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Simon Woolham

Simon Woolham is an artist, lecturer (University of Huddersfield) and musician (L.A.S.H.) whose primary practice is expanded drawing. He is based at ROGUE ARTISTS' STUDIOS in Manchester and performs the everyday as his alter-ego 'The Frog'.

My work is concerned primarily with occupied spaces; school playing fields, junked underpasses and the like that often contain text with the tone of dialogue and the personal and collective narrative that unfolds in them. I explore layers of history, drawing out narrative, glimpses of speech. The dilapidated environments come to life in a skint version of enchantment: a tree stump or a broken fence, are filled with the meanings of the events that go on around and about them. At the core of my practice is the collaborative exploration and encouragement of hidden human details, shared histories, stories associated with belonging and the relationship to specific places and spaces; providing a voice to often unheard vistas of history.

I explore a variety of processes, specifically around expanded drawing and through the concept of creating a physical, virtual and psychological artistic residency of the mind, mixing live and digital platforms, encouraging narrative associated with a multitude of spaces and times. In my attempts to unearth this unpredictable and fragile process of layers of history, I utilise both traditional and non-traditional processes, biro drawings, sculpture, performance, paper interventions, animation, video, collaborative walking and text. I see the biro drawings as a way of performing layers of narrative in the present, through the act of drawing them out for both myself and for others. This is processed through how hard, how soft, how detailed and how vague I am, a representation of the layered spatial narrative plane. 

The work is unassuming, quite often made from simple materials and with seemingly modest aspirations. It is their quotidian qualities, however, that charges them with emotion, not that those emotions are easy to identify. It is not that these works are personal or autobiographical that obscures their emotional content, it is the fact that they are irreducibly, irrevocably unsettling. These sites are the scenes of humiliation as well as innocent play, of rejection and failure as well as fantasy and adventure.



2012–2016     Funded Practice-Led PhD, MIRIAD – Manchester Metropolitan University: Pass

1999–2000     MA Fine Art, Chelsea College of Art: Distinction

1996–1999     BA Fine Art, Manchester Metropolitan University: 2:1




PhD Title: Walking and narrative in physical, virtual and psychological space

Artistic programmerr at PAPER an artist run gallery in Manchester


Selected Solo Exhibitions:

2019 - DRAWING OUT THE CANAL, Drawing Projects UK, Trowbridge


2017 - PAST/PRESENT/FUTURE NEW MILLS, New Mills Festival

2016 - In Search Of The Shortcuts, Art On Paper, BOZAR, Brussels, with PAPER 

2016 - Walking Out From Home, Cresswell Crags and Wirksworth Festival, Derbyshire

2016 - TAKING BACK SPACE: The Macc Walks, Barnaby Festival, Macclesfield

2013 - The Wanderer, 20-21 Visual Arts Centre, Scunthorpe

2008 - Dark Corner, Margaret Harvey Gallery St Albans

2008 - The Invader, Chapter, Cardiff

2008 - The Short Cut, Kings Lynn Arts Centre, Norfolk

2007 - Our Place, BLOC Space, Sheffield

2007 - Shreds of Evidence, Museum of Garden History, Lambeth, London

2007 - The bridge was a good place to throw stuff off, Leicester City Art Gallery (Offsite), Leicester

2004 - Hanging Out at the Lamppost, The Lowry, Salford, Manchester


Selected Group Exhibitions:

2022 - Drawing In, Breathing Out (co-curated) ROGUE ARTISTS STUDIOS, Manchester

2019 - This Land is Our Land, PAPER, Manchester

2019 - INTER-SECTION, Market Gallery, Huddersfield

2019 - (Un)Staged, Leicester Print Workshop and PAPER, Manchester

2018 - Truth and Fantasy (curated by Martyn Lucas) Various Venues

2018 - like the lines of a hand Centre for Recent Drawing (C4RD), London

2017 - like the lines of a hand (curated by Simon Woolham) PAPER, Manchester

2017 - for space (curated by Simon Woolham) PAPER, Manchester

2015 - Sound & Vision, PAPER, Manchester

2015 - KÖLNER LISTE Art Fair, PAPER, Cologne

2015 - We shape our buildings: therefore they shape us, London Art Fair

2014 - Jonbar Archaeology, NN Contemporary Art, Northampton

2014 - Unstable Ground, PAPER, Manchester (Curated by Simon Woolham)

2014 - Soft Estate, Spacex, Exeter                   

2014 - Soft Estate, The Bluecoat, Liverpool

2013 - Fine Art Schools Group Show, Kunst Acacedmie, Dresden, Germany

2011 - In Close Succession, Norwich Arts Centre, Norwich

2010 - Re:Animate, Oriel Davies Gallery, Newtown, Powys

2010 - The Great Outdoors, Aspex Gallery, Portsmouth

2009 - Celebration of Earth Day, The Armory Center for the Arts, Pasadena, USA

2009 - In Between the Lines, New British Drawing, Trinity Contemporary, London

2009 - Le Roman du Lievre: Marginalia, MTS Gallery (and Touring), Anchorage, Alaska

2009 - Project Pigeon, Pictorial, Curated by Alex Lockett and Ian England

2008 - Inside-Out, Wysing Arts Centre, Bourn, Cambridge

2008 - The Golden Record, Collective Gallery, Edinburgh

2008 - Group Show, Wysing Arts Centre, Bourne, Nr Cambridge

2006 - Snowdomes, National Glass Centre, Sunderland Intervention

2009 - TESTCARD Projeckt, Online, Online Residencies


Residencies, Commissions and Projects

2016 - D-LAB and Junction Arts Co-Commission of The Rural Routes: Walking Out From Home

2016 - DAR Space/Place Online Residency DAR, Online 

2016 - The Remote Lab, Fermynwoods Contemporary Art

2015 - The Manchester College, Contemporary Art Practice, Artist in Residence  

2011 - Interchange Flow, Fermynwoods Contremporary Art, 2 week residency on a narrowboat from Leighton Buzzard to Oundle

2011 - Print Residency, Hole Editions, Newcastle Upon Tyne

2009 - Urban Origami, Various Venues,, Various Locations

2008 - Severed, The Deracinater and The Isle, Animate and RSA Arts and Ecology Commission, 

2008 - Tatton Park Biennial 08, Tatton Park, Tatton Park, Knutsford, Cheshire 

2007 - Per Cent for Art Commission/Residency in County Wexford, Ireland, Per Cent for Art, Enniscorthy, Enniscorthy Projects

2007 - Shreds of Evidence (Museum of Garden History Publication written by Danielle Arnaud and Lisa Le Feurve)

2006 - Our Place (Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art and Creative Partnerships Publication)

2006 - BALTIC/Creative Partnerships 'Artist in Residence', BALTIC Center for Contemporary Art, Newcastle Upon Tyne Public commissions


Curated Projects

2019 - This Land is Our Land, PAPER, Manchester

2019 - INTER-SECTION, Market Gallery, Huddersfield

2019 - (Un)Staged, Leicester Print Workshop and PAPER, Manchester

2017 - for space PAPER, Manchester

2017 - Like the lines of a hand PAPER, Manchester

2016 - Sound and Vision PAPER, Manchester

2014 - Unstable Ground PAPER, Manchester


Conference Presentations

2022 - Drawing Conversations: Engaging with sites of history and narrative, University of Huddersfield (Main Convenor)

2017 - Drawing Conversations 2: Body, Space, Place Coventry University

2017 - Creative Practice Completion Symposium Hospitalfield Arts Centre, Arbroath

2016 - Deep Mapping UCL, London

2014 - Thinking John Berger Cardiff University

2014 - Mapping Culture Coimbra University, Portugal


Public Collections

Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire

MMU Special Collections, Manchester

NN Contemporary Art, Northampton 

Museum of Modern Art, New York

Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridgeshire

Texas State University, USA

Professional Footballers Association Collection The Mag Collection, UK

Fermynwoods Contemporary Art, Northamptonshire Poppy Sebire, London  


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