The Score - Lesley Halliwell


Lesley Halliwell is an visual artist currently undertaking a practice-based PhD at Manchester School of Art. Her research is about the depth of surface and it is through her practice based enquiry that she aims to more fully understand the interplay between the outward-facing and the inward supporting components of the picture plane.

This year our Artists’ Camp week took place against the backdrop of the World Cup. In football, the score is of the utmost of importance, it is a matter of winning or losing.

The word ‘score’ however, has several other meanings depending on the context in which it is used. During the week I collaborated with composer and pianist Isabel Benito Gutiérrez. Together we wrote a musical score that was structured in direct response to my drawing process. Containing variations of speed, pitch, dynamics and timbre who would have predicted that by the end of the week a painter, who was far more comfortable with working in a studio alone, would be conducting an ensemble of instruments in front of an audience of attentive listeners? These unexpected outcomes are what makes the Artists’ Camp so special, encouraging us to see our work from different perspectives and ultimately grow as practitioners.

A score can also refer to ‘a notch or line cut or scratched into a surface’. Back in the printmaking studio I worked on Perspex with a sharp point, scratching the surface to make a series of indentations which were later filled with ink. Using Sidney Nolan’s original printing press the plate and paper were sandwiched together, one surface transferring its ink onto the other, as if by magic.

Prior to the residency I had been grappling with the balance between the structural elements of my painting and a reliance on pattern to unify the surface balanced against a more intuitive form of image making. A score embodies both a structural and material meaning and, through collaboration and experimentation, I have been reminded of the importance of both. By the end of the week I think it was safe to say that we were all winners.

Lesley Halliwell

Read more from the group's own blog HERE.