New book: Body, Space, Place in Collective and Collaborative Drawing


Forthcoming announcement of new book in the Drawing Conversations series. Body, Space, Place in Collective and Collaborative Drawing will be published by Cambridge Scholars in 2019, edited by myself, Jill Journeaux and Sara Reed, with some superb chapters in progress. Please don’t hesitate to contact me (or Jill/Sara) for further details or to be added to the mailing list for the Drawing Conversations series of events and publications.

Women Can’t Paint

Here’s the publisher’s blurb for my forthcoming book Women Can’t Paint: Gender, the Glass Ceiling and Values in Contemporary Art (I.B. Tauris).

“In 2013 Georg Baselitz declared that ‘women don’t paint very well’. Whilst shocking, his comments reveal what Helen Gorrill argues is prolific discrimination in the artworld. In a groundbreaking study of gender and value, Gorrill proves that there are few aesthetic differences in men and women’s painting, but that men’s art is valued at up to 80 per cent more than women’s. Indeed, the power of masculinity is such that when men sign their work it goes up in value, yet when women sign their work it goes down. Museums, the author attests, are also complicit in this vicious cycle as they collect tokenist female artwork which impinges upon its artists’ market value. An essential text for students and teachers, Gorrill’s book is provocative and challenges existing methodologies whilst introducing shocking evidence. She proves how the price of being a woman impacts upon all forms of artistic currency, be it social, cultural or economic and in the vanguard of the ‘Me Too’ movement calls for the artworld to take action.”

Please follow the link for chapter contents:


Women Can’t Paint

My new book (forthcoming) Women Can’t Paint is a provocative exposé of art’s gendered values. It cuts speculation and evidences that there are few aesthetic differences in men’s and women’s painting, yet museums ignore women’s work and their art is worth up to 80 per cent less than men’s. The brand of masculinity is so powerful that when work is signed by a male artist it goes up in value, yet work signed by a female artist goes down in value. This groundbreaking study challenges established methodologies and theories: in the aftermath of ‘Me Too’, it’s time for the artworld to sit up and take note.

Women Can’t Paint: Gender, the Glass Ceiling and Values in Contemporary Art, by Helen Gorrill – published by I.B. Tauris, September 2018.


Our book is out!

book coverCollective and Collaborative Drawing in Contemporary Practice: Drawing Conversations – a book I have co-edited with Professor Jill Journeaux, has been published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing.  The book includes contributions by key scholars in the area: Brew & Journeaux, Rogers, Casey & Davies, Harty & Sawdon, Hodson, Baker & Foster, Shepley, Barker, Stokes, Chow, Wright and Neil.

The book follows our inaugural conference Drawing Conversations 1, held at Coventry University in 2015.  The next conference Drawing Conversations 2: Body, Space, Place takes place on 7th December 2017 with a keynote from Marsha Meskimmon. A new volume of the book stems from this event (2019).



Call for Papers – Drawing Conversations 2: Body, Space, Place


A one-day symposium with key note by Professor Marsha Meskimmon

Friday 8th December 2017

The Institute for Creative Enterprise (ICE), Coventry University Technology Park, Puma Way CV1 2NE, UK.

Lead conveners: Professor Jill Journeaux, Dr Helen Gorrill, Dr Imogen Racz, Dr Sara Reed.


Papers are invited for this one-day symposium intended to consider interrelationships of drawing, body, space and place. At the heart of this will be the body acting as the conduit between interior and exterior, private and public. Drawing in this sense can therefore be elastic in definition, from two-dimensional mark making, to more spatial languages that might involve capturing movement, three-dimensional drawing, or indeed understanding the processes of making the movement, mark or gesture. How do these gestures make meaning? What impulses from a particular space or place impelled the drawing? What is the relationship of the final work to a space or place?

Twenty-minute papers are invited from practitioners, historians and theoreticians. They can include projects undertaken, or be about particular works or ideas by others.


What happens when we draw with or from the body? How is conversation formed and understood?

How is the mark or gesture suggestive of a response to place?

How is the notion of the individual reshaped within a collective or collaborative drawing process?

Gender, drawing conversations and collaborations: what is the nexus of feminism, drawing and connectivity?

Exploring gendered spaces through drawing or performing the mark, such as the body and home, or, the body within ‘public’ spaces – that might be places of exclusion/inclusion at particular times.

Choreography as drawing with and from the body

Performative drawing: Witness or viewer?

The body and the breath.

Redrawing the body for well-being.

This is not an exhaustive list so if you have an idea that does not easily fit into this list and you are unsure about submitting a proposal please feel free to contact Jill Journeaux at: to discuss your proposal.

Following on from the success of Drawing Conversations 1 which took place in December 2015, and the book Drawing Conversations: Collective and Collaborative Drawing in Contemporary Practice, due to be published in Spring 2018, we intend to apply for a second publication. If you wish to be considered for a future publication, please make this clear in your proposal and ensure that you submit a full-length proposal of 700-750 words.

All proposals for papers will be peer reviewed. Please submit a proposal of up to 750 words outlining your paper/ presentation, including 6 keywords and a title. Include your name and address, email address and institutional affiliation if appropriate.

Please send the proposals to Dr Helen Gorrill at:  The closing date for receipt of proposals is Friday 15th September 2017.

Exciting news:

We are delighted to announce our keynote speaker is Marsha Meskimmon, Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art History & Theory at Loughborough University. With Amelia Jones, Marsha co-edits the Manchester University Press series, Rethinking Art’s Histories, the successor to the well-received series, Critical Perspectives in Art History, she co-edited with Shearer West and Tim Barringer. With Phil Sawdon, she co-edits the Creative Text section of the on-line arts magazine Stimulus → Respond. She is a consultant editor for the Open Arts Journal and, with Dr. Russell Marshall and Phil Sawdon, a general editor of the new series Drawing In (I.B. Tauris).  Prof. Meskimmon has published widely, including the books Drawing Difference: Connections Between Gender and Drawing (Meskimmon & Sawdon 2016), Performance Art in Eastern Europe Since 1960 (Bryzgel & Meskimmon 2017), and Women Making Art: History, Subjectivity, Aesthetics (2012).