drowned garden image

The aim of the symposium was twofold; to look at drawing at a personal and intimate scale and think about how artists have used drawing during Covid, at a time when we have not been able to be with others, to be 'present' in the way we have previously; and to examine how drawing today is connected to the history and practice of drawing. So how drawings of the past are continually present to us. In this way the micro (personal) and macro (historical) are addressed.

To get at these two ideas the organisers asked each artist contributor to select a drawing that was meaningful to them, a work from history or contemporary practice that they held dear and had influence on their own drawing.

The work Gerry presented was from the recent series Flood Story. This work, which looks at the possible effect of climate change and rising sea levels was developed at Lancaster in the context of environmental research done by colleagues in LEC, notably Professor Nigel Clark, and supported by a LICA research grant. The drawings have been shown in national survey exhibitions and have won acclaim and prizes for the timely content and compelling imagery.

Gerry chose a drawing by Leonardo da Vinci called a Cloudburst of Material Possessions in the Royal Collection at Windsor. This drawing made in 1510 shows the world inundated by designed, fabricated material objects, in short, a world deluged by possessions. This drawing has motivated his drawing for years and has recently been the influential in the works that make up Flood Story, a group of works, which imagine the world inundated through rising sea levels.

Gerry had previously visited NAS as the inaugural Artist in Residence at their National Centre for Drawing, where he spent 10 weeks working with researchers, post-graduates and undergraduate students on drawing projects, and at the end of the residency held an exhibition of the artwork made during the residency.

The conference included speakers from Europe, North America and Australia and was available to an International audience, the proceedings are recorded and archived.

The recordings of all the talks at the event (called PRESENCE) are here

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