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In January 2016 the Gallery was traced back to an open white space: a surface on which to draw and experience drawing.

Over the course of one month artists were invited to spend a period of time in the Gallery creating lines, marks and tones that explore and responding to the space through a variety of drawing processes. The exhibition celebrated the expanded field of contemporary drawing, including: paper, performance, moving image, installation, projections and three-dimensional drawing.

Artists included: humhyphenhumLorraine Young, Catherine Bertola, Joe Graham, Andrew PepperMartin Lewis, and John Court.

The month started with humhyphenhum (Deborah Harty & Phil Sawdon), who were the first to enter the white space; drawing with paper and moving image to create a three-dimensional drawing that traces in, on and through the surface of the empty white space.

Lorraine Young and Catherine Bertola followed, spending two days and three days respectively on the developing drawing. The third week saw contributions from Joe Graham, Andrew Pepper and Martin Lewis.

John Court was the final invited artist to enter the space, spending three days drawing in the Gallery.

Finally, humhyphenhum returned to the space to complete the drawing and prepare for a closing night celebration on Thursday 11 February, where visitors could view the final collaborative drawing.

Performing Drawology was curated by humhyphenhum and forms part of the ongoing research project by Deborah Harty entitled Drawing is Phenomenology.

In addition to the residency, informal discussions with the artists, student workshops and outreach events also took place.

Developments in the space were recorded throughout the process on our blog.

Artist residency date and discussion events

Vantage were made available in the Gallery throughout the exhibition to encourage visitors to witness and engage with the work as it continuously unfolded and took form.

The artists welcomed responses from the public and designated specific discussion events when visitors were invited to meet the artists and to pose any questions they had about the work taking place. Below is a record of when these sessions took place:


humhyphenhum, Friday 15 – Friday 22 January (inclusive)
Progress discussion: Wednesday 20 January, 2 pm – 3 pm
Summary discussion: Friday 22 January 3 pm – 4 pm


Lorraine Young, Monday 25 – Tuesday 26 January (inclusive)
Summary discussion: Tuesday 26 January, 3 pm – 4 pm


Joe Graham, Tuesday 2 – Wednesday 3 February (inclusive)
Summary discussion: Wednesday 3 February, 3 pm – 4 pm

Andrew Pepper, Thursday 4 February

Martin Lewis, Friday 5 February


John Court, Monday 8 – Wednesday 10 February (inclusive)
Progress discussion: Tuesday 9 February, 2 pm – 3 pm
Summary discussion: Wednesday 10 February, 4 pm – 5 pm

humhyphenhum, Thursday 11 February

Closing event

Thursday 11th February, 5pm – 8 pm

The exhibition culminated in a closing event on Thursday 11 February from 5 pm – 8 pm, whereby the public were invited to come and see the outcomes of the show as a final staged exhibition.

Drawing on the inspiration of others…

Bonington Gallery Atrium

Alongside the closing event we also hosted an exhibition by 400 students from Architecture and Interior Architecture at Nottingham Trent University and West Bridgford Infant School, who participated in a series of collaborative drawing workshops during the course of Performing Drawology.

Exhibition resources:

From Our Blog

Here you can find a selection of blog posts about the exhibition Performing Drawology

John Court: Durational Drawing

Taken from Monday 8 February: John performs ‘durational drawing’ in the space, using charcoal and a black marker.
Join us from 2 pm – 3 pm today in the Gallery, for an open discussion with John.

West Bridgford Infant School respond to Performing Drawology

Last week, 80 five and six year old’s from West Bridgford Infant School contributed to a collaborative drawing, inspired by our current exhibition, Performing Drawology.  Led by Holly Mills, Ana Souto and Anja Bendix (academic staff from the School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment at NTU), there were three drawing sessions, consisting of 20 minutes each and approximately 25 children.

The first class used black pen to draw on four pieces of paper four metres long. Classical music was also played, which some of the pupils responded to:

The second class then used oil pastels to colour in some of the shapes drawn by the first class, and the third group used paint sticks to colour in the shapes and add more lines:

These drawings will be exhibited in the Atrium Space at the Performing Drawology closing event on Thursday 11 February 2016 from 5 pm – 8 pm, along with drawings created by Architecture and Interior Architecture students from NTU. If you’d like to attend the Performing Drawology closing event, simply RSVP via email to confirm your attendance


Recently, we invited our invigilators (who are all current students here at NTU) to contribute to the blog. Here’s the first piece – written by third year BA (Hons) Fine Art student, Reece:

This remnant artwork has existed OVER my head for nearly three years.

(‘If these walls could talk’)

My Fine Art degree spans OVER three years.

(‘If these walls could talk’)

It is nearly OVER.

(‘If these walls could talk’)

This corrugated ceiling, belonging to the fine art studios at Nottingham Trent University (NTU) has seen many things.

Realisations, celebrations, accidents, reflection, tears, conversation, break downs, friendships, relationships, hard labour, scolding, disaster, enjoyment, perseverance, triumph… All connected to the OVERarching landscape of Fine Art.

Each individual journey, of each student, each member of staff, each technician and each visitor has been charted by this roof.

(‘If these walls could talk’)

Due to the cycle of presenting work throughout each of the years on the course, artwork remains very temporary when in the studios. Any work that survives the annual degree show set up, becomes rather special, dodging the fresh paint, the wood filler and sandpaper. These hidden works are reminders of the past students’ expedition through their practices’, mirroring my own current exploration here at NTU as its end draws ever closer.

I have had three years to solely explore my concepts and discover contexts, constantly working alongside other artists working in every different media and area available. This adorned light enclosure, and the ceiling it hangs from has housed this voyage, watching OVER us, each struggle, each encounter, each accomplishment. To that I owe it something.

The inanimate, unfeeling metal, I owe it.

Asking the question of why we instinctively look up for answers, towards something higher. In this case this is interrupted by the ambiguity of the ‘OVER’ light shining down from the lofty heights of the Fishbowl (a nickname for a space that stuck, its origin also forgotten). A relic of an artist’s legacy that has long left the nest, spread their wings and took flight onto the next journey.

(‘If these walls could talk’)

(‘If these walls could talk’)

(‘If these walls could talk’)

Reece Straw

IMAGE: Reece Straw 2016

Gallery walls used as a blank sheet for live drawing exhibition

Artists will work to an open brief and create a unique and unplanned artwork in a novel drawing exhibition here at the Gallery.

Performing Drawology – which takes place between Friday 15 January and Friday 12 February – will see the creative process unfold live as eight artists undertake separate residencies to create a collaborative drawing on the gallery walls.

The exhibition – which will evolve from one practitioner to the next – is curated by humhyphenhum, a collaboration between Nottingham Trent University lecturer Deborah Harty and Phil Sawdon, an honorary fellow of Loughborough University.

“It’s very experimental, and we have no way of being able to foresee what’s going to happen,” said artist Harty, a researcher in what drawings say about a person’s mind and movements, who also works on her own projects.

“Phil and I asked each artist to bring their drawing toolkit with them, but have left it completely open as to how it manifests in the gallery.

“It could be a major success or a complete disaster – that’s the risk we’re taking. We’re not sure what’s going to be left behind when it’s all finished.”

The artists include Deborah Harty and Phil Sawdon (as humhyphenhumLorraine Young, Catherine Bertola, Maryclare FoaAndrew PepperMartin Lewis and John Court. They were invited on the basis of being open minded to collaborating in an experimental way.

The drawing will be initiated and completed by humhyphenhum. There will be a closing night celebration on Thursday 11 February during which visitors can view the final artwork.

“It’s an incredibly exciting project and we hope that the entire space is engaged in some way,” added Harty.

“In many ways it could be daunting to be faced with what is essentially a considerably large blank sheet of paper. But we’re sure it’s going to be a great success.

“We’re hoping that people will enter the space once the project is completed and see it as a walk-in drawing.”

Reflecting on Performing Drawology – Dominique Phizacklea

Sitting in the Gallery today I have had time to reflect on the evolution that has occurred here over the last few weeks. As I had to be knowledgeable when on shift, I made time to visit and revisit the exhibition, and have watched the changes, which at first seemed subtle, explode outwards.

For me what began as simplistic has become anything but. I was unsure how I would feel when returning to the space each time. The first few weeks, I remember wanting, craving almost a mark to be made upon the clear skin of the white gallery walls, a blemish to appear on the pale rolls of paper. I had enjoyed the feeling of wonder when stumbling on the snail shells and small drawings pinned to the walls like an insect in a specimen tray. But despite this, I have struggled with feelings that the activity was too stuffy or reserved for such a large open space.

I understand the title of the exhibition “Performing Drawology” to mean the actions or performance of drawing, the strokes and movement. Like a dance. With the marks made the evidence of the action. As a Fine Art student we are always reminded to question: “what is the work? Is it the drawings? Or the act of making them?”

I feel my stance on this issue shifted during the continuation of the exhibition. I at first saw the appearance of the sculptural snails and the miniature drawings as the work, only now realising that in the later weeks, I found watching the workings of the artists to be the work and the results almost a by-product.

When returning to view Joe Graham in residence in the exhibition I had the chance to not only be part of the work by assisting him but was able to observe the decisions being formed. Despite what I felt to be a fast-paced approach to the space, I could see each movement made with his body as calculated; each mark made, each incision, each drip. When turning up for my shift, I first felt uncomfortable as the level of change from the almost sleeping state of the exhibition over the weekend of rest had awakened in to a very big and playful scene. I did not think I would like the changes, as someone who does not like change I felt almost anxious seeing the carefully folded concertina paper installations altered, cut up and strewn across the floor.

I did not think I would like exhibition after this but I was wrong. I quickly got in to the groove of Graham’s work and left my shift with a smile on my face, having enjoyed having fun in the gallery.

I return to the act of reflecting. Actively absorbing and thinking. Adjective, doing word. Today, on the last day of the exhibition, I see the finished gallery and conclude that I am among a stage set, an active space. I feel it is impossible to do nothing here now, my eyes wonder around the space in continuous movement. I watch the time-lapse video, noticing the moment where I am present. The sped-up movement return my thoughts to dance. I spin around to look at more of the room, more of the projection.

I take away my conclusion as to what the work is. For me, ultimately, I was the work. The way I now move around the Gallery in response to the performance of the artists is almost as if they had written the play and I am the dutiful performer.

Dominique Phizacklea

BA (Hons) Fine Art, Year 2.

In this post you can find work form the artists in residence during Performing Drawology.


humhyphenhum is the ongoing collaboration of Deborah Harty and Phil Sawdon. Since 2005, the “hums” have developed a method of drawing and research referred to as “meaningful play”. The process of drawing commences through openness and responsiveness to discovery, and a willingness to ‘play’ with marks, media and concepts. Through a dialogue between collaborators, drawings and theme – where each has a role in co-constructing consequences – the hums’ responses, deliberations and reflections are drawn, distorted, erased and redrawn.

Performing Drawology brings this research into the Gallery – allowing the public to witness and engage with the entire process. humhyphenhum will be both curator and artist in residence; the first to enter the space (starting from today), to create a three dimensional drawing. The following artists will then continue to add and respond to the drawing in turn, with humhyphenhum returning to complete the drawing on Thursday 11 February.

RESIDENCE AND DISCUSSION SESSIONS: Friday 15 – Friday 22 January (inclusive)
Progress discussion: Wednesday 20 January, 2 pm – 3 pm
Summary discussion: Friday 22 January 3 pm – 4 pm
Thursday 11 February

IMAGE: ]us[ (digital still), humhyphenhum, 2014

Lorraine Young

Lorraine Young is currently a University teacher in Fine Art at Loughborough University.  Lorraine studied for her undergraduate program in sculpture at the Loughborough College of Art & Design (LCAD) and holds a Masters of Arts in Drawing from the University of the Arts (UAL): Wimbledon.  Her practice is situated in the exploration of drawing.

Monday 25 – Tuesday 26 January (inclusive)
Summary discussion: Tuesday 26 January, 3 pm – 4 pm

More info:

Catherine Bertola

Catherine Bertola’s work involves creating installations, objects and drawings that respond to particular sites, collections and historic contexts.  Underpinning the work is a desire to look beyond the surface of objects and buildings, to uncover forgotten and invisible histories of places and people, as a way of reframing and considering the past.

Catherine Bertola was born in Rugby in 1976; she studied Fine Art at Newcastle University, where she lives and works.  She has worked on a number of commissions and exhibitions, nationally and internationally with institutions such as; Museum of Arts and Design, New York, USA; Kunsthalle zu Kiel, Kiel, Germany; Artium, Vitoria Gastiez, Spain; Temple Gallery, Philadelphia, USA; Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, UK; National Museum Wales, Cardiff, UK; V&A, London, UK; The Government Art Collection, National Trust and Crafts Council, UK.

She has work in several public and private collections and is represented by Workplace Gallery, Gateshead and M+R Fricke, Berlin

Wednesday 27 – Friday 29 January (inclusive)
Progress discussion: Thursday 28 January, 2 pm – 3 pm
Summary discussion: Friday 29 January, 3 pm – 4 pm

More info:

Andrew Pepper
Three Elevated Voids (detail), Andrew Pepper

dimensional volumes in which they are manifest.

He works with holography, projected light and installation to combine and manipulate marks, releasing them from the surface they appear to rest on.

Recent pieces attempt to question our expectations around the visual fidelity of holographic images and employ aspects of the ‘sideward glance’ the peripheral view and the vocabulary of ‘framing’ and ‘placement’.

Thursday 4 February

More info:

Joe Graham
Joe Graham, Performing Drawology

Joe Graham’s artistic practice engages in the production of serially developed drawing, employing processes and structures connected with seriality to ask questions about drawing across a range of media and materials.

His artistic research explores how serially developed drawing re-presents (‘records’) the successive nature of conscious experience, in order to query the assumption that ‘drawing records thought’. Scrutinising the process of drawing in close proximity to Husserlian Phenomenology, he examines ways to connect ‘drawing’ and ‘thought’ via the topic of temporality which underpins both.

In methodological terms, serially developed drawing describes a repeated form across a number of iterations. Within any given series an eidetic method searches for what the individual instance indicates is purely possible. Via this process a rhythm emerges: repetition and difference, within a temporal return.

Drawing described in phenomenological terms as: the diagram of thought.

Tuesday 2 – Wednesday 3 February (inclusive)


Wednesday 3 February, 3 pm – 4 pm

Martin Lewis
Martin Lewis

Martin Lewis is a Nottingham-based artist and PhD research student at Nottingham Trent University.  He also teaches at Loughborough University.

Lewis’ practice explores drawing and thinking as an embodied activity with the focus of the drawing on its act rather than its outcome as an artefact.  The drawings employ simple lines or marks repeated over and over using pre-determined instructions.  The most recent work involves drawing directly with my fingers onto a purpose built amplified ‘desk’ employing sound as the drawings medium. participating in Performing Drawology connects closely to Lewis’ current PhD research providing a critical context for him to test out a live enquiry in conceptual and performative terms in the form of a durational performance-action exploring ideas of drawing and attention.

Friday 5 February

John Court
John Court

John Court was born in 1969 in Bromley, Kent.  He graduated from Camberwell School of Art, London in 1994 and from Norwich School of Art and Design in 1997 with a degree in Sculpture.  He moved to Finland in 1997, and was awarded a three year grant by the Arts Council of Finland.  He lives and works in Lapland, close to the Arctic Circle.

Court has exhibited extensively in Scandinavia, and performed by invitation at major events such 7a*11d in Toronto, Canada, DigitaLive Guangzhou, China, 2014; SpaceX Gallery, Exeter, UK, 2012; Guangzhou Live Art Festival in China and ANTI Contemporary Art Festival , Finland, both 2010; the Venice Biennale, 2005 and the Liverpool Biennial, 2004.

John Court’s performances interweave personal experiences encountered from childhood to the present day. John left school unable to read or write.  He interacts with modified versions of familiar objects that featured throughout the difficult times of his formal education; objects such as desks, dictionaries, pencils and paper.  He worked on building sites in and around London for many years before being introduced to art.

Monday 8 – Wednesday 10 February (inclusive)
Progress discussion: Tuesday 9 February, 2 pm – 3 pm
Summary discussion: Wednesday 10 February, 4 pm – 5 pm

More info:

During the course of Performing Drawology, we documented the gallery as it developed with additions and changes being made by the artists in residence.

Week one

Week Two
Week Three

In residence this week: Joe Graham, Tuesday 2 – Wednesday 3 February; Andrew Pepper, Thursday 4 February; and Martin Lewis, Friday 5 February.

You can see even more photos on the Performing Drawology blog (run by artists and curators of the project, humhyphenhum). You can also explore more of Andrew Pepper’s work from his residency here.

Join us next week for the closing event to see the completion of the exhibition: Thursday 11 February, 5 pm – 8 pm. If you would like to attend, simply RSVP via email to confirm your attendance.

John Court will be the next artist in residence, before humhyphenhum return to the Gallery on the Thursday to bring the drawing process to a close.