Review: Professor Anita Taylor

For the second event within Visual Arts Week at Marlborough College, we were privileged to have leading artist Professor Anita Taylor visit and give us a captivating talk titled ‘Creative Practice and the Importance of Drawing’.

Anita is the Executive Dean of Fine Art at Bath School of Art & Design, Bath Spa University and also works with other artists as the founding Director of the Jerwood Drawing Prize. Now known as the Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize, the competition, which received over 1,700 submissions in 2018, provides great opportunities for any artist. It recognises and promotes the value of drawing as a practice within itself. Anita also understands the significance of community initiatives, as well as solo work; this is highly evident in her leadership and organisation of Drawing Projects U.K, based in Trowbridge.

As part of Anita’s personal art practice, investigative, larger-than-life charcoal self-portraits using herself as a model in front of a mirror are created. Anita does not use any photography to capture her image, or expression. From the moment her charcoal touches the paper the drawings develop and gain character; they express a wide range of her inner emotions, reactions and observations to the world. Some of Anita’s striking works on paper are presently on display within the Mount House Gallery, as part of the ‘Artists’ Sketchbooks’ group show.

Anita thinks drawing is important because it is a method of visually expressing and communicating our inner thoughts and is a means to explore our observations of the world. “We use drawing within the frame work of ourselves and the world”. She notes that whatever our idea of what drawing is, it has no boundaries, the point at which a piece of art is still a drawing, is a matter of opinion within an evolving process. The crucial idea of drawing is what’s left behind, be that lines from physical mark-making on a medium, or what remains of the medium itself.

Anita’s talk and visual presentation of her own and many other contemporary artists’ works has certainly stimulated much interest within the Art School at Marlborough; in the future possibilities of exploring new concepts and expressions in drawing. Many thanks to Professor Taylor for such an engaging talk.

Review by Anna Tchen (NC L6) and Jamie Lawrence (PR L6)

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