Nicola Tyson, Beyond the Trace - opening 27 Sept

Nicola Tyson, Beyond the Trace - opening 27 Sept


Nicola Tyson, Beyond the Trace
28 September – 12 November 2017  

Private view Wednesday 27 September 6.30 - 8.30pm 
Opening with a conversation between the artist and Adrian Searle 5.30 - 6.30pm


Drawing Room is pleased to announce an exhibition of works on paper by British born, New York based artist Nicola Tyson 

Beyond the Trace will be the first solo exhibition in the UK of Tyson’s drawings. Predominantly known as a painter, Tyson also works with photography, performance, the written word and more recently sculpture. Underpinning all her practice is drawing.

The show will include a range of work: sketchbook pages; ‘daily drawings’ made since 2015 and posted on social media; large graphite drawings; life-sized ink drawings and mono-prints made especially for the exhibition. Working intuitively and from memory, these gestural pencil drawings are a re-imagining of the female body. They are highly animated, androgynous, self-contained and surreal.

“When I begin to draw, I have no idea what’s going to appear. I work swiftly, to stay just ahead of the cage of language, the linear mind and rational decision-making. I just let the forms grow themselves, self-organize…”


Isolated on the page, or positioned against lightly drawn lines - suggestive of a landscape - Tyson’s ‘self-organised’ pencil figures hold a strong presence. Appendages that are part human, part animal or part creature morph. Lumpy torsos sprout spindly legs or a bird-like beak.  A hollow-eyed figure might look out from under a heavy cloak-cum-body part.  In Tyson’s work, a piece of clothing possesses as much figurative potential as a body part.

“The frock is my ‘vacant muse’, as are pelmets, fringes, knickers, bed skirts… all are cathected and repurposed with my pencil”

Using ink allows Tyson to produce large scale works as intuitively as her pencil drawings. In this medium, the metamorphic nature of her figures are realised through fluid lines.

In all of her works, figures stand tall, peering out to meet our scrutiny. Each figure, in its absurdity and humour, expresses the vulnerability of the body subjected to our gaze.

The exhibition will open with a conversation between Tyson and art critic Adrian Searle. For information and tickets see here.

Drawing Room will organise additional events throughout the show, the dates of which will be shared with our mailing list and online.


Nicola Tyson (b. 1960, London) has exhibited internationally. Recent solo exhibitions include: A Tendency to Flock, Sadie Coles HQ, London (2017); The Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, St. Louis (2017); Living Dangerously, Cleveland Institute of Art; Petzel, New York, (2016).  Group exhibitions include Mutual Admiration Society, Corbett vs Dempsey, Chicago (2017); The Marked Self: Self-Portraits between Annihilation and Masquerade, Neue Galerie Graz, Austria (2015); The Nakeds, Drawing Room, London (2014), toured to De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill on Sea, Sussex, and The Cat Show, White Columns, New York (2013).


Nicola Tyson’s work is in the collections of Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Philadelphia Museum of Art; San Francisco

Museum of Modern Art; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; The Corcoran Gallery of Art at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C; UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Tate Gallery, London.