The Detail is in the Drawings

Mick Welbourne

Walk into the foyer of Leeds College of Art’s Vernon Street building and you will find a selection of beautifully hued blue drawings.

Shimmering from the walls, at a glance these works look like framed fabric, off-cuts or discarded printing rags.

But they are not. They are intricate, delicate drawings, each taking on average 30 hours of work; each one is skilfully executed creating a remarkable sense of depth on the thin paper, aesthetic beauty, and surprise.

There is no explicit narrative in these works; their random formation gently flows across the paper, interrupted by flecks of dust and imperfections.

This is what makes them so fascinating, somewhere in them is any story that you wish to read; they could be music scores, seismographs or the surface of a swimming pool…

Mick Welbourne

The artist’s process is evident in all the drawings, yet the lines remain so steady that at times I wondered if they really were made by human hand.

This dichotomy between the mechanical and the handmade runs throughout the work, and is a factor in the construction of the drawings.

The background colour is printed onto the paper, without cleaning the printing press of dust so that it interrupts the colour on the paper and form what look like scratches or static noise.

In the downstairs foyer the print is blue so the flecks of dust are easy to see, but for many of the drawings displayed upstairs there was no ink, only the pressure of the press, so the dust becomes invisible indentations on the paper. Mick then draws over the printed surface, the configuration of the drawing being determined by the random placement of the dust flecks.

This is an absorbing and captivating show, the work is beautiful and strangely addictive.

Mick Welbourne


200 Lengths Per Year: New Drawings Made in 2010 by Mick Welbourn is showing until 28 January at Leeds College of Art, Vernon Street, Leeds, LS2 8PH

The exhibition is open to non-students Monday – Thursday 10am- 8pm and Friday 10am – 4pm


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