Painters’ Drawing

Online talk Thu 3 June 2021

An online conversation between four painters on the role of drawing in their painting practice.

Watch Drawing Biennial 2021 artists Marcus Cope, Emma Cousin, Nick Goss and Rachel Jones in conversation with Drawing Room Co-Director Mary Doyle.

About the artists

Born 1980 Bath, Marcus Cope lives and works in London. Graduated from BA Fine Art at Coventry University (2002), and MA Fine Art at Chelsea College of Art and Design (2006). Cope’s figurative drawings and paintings are largely based on specific memories. They might feature someone whom he has met or encountered only very briefly, or someone much closer, his daughter or mum for example. He uses as a starting point that memory to develop an image, collaging elements in his mind over a period of time before committing to paper or canvas. They are often based on memories of time spent in Cyprus, a country he has been visiting regularly since doing a residency at the Cyprus College of Art in 2003.

Born 1986 Yorkshire, Emma Cousin lives and works in London. Graduated from BA Fine Art at The Ruskin School of Fine Art, Oxford (2007). Cousin's figurative work features dynamic, carnivalesque scenarios that explore the space between realism and fantasy, felt experience and communication. Narratives are ambiguous, often double-edged, suggesting multiple potential interpretations of their mises-en-scène. Fluid and entropic, the human forms appear both erotic and sinister, merging and mutating in a sequence of primal interactions. Vividly coloured limbs stretch, contort and conjoin in endless permutations and the body, automaton-like, is transfigured into an assemblage of fleshy tools. Cousin's drawings are often titled with antiquated phrases or her own word plays, quirks of language that offer an off-kilter framework for their layered compositions that evolve through an urgent experimental process, often involving oscillation and tessellation of the figures to find infinite combinations of form, meaning and content. Tension is built by what Cousin has termed the “proximity to obscenity”, through figures that are at once cartoonish and menacing.

Born 1981 Bristol, Nick Goss lives and works in London. Graduated from BA Fine Art, Slade School of Fine Art (2006); and MA Fine Art, Royal Academy Schools (2009). Goss layers personal and collective history on the canvas through scenes of confident accretion and erasure, constructing and reconstructing phenomena that never had physical form. His paintings clearly summon the space of dreams, where time, space and identity slip, but the sense of a journey propels artist and viewer forward. Goss has been the subject of four solo exhibitions at Josh Lilley, along with multiple solo shows at Simon Preston, New York, and Contemporary Fine Arts, Berlin. His first institutional survey, Morley’s Mirror at Pallant House, Chichester was accompanied by a catalogue co-published with Koenig Books, London.

Born 1991 UK, Rachel Jones lives and works in the UK. Graduated from MA at the Royal Academy Schools, London (2019). Jones has developed a deeply personal approach to abstraction, centred around an exploration of her own identity in relation to society’s readings of the black body throughout history. Jones’s paintings are informed by her research into the depiction of black figures in the arts from the eighteenth century to the present – how they are understood and culturally reproduced, and the potential role of these representations in dismantling existing power structures. The figure is notably abstracted in her works, as the artist is interested in ‘using motifs and colour as a way to communicate ideas about the interiority of black bodies and their lived experience’.

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Rachel Jones, A Sliced Tooth2021Oil pastel and oil stick on paper, 13.5 x 19 cmCourtesy the artist & Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, London • Paris • Salzburg