Drawing Biennial 2019

Exhibition & online fundraising auction of over 200 unique works on paper

Exhibition: 20 February – 26 March · Auction: 11 March 10am – 26 March 9.30pm


Joy Gerrard

Protest Crowd (No Brexit, People’s Vote March, Parliament Square, London, 2018)

Year 2019
Medium Japanese ink on paper
Dimensions 21.5 x 29.4 cm
Bidding Open Mon 11 March, 2019 at 10:00am
Bidding Ended Tue 26 March, 2019 at 9:30pm

About the work:

Gerrard’s crowds are viewed from above and repeatedly framed within built environments that give them significance and constrain them. Moments of protest are thus figured against more enduring historical structures, while the re-scaling of news images into dramatic, painterly forms disrupts their everyday signification.

Gerrard’s most recent work documents the huge protests against Brexit in London between June and October 2018. Here, her monochrome palette comes to invoke the binary oppositions of contemporary British politics, it’s elemental simplicity belying a more complex meditation on the imaging of protest. The world Gerrard presents is one on which she withholds comment. Paradoxically, her re-imaging practice suggests a new reflection on the power of images, however ephemeral they are. At a time when mutual recognition and shared meaning have become precarious, here at least, the resistant are a presence to be contemplated.

About the artist:

Born 1971 Tipperary, Joy Gerrard lives and works in Belfast. Graduated from National College of Art and Design, Ireland (1995); MA Royal College of Art (2001); and MPHIL Royal College of Art (2008).

Drawing on over a decade of image-making and research on themes of protest and urban space, Irish artist Joy Gerrard archives and painstakingly remakes media-borne crowd images, including those from the anti-Trump protests, Brexit and Black Lives Matter. Alongside abstract film pieces, these are re-imaged in large monochrome paintings and small complex drawings made with Japanese ink. In her work, the figure of the crowd comes to suggest the expression of collective agency. Gerrard's crowds are viewed from above, suggesting the remove of media surveillance, while the fluidity and drama of their moment is expressed through precise, expressive mark-making.

Her works are held in public and private collections including The Glucksman Gallery, Cork; Standard Life, Edinburgh; Museum of Central Finland, Jyvaskyla; and Il Bisonte International Centre of Graphic Art, Florence. 

Selected solo exhibitions include Put it to the People, Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast (2020); Solo booth, Ormston House, Art Supermarket, Stockholm (2019); fractured crowd, Wexford Arts Centre, Wexford (2019); The North is Next, Billboard Project, Kingsgate Gallery, London (2018); shot crowd, Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin and MCAC, Portadown (2017); and Protest Crowd, PEER, London (2015). Selected group exhibitions include The RHA Annual, Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin (2020); Cristea Roberts Gallery, The Armoury, New York (2020); Moving Spaces, Glucksman Gallery, Cork (2020); John Gerrard/Joy Gerrard. Making History, Vienna Art Week (2019); Protest and Remembrance, Cristea Roberts Gallery, London (2019); Crossing Lines, Highlanes Gallery, Drogheda and FE McWilliam Gallery, Banbridge (2018); and Graphic Witness, Drawing Room, London (2017).

Residencies and awards include Artist in Residence, Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris (Jan-Mar 2020); and Major Bursary Award, Arts Council of Ireland (2020).