Jeanette Barnes captures the evolving shape of the city in her charcoal drawings

5 October 2016
Reading Time
2 minute read

Artist Jeanette Barnes creates large charcoal drawings of cities, capturing the energy and savage nature of construction and change in her work. London-based Jeanette is currently artist-in-residence at Clifford Chance in Canary Wharf and has been sketching the construction of the Wood Wharf cross rail station. “I use compressed charcoal or charcoal for my large drawings, pencils for my sketches I do on location and printing ink for my monotypes,” says Jeanette. “Funnily, I don’t see my work as a conscious absence of colour, it’s all just marks, I do use some colour in my prints sometimes but it’s very monochromatic.”

Her large-scale works depict the bustle of the streets and traffic, the movement of cranes sweeping across the sky and the mystifying process of buildings being assembled. ”The large size is important as I want to be a part of the space and energy of the city, immersed in the paper so it’s a total involvement of being in that space, hopefully for the viewer as well,” says Jeanette. The dark marks merge into each other to create tonal landscapes that communicate the vitality of the city as it transforms itself minute by minute, day by day. “I’m inspired by the likes of Franz Kline, De Kooning and Auerbach,” explains Jeanette. “They all have this total involvement in scrabbling after something beneath the surface and a fantastic rhythm in their marks.”

Jeanette’s will exhibit her works in a new exhibition Sense of Place at Radley College, Oxford, 7 – 21 October 2016.


Jeanette Barnes: Battersea Power Station (150 × 204 cm)


Jeanette Barnes: Old Street Roundabout – Traffic (50 × 70 cm)


Jeanette Barnes: Building the Olympics (151 × 215cm)


Jeanette Barnes: Metropolis VIII (70 × 50cm)


Jeanette Barnes: Kings Cross Station


Jeanette Barnes: Radley Chapel (180 × 150cms)

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About the Author

Owen Pritchard

Owen joined It’s Nice That as Editor in November of 2015 leading and overseeing all editorial content across online, print and the events programme, before leaving in early 2018.

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