DRAW: Curator Isabel Seligman tours the MA Drawing show

Text and images by Caroline Holt- Wilson, MA Drawing, Wimbledon College of Arts


About 35 of us met, including current and recent postgraduate students, alumni, staff and the general public to enjoy the occasion of this DRAW event held at UAL Wimbledon College of Art to celebrate the Final Show of the MA drawing postgraduates.

Tania Kovats, DRAW leader and MA Drawing Course leader had invited Isabel Seligman Curator for the Bridget Riley Foundation based in the department of Prints and Drawings at the British Museum to give her consideration to the work on display.

Allocated a meagre 5 minutes with each artist and their work, the gathering witnessed Isabel’s adept grasp and understanding of each piece; an Oxford graduate in English Literature, she holds an MA from the Courtauld Institute of Art which perhaps explains how she found fitting literary and historical context so readily; she effortlessly cut to the essence of each work with enthusiastic encouragement; her questioning was in the nature of inquiry, keen to confirm with the artists the accuracy of her perception. It was a tour de force.  From conscious and unconscious levels she drew out narrative, indexical qualities, senses of space; she recognised subversion, the value of process and the use of materials authenticating and identifying each work in time and place.


The group were also given the opportunity to view the student led exhibition Unframed; this exhibition related directly to Isabel Seligman’s work alerting and encouraging art students to the vast collection of prints and drawings at the British Museum. Current postgraduate students had been invited to select any drawing from the online catalogue and to follow it up with a visit to the Study Room to draw from those very pieces. Unframed showed the work they either made at the time or that came about later directly as a result of their experience at the museum.

Isabel appreciated the range and approach of the work on display, in particular, recognising the unique signature of the artists she had interviewed earlier, she singled out ‘blindly’ drawn repetitions of Durer’s hands, chorography notations projected onto a Rodin drawing of dancers – anticipating their next few movements, a dictionary of marks, and the way the idea of Lynn Chadwick’s Alabama Moon was taken to a new sculptural level of scale, plane and colour.

The event concluded with sad farewells and well-wishing to the final year students from Tania.

Installation shot of ‘Unframed’

More about Isabel Seligman:

Isabel Seligman is the Bridget Riley Art Foundation Exhibition Curator in the department of Prints and Drawings at the British Museum. She is working on a project encouraging art students to explore and take advantage of the museum’s vast graphic collection, comprising 50,000 drawings and over two million prints. She is the curator of the touring exhibition Lines of thought: Drawing from Michelangelo to now and author of the accompanying book published by Thames & Hudson.

More about DRAW:

DRAW (Drawing Research at Wimbledon) is a postgraduate reading group focusing on interdisciplinary approaches to drawing.  DRAW is led by Tania Kovats, (Course Director, MA Drawing) and supported by the UAL Postgraduate Community.

To join the DRAW mailing list, email: c.brueton@arts.ac.uk