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Something in the Air (2015)

Nicola Tyson

graphite on paper

Museum & Art Swindon

Something in the Air (2015)

© Nicola Tyson courtesy the, artist and Sadie Coles HQ, London. Photo credit: Robert Glowacki



Drawing and Watercolour


Paper, Graphite


19.1 x 19.1 cm

Accession Number:



Presented by the Contemporary Art Society, 2017/18

Ownership history:

Purchased from Sadie Coles HQ, London by the Contemporary Art Society, 9 November 2017; presented to Swindon Museum and Art Gallery, 2018


Figure, Flying
Predominantly known as a painter, Nicola Tyson also works with photography, performance, the spoken word and sculpture. Drawing is the foundation of all her work. The four drawings acquired for Swindon Museum and Art Gallery can be read as part of a series, or individually. They share certain characteristics, like the bold confidence in the areas of white paper, densely packed lines of hatching, and the deep liquid grey of her strongest graphite marks. Individually, they offer a portrait, a flower, a landscape and a figure, each both specific and elusive. These four drawings were exhibited at Tyson’s 2017 exhibition, Beyond the Trace, at the Drawing Room in London, which was the first solo exhibition in the UK of Tyson’s drawings.

Tyson’s work will join a small but growing number of drawings by modern female artists in Swindon’s collection, which include Gwen John, Mary Kessell and Eileen Cooper. Their work, too, speaks to identity, connection and landscape, and all embrace the instinctive spontaneity made possible through the act of drawing. Nicola Tyson has strong links to the music and club culture of late 1970s and 1980s London. Swindon Museum and Art Gallery has been interested in collecting new work that not only captures the aesthetics and material possibilities of recent art, but which also responds to the shifting ideas about pop culture, gender and identity in the last few decades. These small drawings capture all these ideas, and many more. Through them, Tyson demonstrates the continuing and uniquely personal power of drawing as a means of expression.

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