Emma McNally in conversation with Ralph Rugoff

Spring Term, sees the return of the Royal Drawing School series of Creative Conversations; online dialogues between artists, curators and writers. Curated by Dr Claudia Tobin, lectures are held Wednesday evenings live on Zoom. 

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Through examining Emma McNally’s work, Ralph and Emma will consider the relation of drawing and thinking, exploring the different kinds of ‘thinking’ that drawing makes possible and how it can trigger alternate modes of thought in viewers.   

 Ralph Rugoff and Emma McNally in conversation

Emma McNally, 'Choral Fields (1-6)' installation view, (graphite on paper, 305cm x 215cm) 'Mirrorcity: London Artists on Fiction and Reality', Hayward, 2014-15. Photo: Roger Wooldbridge. Courtesy of the artist © Emma McNally

Emma McNally has lived and worked for many years by the River Thames, London - currently in her studio at Woolwich Dockyard just beyond the Thames barrier. Her relationship with the river is central to her work. 

McNally studied Philosophy and Literature before continuing her thinking visually through drawing. Her practice is an ongoing exploration of complexity and entanglement across scales, spaces, times. Her drawings have been utilised across categories where new modes of thinking are evolving (including ecology, physics, philosophy, music, politics, urbanism, mathematics, cartography, networks and complexity.) She has shown internationally, including the Hayward and Drawing Room in London, Museum of Fine Art Houston, Biennale of Sydney, MONA, and Drawing Now in Paris. McNally's work has been included in the latest edition of Phaidon's Vitamin series: Vitamin D3: Today's Best in Contemporary Drawing (2021).  

Ralph Rugoff has been Director of London's Hayward Gallery since 2006, where he recently curated the exhibition Mixing It Up: Painting Today. He was Guest Curator of the 2015 Lyon Biennale and Artistic Director of the 58th Venice Biennale in 2019. 

Cover image: Emma McNally, 'The River that Flows Nowhere, Like a Sea' installation view, (graphite on paper, 30ft) installed in the Armoury of Orford Ness as part of 'Afterness', Artangel/ National Trust, 2021. Photo: Thierry Bal. Courtesy of the artist © Emma McNally