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drawings: the turner contemporary

Margate’s Turner Contemporary opened in April 2011.  The gallery, designed by the architect David Chipperfield, is located on the seafront on the same site where the artist J.M.W. Turner stayed when visiting the town and from where he looked out to sea, capturing the skies of Thanet in his watercolours and drawings.

Grace was commissioned by the gallery to document its construction. The drawings and sketches she made focused on the structures and shapes made by the cast concrete and steel structures that form the main fabric of the building, and the opaque white glass that clads its surface.

“The gallery is situated along the harbour wall exposed to the sea mists and, on a stormy day spray from the sea. In the drawings I tried to capture the building’s (and my own!) exposure to the elements especially, in the early stages of the build, and capture the site in different light conditions as it’s form gradually took shape underneath the mass of steel scaffolding.”

Drawing was an important part of Turner’s life; he carried a sketchbook everywhere, and the commission aimed to highlight the importance of drawing in contemporary practice. Grace had access to the site and with each visit she made numerous sketchbook studies and took photographs.  In the studio she worked to refine and enlarge the drawings, producing a series of drawings, charting the whole construction process.  In addition to the drawings she also made a series of painted glass lightboxes, some of which can be seen here...

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