Lesley Hicks


Lesley Hicks is a Senior Lecturer at Teesside University. She studied Fine Art at Newcastle University and Painting at the Royal Academy Schools. Her drawing interests revolve around the subject of landscape, exploring how the nature of the experience of landscape might influence or inform the drawn mark.

Computer screen technologies are such a pervasive and intimate cultural presence in our lives that the digital is no longer separate to the material world, but instead, each influence the other. In some cases, the psychological and sensory dialogue set up between the computer-mediated world and the physical, experiential one can be an exciting territory, ripe for investigation.

This was the scenario in the development of the drawings featured in Definitions of Drawing II, which explore a viewpoint disconnected from the natural world they depict. They are hand rendered drawings developed from webcam images retrieved from a road traffic website that monitors and records roads and weather conditions countrywide in Iceland. The Icelandic climate and unpredictable geological shifting’s perhaps account for the great proliferation of webcams recording roads which run through these broad and often remote tracts of land. Every 15 minutes a new still image is uploaded to the website from each camera, providing a constantly fluctuating bank of images.

Occasionally these cameras malfunction, producing the still images containing glitches used to develop some of these drawings. The glitches present a vulnerable, disintegrating image of the landscape. On close inspection of these glitches, it appeared to Lesley that each camera malfunctioned in an individual manner suggesting the notion that the web camera itself was making its own mark.

While a new photographic image appears on the website every fifteen minutes, the drawings by contrast are time consuming to make, and built up gradually through multiple layers of repetition. The experience of being imaginatively elsewhere, suggested by the screen landscape, is replaced by the being here in the studio, returned to the here and now by the physical act of making.

Lesley’s work has featured in a range of exhibitions, including Driven to Draw: Twentieth-Century Drawings and Sketchbooks from the Royal Academy’s Collection at the Royal Academy, godsbridgeX at Bowes Museum, and Contemporary Drawing from Britain, Xi’an Academy of Fine Arts, China. Lesley was shortlisted for the Jerwood Drawing Prize in 2017, the Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize in 2022, and Drawn Together, Platform A in Middlesborough 2023.