The Sound of Success: Interview with the Jerwood Drawing Prize Winner

by Cass Art

You heard right. For the first time in its twenty year history, a sound piece has won the Jerwood Drawing Prize.

Adjectives, lines and marks was made by Alison Carlier. An open-ended audio drawing that consists of a spoken description of an unknown object, the piece won first prize and £8,000.

The sound piece has sparked several questions - is it wrong to champion something that isn't classically a drawing, for a prize with drawing in the title? Or is it keeping things fresh, acknowledging that drawing can be more than a mark on a page?

We asked winner Alison Carlier about her piece, and whether she thought she was a controversial choice.

Winner Alison Carlier at Jerwood Drawing Prize 2014

Congratulations on winning the Jerwood Drawing Prize. Can you describe your piece?

Adjectives, lines and marks is a piece of text read aloud, describing a Roman pot. The object is alluded to rather than named, keeping the piece open-ended. It came from studying both handwriting and drawing, then honing in on speech and paring it down.

The text comes from a reference book, but the language used is rich, concerning the object's materiality. It descriptively charts the object just as the eye might in a 2D representation. Yet it is more for the ears than the eyes; the visuals remain in your imagination.

It’s interesting to consider drawing as never reaching the page. That's where the proximity to thought comes in.

Someone listening to the Jerwood Drawing prize sound piece 

Do you think your work is a controversial winner?

Yes! I think all mediums are ready to be stretched to their outer limits.

What is drawing to you?

Drawing is a way of getting thoughts out.

It’s an escape-artist, less tied down by conventions and canons than neighbouring artistic mediums. This gives it huge potential to be wide and far-ranging; it's that directness and closeness to thought that I love about it.

A crowd listening to the Jerwood Drawing Prize winner 

Image Credits:

Alison Carlier, Installation view, Adjectives, lines and marks, Jerwood Drawing Prize 2014. Photography

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