Art on Paper in London – Saatchi and Jerwood Drawing Prize

I have just returned to San Francisco from hot, wet, cold, sunny, blustery, balmy, wonderful London, where I temporarily ran out of cash, so wound up seeing some excellent exhibitions and visited many of the  Museums almost all of which are free, yes, FREE, which kept penniless me happy  until the readies came in.

There were two exhibitions in particular I was excited to see, since they were shows of Works on Paper, which is usually rare, but it does seem that there is a renewed interested in the medium… and about bloody time I say!

Time was when you wouldn’t see a scrap of art on paper, unless it was a badly drawn anime inspired scribble, stuck to the gallery wall with blu-tac. This may be a slight exaggeration, but there was for many years, a complete lack of interest in well executed works on paper, whether drawings or prints, so it was really nice to see Paper, at the Saatchi Gallery on the Kings Road devote its entire, and really beautiful gallery to works on paper by contemporary Artists.


You don’t always know what to expect with the Saatchi Gallery, and its not always my cuppa tea, but I was hoping the show would focus on artist’s who could actually draw well and execute their ideas professionally as well as be provocative, and I was not disappointed. There were some really stunning drawings and installations  as well as more conceptual pieces that mine the richness and versatility of paper.

Here are some of my favorites…



The second exhibition I rushed to was the Jerwood Drawing Prize Exhibition at the Jerwood space, behind the Tate Modern on the banks of the Thames. I am not often in London when this show is on, so it was nice to see it for the second year running. Overall I much preferred last year’s show, but that’s just me. While there were some interesting pieces, I was a little disappointed with the overall selection, although there were some very thought provoking and interesting work.

I especially liked Roy Eastlands “they looked like silver birds…” a documentation of silverpoint portraits of people killed by a bomb during the second world war in Folkstone UK. There were also some interesting videos, but I was a bit underwhelmed by the winning drawing, and considering the enormous pool to choose from, it seemed lacking in weight to me. And although it is supposed to represent the best of contemporary drawing, it looked more like a magazine illustration to me, despite its size. Hey ho, maybe I’m just terribly out of touch about what is ‘Good’ art and ‘Mediocre’ art, but that’s just my personal opinion (the Independent News website seemed to agree!). I really enjoyed hanging out there as they have a lovely coffee shop. It was pouring with rain and nobody stole my umbrella that I left near the door, so it was all good. No photography was allowed, so follow this link and judge for yourselves.

I did see a nice works on paper at Tate modern, again, FREE and dry.  This print is by Ellsworth Kelly, I am posting because I had just returned from my beautiful niece’s wedding in the Lot-et-Garonne in France. Entitled Yellow/White, it was inspired by the Gironde estuary where the Garonne and Dordogne rives meet, so it was apt!


There was also a very strong display of propaganda street posters from soviet era Russia.

Russian Posters

As always in London, so much to see and so little time to see it. Here are a few more works I saw… enjoy.

Chen Zhen at the Tate modern, Cocon du vide:

Chen Zhen

Zarina Hashmi, Letters from home 2004:

Zarina Hashmi

This is whats happening at the back of the Tate…Building an even bigger bit:

Tate Modern


About Jenny

Artist and Printmaker, based in San Francisco, California.
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1 Response to Art on Paper in London – Saatchi and Jerwood Drawing Prize

  1. nancy mintz says:

    Love the Blog. Chen Zhen is sooo awesome. I can’t wait to read more about your art adventures.

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