The Jerwood Drawing Prize is the largest and longest running annual open exhibition for drawing in the UK. Judged by an independent panel of selectors, the Prize aims to recognise and support all UK based artists, from student to established, working in the field of drawing. Approximately 3,500 entries were submitted in 2011 for consideration by the distinguished panel of selectors: Iwona Blazwick, Director, Whitechapel Gallery; Tim Marlow, writer, broadcaster and Director of Exhibitions, White Cube; and Rachel Whiteread, artist. As a result of the intensive selection process, held over two days in the sculpture studios at Wimbledon College of Art, 73 drawings by 58 individual artists were selected for the 2011 exhibition.
I entered two drawings for this, one was a life study, and the other was a quick measured survey (above) I'd done one morning while staying at Le Corbusier's Unite d'Habitation in Marseille. The survey drawing was accepted. I really like this about the Jerwood - the selections are often a pleasant surprise, and the judges seem always to consider drawing in its widest forms.
Iwona Blazwick said :
'Because it is selected from an open submission, the Jerwood Drawing Prize provides a panoramic view of the state of drawing today. In 2011 every kind of method is in evidence, from painstaking mimesis, to gestural mark-making, to drawing by machine. Style is equally eclectic. We saw classical portraiture, geometric abstraction, drawing as diagram or map, even as automatic writing. Medium could encompass a hand made book, a piece of embroidery or a film.
Whether attempting to capture reality, give shape to fantasy or to pursue pure form, no one tendency prevails....
Common to every artist who submitted work however is a shared cultural context, that is, a society awash with images. Photography has saturated our visual world through advertising, social networking and the media. The sheer ubiquity of the photographic image makes both making and looking at drawing all the more intense. For some, drawing is like making a calculation in a complex experiment, a way of figuring something out. For others it is an act of love, an attempt to capture a face or a scene.
As judges we entered a multitude of complex worlds, by turns beguiling, confounding, funny, even abhorrent. We had to select just 70 leaving behind, with great regret, some 3,000 works. The experience was exhausting but exhilarating. It is clear that the state of the art is in extremely rude health.'