For ‘Parallel Lives’ Morten Schelde and Flora Whiteley have each made a series of drawings. Schelde combines disparate elements that hover together on the edge of collapse, a moment as short as a sharp intake of breath. Whiteley represents something slower, where the components of her drawings float: a hovering projected object, a series of slides from a fictional lecture. Schelde and Whiteley have made their work separately, in Copenhagen and Berlin respectively, but with a view to bringing it together in this exhibition.

The impetus was a conversation in the spring of this year when the artists met for the first time, although each has had a relationship with Vane of over a decade. The conversation revealed a shared interest in the role of intuition in the drawing process. They acknowledged notable overlaps in their approach to making work. Both love the slow reveal as the process of drawing becomes a process of thinking, and both use printed source material as mental triggers for imagery, often combining images as if collaged, or caught in the middle of a cinematic cross-fade. Indeed, cinema has a strong hold on the work in this show, which borrows from cinematic staging and a sense of tone and contrast that comes out of a love of the warm density of black and white film stock. There are ripples of David Lynch, moments of Alfred Hitchcock and his dramatic use of props and a debt to the films of Powell and Pressburger and their particular form of poetic realism.

Schelde’s drawings are a slow unravelling of emotion, projected onto the places and objects he draws, often appearing as if stills from an imaginary film. Golden Bird is made up of four large, tongue shaped pieces of paper, drawn on both sides and hung over a red, whittled branch. We see images of birds including the ‘golden bird’ itself, the archaeopteryx, an ancient creature transitional between dinosaurs and birds. In Open Road different coloured birds hover over a motorway and we seem to be moving towards the sun. Nights of Endless Suburbia shows a house at night. Outside, candles hover in the air, and gestural red lines seem to dissolve the image. The meaning of Schelde’s work is volatile, the only certainty is the strokes of the pencil on the paper, markers of process, of time spent.

Whiteley’s drawings also use laboriously repeated lines as a marker of time and space as they come together to suggest a room. All the drawings follow this schema suggesting an image projected onto a far wall. The images relate to work produced by artists Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, part of the Bloomsbury Group, active in the early twentieth century, and to the Omega Workshops, a company run in collaboration with artist and critic Roger Fry, that sought to break down the hierarchy between fine and decorative art. In Vanessa’s Screen, the surface of the drawing and the screen itself dissolve into one another: collapsing space and shifting focus between the pictorial and mark-making.

‘Parallel Lives’ is presented as part of DRAWING, a programme of exhibitions and events across the North East England region that pose the question: does DRAWING matter? For more information about events in the programme visit