18th – 28th October 2023, open daily 12 – 6pm (closed Monday).
Private view: 18th October, 6 – 8.30pm
RSVP essential to: AlexandraBlumDrawing@gmail.com
Artist’s Talk: Saturday 21st October, 3pm. All welcome.
Closing drinks: Saturday 28th October, 1-5pm. All welcome.
Drawing from direct observation of the surrounding world can feel like an act of resistance to the speed of contemporary life: a deliberate slowing of the racing mind, a way of seeing more, in order to scrutinise the everyday. Drawing is Alexandra Blum’s primary medium, it gives her an exhilarating and versatile means of directly observing and recording the urban spaces she encounters daily within London.
Two groups of drawings form the heart of her solo show ‘Wayfaring, An exhibition of drawings’. The first made whilst she was at home in north London during the COVID-19 pandemic, the second made over the past year, looking out from her fifth floor studio behind the Thames Barrier.
At first glance they are distinct sets of drawings, juxtaposing domestic and industrial experiences of London. Yet, ‘wayfaring’, as a method of negotiating space, is vital to both.
Anthropologist Tim Ingold defines wayfaring as a process whereby a person moves through a landscape whilst maintaining an ‘active engagement with the country that opens up along [their] path.’ (Tim Ingold, Lines, A Brief History Routledge, 2007; New York and Abingdon: Routledge Classics, 2016 p.78). It’s a description which Alexandra says feels close to the way she mentally travels through space as she draws. Alexandra explains, ‘I’m discovering each landscape gradually, as if feeling my way through the dark, rather than creating a perspectival plan of the entire space from a fixed viewpoint at the outset of the drawing.’
Each image is drawn over several days, sometimes weeks or months, and they are records of the events taking place which Alexandra notices as she draws. She is drawing the world ‘in progress’, and uses her drawing process to reveal the story of place inherent to each location – be that the objects slowly migrating around her living space in accordance with her living patterns, or the shifts between varied zones of habitation visible in the sweeping post-industrial view from her studio behind the Thames Barrier.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue with an insightful essay by Dr Rachel Sloan, Assistant Curator of Works on Paper, The Courtauld Gallery.
Alexandra Blum’s drawings have been included in exhibitions at The Museum of the Home, Hackney Museum and the London Transport Museum. Awards include the Hugh Casson Drawing Prize 2019 at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, an Oppenheim-John Downes Memorial Award 2012 and First Prize in the David Gluck Memorial Bursary for Drawing in 2008. Her interest in ways of visualizing space which are not restricted by the geometry of linear perspective is underpinned by research she undertook during a post-graduate MEXT scholarship, awarded by the Japanese Ministry of Education, at Kyoto City University of Arts, Japan (1996-8).