An artist whose performative work captivated visitors to the University of Dundee’s Cooper Gallery last year has been named as the winner of one of the world’s most prestigious drawing prizes.
Led by Professor Anita Taylor, Dean of the University’s Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, the Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize has an established reputation as the UK’s most important annual exhibition of drawing.
For the first time in its history, the First Prize of £8,000 went to a performative drawing. M. Lohrum’s You are It challenges the individual notion of authorship by emphasising collectivity and collaboration. Participants were invited to follow a series of rules that led to them contributing to the final work. The performance was adapted to accommodate safe social distancing for participants at Dundee towards the end of last year.
The Cooper Gallery exhibition comprised 71 works by 56 drawing practitioners shortlisted for the annual awards, reflecting a broad scope of contemporary drawing practice produced by artists, designers and makers at all stages of their careers, from students to established artists. The 2020 exhibition explored stories of love in the age of the Coronavirus, portrayals of affection between same-sex couples, and the intimacy and hardships of working as a carer.
“We are delighted to have been able to present the Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize 2020 exhibition and tour in the current climate – it was simply brilliant to bring this exhibition to Cooper Gallery where the public and University community were able to experience the shortlisted drawings prior to the announcements of the awards in London,” said Professor Taylor.
“The overall selection for the 2020 exhibition, and these award-winning drawings, attest to the importance of drawing as a vital means of communication, connection and expression.
“Each of the award-winning drawings are profound in their exploration of different aspects of being alive in the world today. M.Lohrum’s performative drawing both facilitates and mediates direct individual engagement and the forming of profound connections with others in and through the act of drawing.”
Professor Taylor is an artist, educator and curator, who founded the annual exhibition, then known as the Rexel Derwent Open Drawing Exhibition, in 1994. Other leading figures from Dundee’s cultural scene have also played an integral role in this year’s Prize, with Sophia Hao, Curator of the Cooper Gallery, and Sophie McKinlay, Director of Programme at V&A Dundee, joining the selection panels.
The Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize celebrates contemporary drawing practice and champions it as a vital means of communication and expression. A total of 4,274 entries were submitted from around the world in 2020.
M. Lohrum is a Spanish artist based between Tenerife and London who has exhibited her work internationally and who has been recognised in several prestigious award programmes.
The Second Prize, worth £5,000, was awarded to Nancy Haslam-Chance for her series of Caring Drawings. Ayeshah Zolghadr received the Student Award of £2,000 for Circling the Square I. The new £2,000 Working Drawing Award went to Ben Johnson’s meticulously detailed Scrovegni Chapel Worksheet, a preparatory drawing for a painting.
After a successful physical tour that included its run at Cooper Gallery, the exhibition will be available to view online this January on the Trinity Buoy Wharf website and the TBW Drawing Prize’s website. The awards ceremony can be seen on the University’s YouTube channel.
Nobel Prize winning poet and honorary graduate Seamus Heaney has described the University of Dundee as ‘having its head in the clouds and its feet firmly on the ground.’ The ability to be both aspirational and down-to earth and to blend ground-breaking intellectual achievement with practical applications, has given the University its distinctive character.