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Exhibition Details

11 January – 8 February 2014

At the Black Swan we are welcoming in a new creative year with a chance to view some exceptional artists’ sketchbooks, selected for the UK's only national sketchbook competition.

The Sketch Open Sketchbook Drawing Prize and exhibition from Rabley Drawing Centre, uniquely promotes the diversity and importance of drawing and the role of the sketchbook in contemporary fine art practice. Fifty-four artists' sketchbooks were selected for the 2013 prize and touring exhibition and we are delighted to be showing them at the gallery this month. 
A rare opportunity to explore these often private processes. Don’t miss it!

There will be a special open evening on Friday January 10th, from 6pm – 8pm: An opportunity to meet some of the artists; Meryl Ainslie, the founder of SKETCH will give a short introductory talk and Divas will be open for drinks.

Sketchbook Artists Exhibiting are:

Toby Allen
Lina Audzeviciute
Jackie Berridge
Louise Blakeway
Meg Buick
Isabel Carmona-Andreu
Sarah Casey
Marco Cazzulini
Michael Chance
Helen Cole
Jessica Cooper
Nicky Coyne
Anna Currey
Heather Dash
Gerry Davies
David Davies
Richard Devereux

Naomi Frears
Rachel Gannon
Vanessa Gardiner
Susan Gough
Robert Hames
Annette Kemp
Melissa Yvonne May Kime
Samuel Lindup
Darren Marsh
Sally McGill
Sally McKay
Mike Middleton
Dar Al Naim Mubarak
Stephen Mumberson
Sumi Perera
Harriet Piercy
Jeff Pigott
Neil John Pittaway
Susan Preston
Isolde Pullum
Amanda Ralfe
Chloe Regan
Ray Richardson
Sam Robbins
Marielle Schram
Faye Stacey
David Sully
Sally Taylor
Masako Tobita
Stephanie Tuckwell
Louise Vercoe
Susan Wilson

Prizewinners: Jackie Berridge, Meg Buick and Naomi Frears.

Comments from the selectors:

"Looking at the sketchbooks submitted for the exhibition one was inevitably struck by the variety of the objects and by the diversity of the purposes to which their artist owners have put them. For some artists the sketchbook cover opens on to a private, interior world, a personal place of dreams and projections, memories and fantasies. For others it is a handbook of immediacies, impressions and notations, a workaday graphic record for future use maybe (or maybe not) of commonplace objects and incidents, an apple on a table-top, a dog asleep, the light and weather at the window, a flower in a bottle."
Mel Gooding - Art Critic and Writer.

"As an educator in art practice, I see the sketchbook as contested territory.  As a developmental tool for the contemporary art student too often it is an over-managed, standardised exercise in self consciousness ‘reflectivity’, designed for ease of assessment and to fulfil learning outcomes that are attempting to pin down those elusive empirical qualities in creative arts education. In an education that sets out to inculcate a personal practice in the student, it is difficult to see how the sketchbook can survive on these terms beyond the simulated environment of the teaching studio. At some point, the question arises for the graduating student: who am I making my sketchbook for when I leave education, when no-one will see it apart from myself?"
Stephen Felmingham - Artist & Programme Leader BA(hons) Painting, Drawing & Printmaking, Plymouth College of Art.

"By working from observation I find a visceral connection to the subject. Long after I can look at a sketch and recall the event, in addition to the visual information about a place it mysteriously captures emotion or memory."
Emma Stibbon RA

"Legendary artist sketchbooks from Leonardo, Rembrandt and Goya to Constable, Turner and Matisse have become familiar and have a clear on-going influence, whereas the opportunity to view contemporary artists’ sketchbooks are rare."
Sara Lee - Artist and Master Printer for Blackbird Editions

"Handling a sketchbook takes us to the heart of the space inhabited by the artist. The turning of a page brings a flow of ideas: fragments of images to come, references to places visited, experiences absorbed and thoughts provoked. It is a unique and privileged position, the prospect excites and the time spent rewards."
Meryl Ainslie - Director, Rabley Drawing Centre; Gallerist, Rabley Contemporary Fine Art.


More information about SKETCH and  a catalogue can be found at: along with drawing development courses at:

SKETCH 2013 was developed by Rabley Drawing Centre Marlborough with the collaboration of: Plymouth College of Art; UWE, Bristol; The Centre for Fine Print Research and Black Swan Arts, Frome.

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1000 Postcards Sale

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