Lesley Halliwell, Fanatic (work in process).
Lesley Halliwell, Fanatic (work detail).
Lesley Halliwell, Shrinking Violet.
Lesley Halliwell, Shrinking Violet (detail).
Position the template and press down with the left hand & hold firmly. Hold the biro with the right hand. Place the nib of the pen in the chosen hole of the disc. Start to draw by rolling the smaller circular disc within the larger circle. Round and around until the biro reaches its original starting point. Move the template and repeat.
It starts with a simple step and then another that add up like taps on a drum to a rhythm. Not dissimilar to the rhythm of walking; the placing of one foot in front of the other; shifting the weight from left to right to right to left. In itself, one step, one line, is quite insignificant, but they add up.
I have been making work with biro pens for over ten years now. Marks on paper; intimate, honest and raw. The drawing starts from a central point. Carefully measured pencil lines direct and guide the overall structure while the pen nib leaves a trail of ink behind it. Mistakes are recorded along the way, absorbed into the body of the drawing. My hand slips, the pressure of the pen alters, pens run out of ink; key moments that are left as a trace of a journey and the memory of a process which records and reveals human experience.
Sometimes the pen produces lines that are light and delicate. When ink runs dry the metal nib embosses the paper leaving an indentation visible only when caught in the light. At other times ink splutters onto the page in all its glory; the pen nib works fast, worrying away the fibres of the paper, the ink building up layer after layer; lush, rich and sticky. Marks like this, that are placed so close together, produce blocks of vibrant colour. The white background is obscured, shifting the line-based composition into new and uncertain territory.
Lesley Halliwell has exhibited extensively throughout the UK including the touring show Beauty is the First Test originating at The Pumphouse Gallery, London (2012-14), The Infinity Show, NN Northampton (2013), The Jerwood Drawing Prize (2010), The Drawing Shed, Project Space Leeds (2010), Superabundant – A Celebration of Pattern, Turner Contemporary (2009) and Bloombergs New Contemporaries (2002)
Lesley originally trained as a painter (BA(Hons) Nottingham Trent University) and has gone on to gain an MA in Twentieth Century Art History (Goldsmiths, London) and an MA in Fine Art (Manchester Metropolitan University). She is a Fine Art Lecturer at the University of Chester and a member of Suite Studio Group in Salford. She has work in private collections in London, New York and Europe.