for the Jerwood Drawing Prize. The project will continue to be led and developed by Professor Anita Taylor supported by Bath Spa University. The visual arts in the UK has benefited enormously from the prestige of the Jerwood Drawing Prize, which has championed the careers of many emerging and established artists and this legacy will continue as the project moves forward into a new phase with new supporters. Shonagh Manson commented in her address at the prize giving ceremony:

“Jerwood Charitable Foundation first began its support of this nascent project (Jerwood Drawing Prize) in 2001, as a key part of our core raison d’etre – to support early career artists and arts projects in the early stages of their development. It is rare and unusual that we get to follow a project into its mature life as we have been able to for 17 years with the Jerwood Drawing Prize. It’s been the continued dedication of the Jerwood Drawing Prize community that has enabled us to do that to this point, and it’s really humbling to sum up that nearly 1,000 artists have presented work in the show across a time in which Jerwood’s support for drawing through this project has totalled just shy of £950,000. I know we have exciting news to share with you tonight about new facets of the Jerwood Drawing project, and we all look forward thoroughly to remaining committed personal supporters as it enters its next exciting phase of life.”

Gary Lawrence, Yellow Kalymnos and Fridge Magnets. Image: Colin Mills