Lesley Halliwell

Visiting Lecturer in Fine Art


1999 MA Fine Art, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester
1993 MA History of Art, Goldsmith's College, University of London
1987 BA (Hons) Fine Art, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham


Lesley Halliwell has become known for making large scale ambitious drawings using a simple and very cheap Spirograph kit. She has received considerable exposure, regionally and nationally, including The Jerwood Drawing Prize, Bloombergs New Contemporaries and a nomination for Becks Futures.


The Spirograph drawings began as an extension of an exploration of pattern. Over the years the work has become less about nostalgia and more about the repetition of (the same) marks on paper. The process is often tedious, banal and uncomfortable; sitting on the same position for hours on end, usually on the floor, bending forward to reach the paper, holding the plastic disc down with the left hand and scribbling with the right. It's ironic that a play thing should be subverted into an instrument of torment.

Rather like a sophisticated graffiti the drawings, which are in themselves feats of endurance titled by the length of time they took to make, impose themselves on the viewer and within the architecture of the space. Their references to popular culture, to decoration and abstraction, to authorship and process art places them within a critical arena. Time, endurance and the tension between chaos and control are at the core of her practice.

Published work

Solo Exhibitions

2010 All the Small Things, Grosvenor Museum & Art Gallery, Chester
2008 Hypotrochoids, Hive Gallery, Barnsley
2008 Reach, The Chapman Gallery, Salford
2008 Time and Time Again, Touchstones, Rochdale
2007 Going Straight, The Otter Gallery, Chichester
2006 Tutti Fruitti, BLOCspace, Sheffield
2003 Turning Circle, Taxi Gallery, Cambridge

Group exhibitions

2010 Above The Serious, Stoke Newington Library, London
2010 The Conversation, Newton Church, Chester
2010 Wish You Were Here; An Exploration into Drawing & Journeys, Bath Spa University Gallery, Weston-super-Mare
2010 The Affordable Art Fair, Alicia David Contemporary Art, London & New York
2010 Making Marks, Touchstones Gallery, Rochdale
2010 The Jerwood Drawing Prize, Jerwood Space, London (& touring)
2010 Lines of Desire, Oriel Davies Gallery, Newtown, Wales
2010 The Drawing Shed, Project Space Leeds, (PSL)
2010 AXIS curated show,, Arts Council England,, London
2010 4 Degrees, Cube Gallery, Manchester
2010 At Play 2, South Hill Park, Berkshire
2009 FRINGEMK, Catalogue Finalist, Milton Keynes
2009 Wrexham Open (Prizewinner; Best Professional), Oriel Wrecsam, Wales
2009 Encounter, Novas, Liverpool
2009 Pattern Recognition, The City Gallery, Leicester
2009 A42D, Bloc Space, Sheffield
2009 Grosvenor Open (Prizewinner), Grosvenor Museum, Chester
2009 Superabundant - Pattern in Contemporary Art, Turner Contemporary, Margate
2009 Sale, The Royal Standard, Liverpool
2008 Present, Hive Gallery, Barnsley
2008 The Baltic Frame, Arena Gallery, Liverpool Biennial
2007 Repeat Repeat: Negotiated Positions, University College Chester, Chester
2006 Wall to Wall, VINEspace, Vyner Street, London
2006 Multiples, LOT, Bristol
2004 We Go Round and Round in the Night and are Consumed by Fire, Terminal Warehouse, New York &, Liverpool Biennial
2004 Remote Control, Angel Row Gallery, Nottingham
2004 Pizza Express Prospects, Tea Building, London
2003 Thermo 03, The Lowery, Salford
2002 Mostyn 12, Oriel Mostyn Gallery, Llandudno
2002 New Contemporaries, The Barbican, London
2001 All Colours Will Agree in the Dark, Corner House, Manchester

Competitions, prizes and awards

2010 The Jerwood Drawing Prize (finalist), The Jerwood Space,, London
2004 Pizza Express Prospects, (Finalist), Tea Building, London
2004 Michael Gourley Award, MAFA Open, Manchester
2003 Beck's Futures, (nominated), ICA, London
2002 Bloombergs New Contemporaries, THe Barbican, London &, Static, Liverpool