Jerwood Drawing project

After observing the judging process of the Jerwood Drawing Prize 2010, and viewing thousands of fine art drawings, I realised that as each new batch of drawings entered the room I was hoping to see drawings that often do not exist so much in the art world, drawings of  natural phenomena, maps and plans.I became very curious about the current practice of drawing beyond the art world, specifically in the Natural Sciences.

Some of my favourite drawings are 19th century geological, astronomical and zoological drawings, made in order to explore and to know their subject. I realised that I would like to investigate the contemporary practise of drawing within natural science departments at University College London in order to see if drawing still plays a role in the formation of knowledge in the Natural Sciences.

I draw regularly from natural science collections at University College London, Kew Gardens and The Natural History Museum. Taking these institutions as a starting point, I began an enquiry, contacting individual archaeologists, astronomers, botanists, geologists and mycologists. After some time I began a dialogue with individual specialists, who offered me the opportunity to visit their workplace, to interact with their collections and to ask them specific questions about drawing within their subject areas.

I was excited to find that without exception each department still maintains an element of drawing within its course, even though it may not always be part of the written course, passionate individuals within the department still believe in the analogue importance of drawing opposed to any other observational method.

I choose a historical drawing from each of these subject areas that I felt was both a work of art and a work of science as an inspiration and a starting point for my works. I aimed to substitute the forms in the historical images with forms bearing anatomical resemblances, found in the specimens of the collections I was working with e.g, replacing R.Hoopers anatomical drawing of Haematoma of the Brain with the mineral Haematite.

The works here are all drawn from observation and from the collections of Kew, UCL, NHM and from UCLs Observatory at Mill Hill. Each image reflects on the history of drawing within a particular branch of natural science, taking compositional inspiration from historical natural science drawings.

This Blog documents the work in progress……..