As a means of communication and navigation, drawing has taken on a universality and accessibility unlike any other medium. It is a building block of creativity, key to the visualisation and translation of ideas and practices, fundamental in making, doing, testing, failing, designing, thinking, playing and living.

The boundaries between drawing and other art forms have always been blurred. When does the outline become the painting, the graph become the blueprint, the line become the work?

Drawing has taken on different definitions across the centuries, crossing spatial and theoretical boundaries, creating signposts that act as intersections between disciplines as diverse as typography and photography. Drawing allows us to analyse, record, map, mark and form, making the abstract legible, and the legible oblique. Its history is inscribed with legibility as it skirts around the boundaries of text and image. It can be either a representation, or an expression, creating shadows and memories, marks and imprints, traces in space.

Drawn aims to raise the profile of drawing, presenting it as both an autonomous discipline and an interdisciplinary tool. From artists who either draw, or explore the concept of drawing in their work, the show features work from illustrators, videographers, sculptors, printers, embroiderers, typographers, animators and architects.

Artists have been encouraged to use wall and floor space utilising both traditional and experimental techniques and technologies. Invited artists Simon Read and Reece Jones will be exhibiting work that epitomises both new and traditional directions in drawing and The Drawing Lab will be open to the public throughout.

The Drawing Lab

The Drawing Lab is an interactive artist-led studio space designed to encourage audience participation and interaction. The space will be open to the public throughout the exhibition and will provide drawing materials for the public to make use of, either drawing in-situ or around the building. RWA artists will be working within the space over the duration of the exhibition creating an opportunity to discuss their practice in relation to drawing.

For a list of what dates artists will be working in the lab please download the latest schedule here, we will be updating this on a weekly basis as more artists get involved.

Artist Residency 1 - Karen Wallis

Artist Network member Karen Wallis will be working in the exhibition responding to the range of different drawing methods by making a collection of drawings created through interaction with visitors to the gallery. This collection will exist in two forms: a physical object in the gallery and a virtual version online. The form of both versions will directly reflect the content of the exhibition and be made in response to interaction with the public, the exhibiting artists and staff at the gallery. Karen will be working in the galleries every Friday throughout the exhibition and work in progress will be available to view online and in The Drawing Lab.

Karen Wallis

Artist Residency 2 – Debbie Locke

Artist Network member Debbie Locke will be exploring her practice as part of an on-going exploration in her work into the process of mapping. Drawing forms the basis of her practice as the most immediate and expressive way to record her on-going investigations into the process of ‘mapping’. In order to study the disparity between logical and irrational behaviour she creates environments where rules and boundaries can be broken and crossed, by simultaneously imposing and relinquishing control. This often takes the form of kinetic drawing installations, comprising of wall-based autonomous drawing machines. These installations run continuously over several days, creating documents as evidence of the process. Debbie will be running a series of workshops throughout Drawn as well as working in The Drawing Lab on Wednesdays.

Debbie Locke


HATCH is a drawing project run by PhD researchers based at the University of the West of England and aims to bring together researchers and practitioners in order to explore, expand, uncover and incubate themes around drawing. HATCH is a forum for practical experimentation, collaborative initiatives, discussion and criticism, and exhibition and exposition. We hope to create and encourage an environment for drawing - and drawing conversation - that reflects the broadest investigation of methods and outcomes.

Project members will be drawing in the galleries and conducting drawing exercises and games on Saturday and Sunday 20-21 April, and Monday & Tuesday 6-7 May between 10-1pm, and 2-5pm. Informal discussions around drawing-related issues such as the sketchbook, drawing and photography, and life drawing will take place in the afternoon of the 21 April and 7 May, and visitors are welcome to join these and also to flick through the sketchbooks on show throughout our time at the RWA.

Visit HATCH website for more info here.

Action / Assemblage: Drawing Together

4th May and 19th May

Action/Assemblage: Drawing Together

Signart – poetry created and delivered entirely in sign language- is rich in image. When the Signartist uses his hands, body and face to create these images, can he be said to be drawing? Is he drawing in, of and through language?

And what of the images he creates? Do they exist only in space- as traces or afterimages? Can they be described as drawings?

Come along to witness the Action in The Drawing Lab.

Observe the Signartist as he sketches his work, join members of HATCH as they draw on paper to record, investigate and respond to the Signartist, and have your thoughts stimulated as you do so.

Kyra Pollitt curates this ‘Happening’, which models her current doctoral investigations. Why not get involved in the discussion, make your own drawing, or submit your comment to take an active part in the research?

All ages welcome.

For an up-to-date list of dates when artists will be working in the space please call the RWA on 0117 973 5129.

23 March - 2nd June

Admission prices

Adult Gift aid admission £4.50

Concessions £3

Repeat Exhibition ticket (unlimited repeat visits to this show) £8

Under 16s/Filton Students FREE

Opening times

Monday - Saturday - 9.30-5pm Sunday - 11 - 5pm Last admission half an hour before closing