Derwent Art Prize judge, Anita Taylor tells us about herself and her thoughts on the Prize.
Would you like tell us about your background?
I am an artist, educator and exhibition-maker, with a particular focus on drawing. I drew my way through a Fine Art degree at what is now the University of Gloucestershire and then studied MA Painting at the Royal College of Art in London. I then went on to be Artist in Residence at Durham Cathedral, Cheltenham Fellow in Painting and started teaching across the UK in numerous art schools. I became Head of Painting at Gloucestershire in 1991 and in 2003, as Deputy Head of Art, Media and Design, I left to work at Wimbledon School of Art where there was an innovative Centre for Drawing exploring the role of drawing in artistic practices and the first MA Drawing course in the UK. The Jerwood Drawing Prize, which I founded in 1994 (for the first year it was the Rexel Derwent Open Drawing exhibition), moved with me to Wimbledon and became part of the Centre and retains an affiliation to Wimbledon today. In 2009, I relocated to Sydney for four years to lead the National Art School. I returned to the UK in 2013 to take up the role of Dean of Bath School of Art and Design at Bath Spa University. As an Adjunct Professor of the University of Sydney, affiliated to Sydney College of the Arts, I am able to sustain and develop the many vibrant Australian links in drawing practice and research I have made. I passionately believe that the act of drawing remains a fundamental means to convey and to analyse our experiences of the world(s) we inhabit.
This is the second year of the Derwent Art Prize – did you feel particularly drawn to any of last years’ shortlisted works?
I enjoyed a number of the drawings including Full of Stars Drawing, CHRIS DUNSEATH; Pillar, CHARLOTTE HODES; Fanfare for a common man, BERNARD NAO KITAMA; brill, VICTORIA LOCHHEAD; Noon, RYOTARO YAMANAKA.
Ryotaro Yamanaka: Noon
What will you be looking for when judging the 2014 Derwent Art Prize?
Drawings that have an authentic voice, and that are superbly rendered.
In your view, what attributes does a successful drawing have? Is it the pencil lines, movement within the piece, the translation of the subject on paper? We’d love to hear your thoughts.
Inherently, a successful drawing is one that is fit for purpose and inventive within its means - a consummate synthesis of idea, form and content. One that creates equivalence to the experience or communication at hand, and one that can apprehend and captivate the viewer (and maker) to find a new or renewed relationship with, and understanding of, what it conveys.
Who inspires you in the world of drawing?
An enormous range of artists, writers on drawing, those who use drawing in the course of their professional and personal lives, and those who have taught me and who I teach with. I am incredibly fortunate to work with many really inspiring people in the world of drawing through the Jerwood Drawing Prize project, and in higher education. Inspirational drawings I have recently seen include those by William Kentridge, Sol LeWitt, Philip Guston, Agnes Martin, Kathe Kollwitz, Mike Parr, Sheela Gowda, Utamaro, Matisse, Rembrandt, Michael Craig-Martin, and many more.
How important is drawing in education? Do you feel there’s enough emphasis on drawing and translating ideas with pencil and paper?
The role of drawing in education is critical, and not just to the creative disciplines in art and design for which it is foundational. Drawing is a primary visual language, essential in terms of communication and expression, and as important as the development of writing skills. Our need to understand the world through visual means is more acute than ever, as images transcend the barriers of language, and enhance communication in an increasingly international world. Drawing functions to distinguish and aid us in understanding our complex world through signs and symbols, by mapping and labelling our experience. It can also enable us to discover through seeing – either through our own experience of seeing and observing or through the shared experience of looking at another’s drawn record of an experience. It can have a transitory or temporal relationship with the world; or provide a record of lasting permanence. It can be propositional, preparatory, visionary, imaginative, factual, generative, transformative, or performative, in the realisation of ideas and concepts.
The need for greater drawing skills in those entering employment has been identified by a range of industries in the creative sector, including animation, film, architecture, art practice, design, theatre and performance and in the communication industries. Drawing is widely used within a range of professions as a means to develop, document, explore, explain and interrogate. This includes the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, medicine, sport, and law. I see drawing as an essential part of the curriculum at all levels for all subjects, and something for which a clear commitment needs to be made. With pencil and paper in hand we are able to explore, depict and make a universe.
What advice would you give to those wishing to enter the Prize this year?
Make drawings you believe in and ensure you submit good reproductions for the selection process, along with all the necessary details (title, size, medium, date).
To enter the Derwent Art Prize 2014, please visit www.derwent-artprize.com for more information.