Thursday, September 15, 2016

Jerwood Drawing 2016 (Part 1) - Solveig Settemsdal wins First Prize

The Jerwood Drawing Prize "....aims to celebrate the breadth of contemporary drawing practice within the UK."

It also claims to have the longest and largest open exhibition for Drawing in the UK. It's certainly the longest (I think they might mean 'oldest') - but I think I'd dispute whether it's the largest without knowing the criteria for how this is measured!

For the record, this year the panel of selectors saw 2,537 works submitted by 1,408 entrants over a two-day period.
The selected artworks, and prizes, represent the selectors’ diversity of understandings and varied insights into contemporary drawing.
This year the selected artwork includes hand drawn, digital and three-dimensional works.

On Tuesday night the winners of this year's prizes for drawing were announced at a reception to which I was invited but was unable to attend.

In this post (Part 1) you can find below :
  • the names of the prizewinners 
  • the images which won
  • the names of the artists whose work was selected for the exhibition
  • where you can see the exhibition as it tours the UK
  • the events associated with the Exhibition.

In tomorrow's post (Part 2) I'm offering a commentary on how this prize is run. I would like to make it clear I'm not critical of the prizewinners - but I do think there needs to be a major rethink about how this competition is run.

Jerwood Drawing Prize - The prizewinners

The prizewinners in 2016 come from Norway, Denmark, Thailand and Italy/France.

All live and work or study in London.

First Prize (£8,000)

a still from the video Singularity created by Solveig Settemsdal

Is a way of recording how a drawing is made a drawing? I would argue it is - but ONLY if this is stipulated in the rules (see Part 2 tomorrow)

This year the First Prize has been won by a video Singularity created by Solveig Settemsdal (b.1984). This is the first video to win this prize - which seems odd since I've been seeing videos about drawing in exhibitions for some time. However maybe the difference is that the videos I've seen have been of the process of drawing in 2D and this video is about transforming space in 3D.
The video offers an almost sculptural digital rendering of the transformative and fluid drawing process.
Settemsdal comes from Norway, graduated from Glasgow School of Art in 2010 and is currently based at Spike Island in Bristol.  She has been working between drawing, sculpture and photography starts her MFA in sculpture at the Slade School of Fine Art in September 2016.
She uses materials which are easily affected by their surroundings to engender sculpture with a certain liquidity; embodying a constant potential for transformation. Inorganic and biological substances are often pitted against each other to initiate a balance between conscious intention and unconscious material process.
In this instance the substances are white mineral ink and a lattice of the biological gelatine.

Does using ink make it a drawing? It's perfectly possible to capture the drawing process on video in other ways and I've seen many such videos - so what makes this one different - and why describe it as a drawing?

I'm not sure I'd call this a drawing so much as a video of a liquid 3D sculpture.  The movements which make it are not unlike those which make 3D art. It's only 2D because it was filmed.

The video is certainly teetering on the edge of the boundaries between drawing and sculpture and digital art and I guess it's this reason which won it the top prize.  However I'd love to know
  • WHY it's in a drawing competition - as opposed to a sculpture competition - and 
  • WHY it got the top prize.
Now if it had been an animation I'd be absolutely clear why is was a drawing. I guess what I'm looking for are comments from the judges which state explicitly why they consider this to be contemporary drawing practice. However there are none.  (How does this expand our knowledge about the scope of contemporary drawing practice?)

Maybe this could be remedied next year?

Below is a 45 second extract from the 9.31 minute film - from the very beginning of the film. Personally I think it's a pity that the section she made available to share on her website isn;t extracted from later in the film when it's clearer how the ink and gelative were manipulated.

Clip from Singularity w. Kathy Hinde (part of Ritual in Transfigured Time
This is a Review of Singularity at the Cheltenham Festival by 5:4 where it formed the visuals to a piece of music.
Norwegian artist Solveig Settemsdal‘s visuals were utterly mesmerising and impossible to resolve, featuring a large globular agglomeration of some kind of matter–liquid or fabric or feathers or something–that pulsed, shivered, hovered, struggled, and evolved, like a glutinous, biological and altogether more placid version of Alex Rutterford’s Gantz Graf.

Second Prize (£5,000)

The Second Prize of £5,000 is awarded to Danish artist Anna Sofie Jespersen (b.1992). Jespersen lives in London and is currently studying for a Fine Art Degree at Chelsea College of Art.

The prize is for Sid in Bathtub.
Her prizewinning drawing depicts a man lying, fully clothed and smoking, in a bath, is a poetic and tragic work intricate in line and tonality.
Personally I'm not quite sure what makes it tragic.

I'm afraid Anna's drawing made me instantly think rather prosaically of people trying to get their jeans to fit properly! It certainly reminded me of Ian Cumberland's self-portrait for the BP Portrait Award 2015 - see Sink or Swim which I always thought very definitely had an edge of melancholy about it.)

Jespersen writes of her subject
As I was falling in love with you, you would slowly sink into the parallel dimension where you would become heavy and dense, and slide effortlessly into the void
Nice words but none ones which wou;ld have srpung to mind with this drawing.
Sid in Bathtub by Anna Sofie Jespersenballpen on tracing paper

Student Awards

Two Student Awards of £2,000 each are awarded to:
  • Jade Chorkularb (b. 1971) and 
  • Amelie Barnathan (b. 1991).
Jade Chorkularb, was born in Thailand in 1971 and came to London in 1996. She has an MSc in Interactive Multimedia and lives and works in London. You can follow her on Facebook

She is a conceptual artist working in diverse media. Her winning  work, That What They Would Do, is a beautifully simple and empathetic video of real-time drawing set over interviews asking people what they would do if they only had an hour left to live. A practicing Buddhist, Chorkularb says of the work,
“There are various methods (e.g. prayer, meditation,working on our mind) that will enable us to overcome fear,attachment and other emotions that could arise at the time of death and cause our mind to be disturbed, unpeaceful, and even negative. Preparing for death will enable us to die peacefully, with a clear, positive state of mind.”
You can see her work in full below and on her website.

IMO it's entrancing - and weird at the same time. Personally I think it's great to see somebody actually drawing!

Amelie Barnathan is is an Italian-French illustrator living and working in London while studying for her MA in Visual Communication at the Royal College of Art.

You can follow Amélie Barnathan Illustrations on Facebook and see how she has been undertaking commercial commissions (producing colouring books for Hachette.) at the same time as she studies.

Having studied her photos on the site I think she draws in pen and ink and then adds colour using coloured pencils. I've certainly spotted at least one Polychromos!

Her drawing is on a scroll
The work is beautifully drawn, incredibly creative and has a very precise palette of analogous colours
Her large-scale, visceral, surreal, and confrontational drawings traverse the historical and mythical through renderings of dreams and nightmares. The intricate and overlaid narratives that unfold within her work “evoke the ecstatic rituals of the Maenads madwoman of Ancient Greece [and the] processions and Sabbaths of the witches of the Middle Ages.”
[Is this the artist describing her work or the judges comments?]

The Selectors

This year's selectors for the Jerwood Drawing Prize 2016 were:
  • Glenn Brown (born 1966 in Hexham, Northumberland) is a British artist. He is known for the use of art historical references in his paintings. His work is represented by Gagosian Gallery and Galerie Max Hetzler.
  • Stephanie Buck (b.1964) is an acclaimed curator and Director of Kupferstich-Kabinett at Staatliche Kunstammlungen Dresden. Stephanie coordinated the activities of the Courtauld Gallery’s IMAF Centre for the Study and Conservation of Drawings from 2010-2016 and is a widely published authority on Northern European drawings from the 15th and 16th Centuries.
  • Paul Hobson (b.1970) has been Director of Modern Art Oxford since 2013 Prior to this he was Director of the Contemporary Art Society for 6 years and held former senior roles at The Showroom Gallery, Serpentine Gallery and the Royal Academy of Arts, London. Paul read History at Oxford University and holds postgraduate degrees in Aesthetics and Contemporary Visual Theory. 

Jerwood Drawing Prize - The Exhibition & Events

Below are details of the exhibition, names of the exhibiting artists and summary details of events


You can see the winning artworks on display at

Exhibiting Artists

A total of 61 works by 55 artists were selected for exhibition by the panel.
    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 artistic practice today.
  • Farina Alam, 
  • Nathan Anthony, 
  • Rachel Bacon, 
  • Jo Barber, 
  • Amelie Barnathan, 
  • Deborah Boyd Whyte, 
  • Nici Bungey, 
  • Caroline Burraway, 
  • Lewis Chamberlain, 
  • Jade Chorkularb, 
  • Kelly Chorpening, 
  • Małgorzata Dawidek, 
  • James Eagle, 
  • Kristian Evju, 
  • Kate Fahey, 
  • Mike FitzGerald, 
  • Gillian Foot, 
  • Christopher Fry, 
  • David Gardner, 
  • Sue Gilmore, 
  • Gill Gregory, 
  • Nicola Grellier, 
  • Heather Hancock, 
  • Michael Hancock, 
  • Summer Howard, 
  • Julia Hutton, 
  • Bruce Ingram, 
  • Adriana Ionascu, 
  • Lottie Jackson-Eeles, 
  • Anna Sofie Jespersen, 
  • Ben Johnson, 
  • Helen Jones, 
  • Tae Yeon Kim, 
  • Samuel Little, 
  • ude Lunn, 
  • Penny McCarthy, 
  • Shona McGovern, 
  • Richard McVetis, 
  • Catrin Morgan, 
  • Eleanor Morgan, 
  • Craig Morris, 
  • Marion Piper, 
  • Messua Poulin-Wolff, 
  • Tyler Reed, 
  • Raji Salan, 
  • Annie Samuel, 
  • Solveig Settemsdal, 
  • Martyn Simpson, 
  • Helen Thomas, 
  • Kevin Tole, 
  • Thomas Treherne, 
  • Kazuya Tsuji, 
  • Vandana, 
  • David Winthrop, 
  • Aishan Yu.


There are two events during the exhibition at the Jerwood Space, London

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