The Studio: Laura Wend, MA Drawing
Laura Wend is one of our talented graduating MA Drawing students who will be exhibiting her work at the MA Summer Show this year.
We spoke to Laura about what she will be exhibiting at the Summer Show, the way her practice has transformed over the course of the MA Drawing and what she has enjoyed most about studying at Wimbledon.
What made you decide to want to study the MA Drawing at Wimbledon?
Following on from my BA in Art and Design, I knew I wanted to continue to develop my practice further and, in particular, expand my view of what constitutes drawing. The MA at Wimbledon provided a great opportunity to participate in current discourse around drawing, including taking part in and leading postgraduate reading groups such as DRAW (Drawing Research at Wimbledon). I was really excited to work under the direction of artist and course leader Tania Kovats, as well as to gain access to a studio space, on-hand academic and technical support and amazing facilities.
What have you enjoyed most about studying the MA Drawing?
I have enjoyed the experience of working with the MA Drawing students and college staff the most. Peer workshops provided amazing insights into the practice of others and how they approached their work. They were a great way of bonding as a group, collaboratively making work and bringing together diverse experiences and backgrounds through a shared interest in drawing. Group crits were invaluable but we also crossed over and worked closely with other courses such as the MA Painting. The college provides a great community of students with a creative and supportive atmosphere.
What have you found the most challenging part of the course?
I found the intensity of doing an MA in one year the most challenging. I knew I wanted to completely throw myself into the course and study full-time, but would love to have had the opportunity to experiment more with new techniques outside of my practice. The workshop inductions we do at the beginning of the course are so exciting and provide a great insight into various disciplines we can explore further. Whilst the first half of the course is very much about re-orientating your practice and experimentation, there are still so many facilities and workshops I would like to spend more time with. The MA Drawing has been incredibly fast-paced and concentrated with a steep learning curve. It has been an invaluable experience and certainly one that I will keep referring back to and reflect on in the future.
How would you describe your practice?
My practice explores the interface between drawing and photography. This includes how both disciplines relate to the artist, the object and the viewer, as well as how I can challenge the protocols of ‘looking’ through materiality. Predominantly, my critical responses have been realised through drawing, with photography, printmaking and artist books used as an extension of this practice. I have used these media to explore my local environment, placing a strong emphasis on drawing as a means of engaging directly with my subject matter and truly seeing the object.
Most recently, I have sought alternative means of expression through experimentation and a stronger focus on photography. Through combining the two, a blurring of conventional distinctions between the mediums occurs and the viewer is required to reconsider previous expectations and assumptions about what photography and drawing are best at conveying. Through the lens, I try to capture intimate details overlooked or otherwise not visible to the human eye. Editing these further, features are ‘drawn’ out to discover the object in a new way.
How do you think your practice has changed and developed over the course of the MA Drawing?
My work had always been very traditional in terms of materials and technique, making very carefully considered marks and using a labour-intensive approach. The MA Drawing course has enabled me to encounter a far wider range of approaches to drawing and has often required me to work outside of my comfort zone. Through various artist workshops, inductions, lectures and peer workshops, I have learnt new techniques and skills, ways of collaborating and become freer and more experimental in my approach to drawing.
I quickly realised that it is not always about focusing on mimesis (creating a likeness based on standards of academic drawing) or knowing what the outcome of the work will be. A large part of drawing has always been materiality, which has been challenged by the application of experimental supports and mark-making devices, considering different surfaces and methods of making a mark. As a result, I have introduced more risk and an increasingly multidisciplinary approach in my work.
What are you planning to exhibit at the Summer Show?
For the past few weeks, I have been working on disrupting my drawing practice further, to bring something new and exciting to the Summer Show. I am planning to exhibit a large scale piece that combines both photography and drawing. I have placed particular emphasis on the surface of paper, graphite marks, the drawing and digital printing process and their engagement with the surface.
The aim is not to define or set disciplinary boundaries but to explore the parallels and overlaps as well as stimulate debate about the nature, value, status and representation of drawing and photography as contemporary art. Will the viewer take more time to decipher a combination of photograph and drawing? Where do we draw the line between them? Have they remained obstinately separate or has an ‘expanded practice’ brought these two disciplines closer together? We have all been working very hard these past few weeks and I am looking forward to seeing the results of our accumulated efforts in the Summer Show.
To find out more about Laura and her work, visit her website.
Learn more about studying MA Drawing at Wimbledon College of Arts.
We hope you can join us at our MA Summer Show this year! Find out dates and times.