Lesley Halliwell is perhaps best known for her enormous, industrious Spirograph drawings made using a simple plastic toy from her own childhood. Her work has received considerable exposure, regionally and nationally, including Beauty is the First Test, The Pumphouse Gallery, London (2012), The Jerwood Drawing Prize (2010), Superabundant, Turner Contemporary, Pattern Recognition, City Gallery Leicester (both 2009) and Bloombergs New Contemporaries (2002)
The Alice-in-Wonderland scale transforms the Spirograph motif from something familiar into works with a contemporary sensibility. Like sophisticated graffiti the Mandala-like drawings impose themselves on the viewer and in the architecture of the space while their playfulness belies the obsessive and focused application needed for their execution. In recent drawings the single cell-like forms morph into each other, fuse and split creating simple kaleidoscopic structures. This in turn has led to a new body of works where Halliwell investigates, in a more conscious and systematic manner, the underlying principles of mathematics and geometry. The relationship between the underlying structure of the work and the finish of the surface is further explored in recent gilded ‘drawings.
Lesley Halliwell originally trained as a painter (BA Hons Nottingham University, 1989) and has gone on to gain an MA in Twentieth Century Art History (Goldsmiths, London, 1995) and an MA in Fine Art (Manchester Metropolitan University, 2001). She is currently undertaking a practice based PhD (AHRC) at MIRIAD, Manchester Metropolitan University (2014-2020). She is also a regular Visiting Lecturer (2002-date) in Fine Art at the University of Chester and has work in private collections in London, New York and Europe.