Frances Aviva Blane makes something out of nothing for Jerwood prize

The Highgate artist’s latest book of paintings and works on paper marks a year of successes that include showing with Frank Auerbach, says Alison Oldham.

“My work doesn’t come from being inspired. My work comes from nothing. And that’s what it’s about, making something out of nothing.” The quote comes from Frances Aviva Blane’s latest book of paintings and works on paper, Nothing. It marks a year of successes for the Highgate-based artist which has included showing with Frank Auerbach at the prestigious De Queeste Art Gallery in Belgium and selection for the current Jerwood Drawing Prize exhibition.

This is the largest and longest running annual open exhibition for drawing in the UK and Blane’s work has been chosen five times, winning an award in 1999. The drawing pictured was one of 60 selected from over 3,000 entries. The art historian John-Paul Stonard, one of the judges, said the panel were looking for drawings with the energy of a personal vision showing dedication to the medium.

“Friend Susie is the first of a group of observed drawings made with pencil and graphite,” says Blane.

“I usually work with charcoal and my subject matter is abstract so it was a change seeing the cutting line and silvery sheen of pencil rather than smudge of charcoal. Like a razor blade. A sharp edge to tone and define.”


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Until October 25 at Jerwood Space, 171 Union Street SE1. Monday to Friday 10am to 5pm, Saturday and Sunday 10am to 3pm.

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