Drawing and the Remembered City
This paper discusses place, memory and drawing. It demonstrates how place can be a key theme for illustrators and artists, acting as a container or metaphor for social, political and historical ideas. Mood and atmosphere in drawing is considered, and the influence of colour, light and shadow. These characteristics are alternative ways of evoking complex ideas, emphasizing intuition and emotion in addition to an intellectual and conceptual approach.
Drawing has an urgent, shorthand nature which can be a direct conduit to the imagination – a doorway to the unconscious. As Joseph Herman the Jewish political artist said: “Drawing always knows better than I what I want to say.”
This presentation asks whether memory and drawing can work together to trigger unexpected imagery and make imaginative predictions. It celebrates the intense pleasure of working in a landscape in the open air, and alternatively, of working from memory, (and from other references), away from the scene.
These questions will be examined in the context of two solo drawing projects concerning the urban landscape of King’s Cross London, both of which use memory and drawing, both visually and conceptually – in different ways.
The first: ‘Remember Me’ – Guardian Media 2009 – commemorated the disappearing buildings in the neighbourhood of King’s Cross and St. Pancras and imagined a fictitious architectural future.
The second, ‘Present in the Past’ – Collyer Bristow 2015, worked with copies of old engravings from London prints and drawings archives and changed their scale, context and content (by erasing and re drawing) to evoke the interweaving of time and memory into a kind of palimpsest.
Anne Howeson worked as illustrator for many years, in Europe and America. She now develops drawing projects, concerning place, time and communities. Her first solo exhibition ‘Remember Me’ (The Guardian 2009) looked at regeneration in King’s Cross. She was selected for the Derwent Art prize and the National Open Art Award in 2014 and was an invited artist with Discerning Eye in 2011 and 2016. Her 2015 solo exhibition, ‘Present in the Past’, at Collyer Bristow, took digital fragments from the Museum of London’s prints and drawings archive, transforming them in scale and content to evoke a sense of passing time. Monocle Radio London interviewed her about this project. In September 2015 she had a further solo show, ’Imagining King’s Cross’ at Cross Street Gallery, London.
Anne Howeson is a Jerwood Drawing Prize winner, with work in the collection of the Museum of London and the Guardian News and Media. As a lecturer her work focuses on drawing and visual research.