Friday, 5 October 2012


Pillow 64 X 83.5CM


‘To live is to leave traces’ 
 Walter Benjamin 1935

I can only invite you to imagine this beautiful, delicate pencil-on-paper drawing, which has been shortlisted for the 2012 Jerwood Drawing Prize. It's a work whose accomplishment is  astonishing, partly, perhaps, because pencil and paper is such a democratic form of making art, open to all ages and not requiring expensive tools or a great deal of space. And yet how anyone can transform flat paper into someting so subtle and gently nuanced is past my understanding.

As I stand in the gallery and look, I want to touch this pillow, confident that I'll be rewarded with a soft, gentle fabric. And I wonder who has been there to leave behind those gentle undulations? Perhaps it's been left undisturbed because the imprint carries memories of that person.  It might even still be warm from the heat of someone's body. It's not 'a' pillow, it is this pillow, here and now, unlike any other, with its own pattern of ups and downs.
When I contacted Tanya she sent me this:
 For me drawing is like touching, sculpting with a pencil. .I aim to evoke our senses, memories and feelings of vulnerability and security. This drawing is as it is, mistakes and all, no eraser, one mark, one life, however it turns out...(it) concerns the fragility and preciousness of life explored through the close study of surface disrupted by human actions. I have invested time in the meticulous, life-size rendering of these traces of existence, precisely documenting unrepeatable creases and folds, elevating the ordinary to the extraordinary.

 Tanya has had a work shortlisted for the National Open Art Competition which opens on October 12th. Her work will be on display at the Jerwood Gallery at Hastings in December

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