UWE students selected for national drawing prize

Issue date: 09 September 2005

Issue date: 09/09/05

Three students from the Bristol School of Art, Media and Design (BSAMD) at the University of the West of England have had their drawings selected for the Jerwood Drawing Exhibition and will have their submissions entered for the Jerwood Drawing Prize. The students selected are Irene Lees and Linda Meakin, who both graduated this year and have both gone on to study for MA Research at UWE, and Penny Clark who is in her third year on the BA (Hons) Drawing course.

This prestigious national competition has been an annual show since 1996, formerly the Cheltenham Open Drawing competition it was renamed The Jerwood Drawing Prize in 2001. The competition is open to practising artists and students and just 79 drawings were selected from 2,600 works submitted for the competition and exhibition.

Irene Lees came to art education late in life and is the oldest person on the course. She gained distinction for her Foundation Year and said that the BA (Hons) Drawing course has been a fantastic chance to work with a vibrant group of young people. Irene has also won the Cliff Moss award for the most unique and outstanding student of the year at the BSAMD Degree Show this year. Irene’s drawing is a large scale 8ft x 5ft drawing using white gel pen on black Canson paper. The drawing is a continuous line depicting a knitted wedding dress.

Irene said, “The importance of working in a particular way, drawing one continuous connected loop is crucial to me, it shapes and determines what I draw and helps me to understand why I draw. I began to work on a theory, that by using basic principles and processes of knitting to shape and construct garments, I would eventually, be able to translate these ideas into a three dimensional knitted drawing that would capture the scale, form, composition and texture of a knitted garment. The drawings have taken an excessive amount of time and labour using this methodology. This has led me to question the personal value and meaning that I have apportioned to them and also to question the value gained by those textile workers who produce such garments. Through this evaluative process my drawing skills have developed, progressed and promoted the emergence of new ideas about ‘what to draw?”

Linda Meakin’s work is also a large scale 8 ft by 5 ft drawing on white Fabriano paper using a 9H pencil to inscribe lines that are then layered and covered using a graphite stick. Linda said, “My work explores aspects of industrial development which have wiped out areas of the tropical rainforests in West Africa. The chaotic layering within my drawing creates an ambiguous tangled web of linear networks that struggle to find their own space.”

Penny Clark’s work is a drawing of the six o’clock news. Using fine line coloured pens on A1 cartridge paper she has deconstructed the news by taking different colours to represent male and female presenters. Each time a male presenter appears he is drawn with the left hand in blue and the female presenters represented in pink. With the right hand Penny draws the news subject with different colours representing individual items on the news. The drawings are done without looking at the paper. Penny said, “They are a complete web of lines revealing the repeated metanarratives and loss of history evident in this news text. It has been fantastic to get the recognition that the Jerwood competition offers. The BA Drawing course at UWE has been brilliant – I taught Art in schools for 30 years and have always exhibited my paintings. The course has been a fantastic opportunity to work with other artists and has changed my way of working and thinking.”

Programme leader Nigel Hurlstone, said, “We are delighted that the students have been selected for this competition. Their success is entirely down to a combination of sheer hard work, ambition and talent. All three artists have achieved a level of sophistication beyond that achieved by most undergraduates. The Drawing course at UWE has proved very popular, more than doubling student intake in the three years it has been running. The popularity of the course and the success of these students is largely due to a focus on content and ideas drawn from personal approaches. The winning students have all worked at developing very personal styles that are pertinent to and distinctive of their individuality.”

Dean of the Faculty of Art, Media and Design, Professor Paul Gough, said, “This is fantastic news for the Faculty and congratulations are due to all three students for this magnificent achievement. We wish them all luck at the competition prize announcements on Tuesday 13 September.”

The Jerwood Drawing Prize exhibition will open in London at The Jerwood Space, Union Street on 14 September and run until 23 October. The exhibition will then tour the UK taking in the Pittville Gallery, University of Gloucestershire; Rennie Mackintosh Gallery, Glasgow School of Art; Bayart, Cardiff and The Gallery, The Arts Institute at Bournemouth.


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