Shannon Williamson


Continuous Positive i

  • 2016
  • gouache and pencil on paper
  • Purchased 2016 with funds generously donated by Sarah Lucas, Sadie Coles HQ, London and Two Rooms, Auckland, in response to the February 2011 Canterbury earthquake.
  • 572 x 799mm
  • 2016/047

In its capacity to be experimental territory, drawing offers a space where different states of mind can be explored. Each of the artists here has taken the practice eyond the realm of obvious observation or recording into something more internal, psychological and uncertain.

Shannon Williamson describes her drawing as “navigating this very intimate and personal space that we can’t access – our internal self.” Here, she uses different kinds of mark making – scientific notations, anatomical drawings, erasures and urgent scribbles resembling biometric readouts – to show how psychological experiences and anxiety are expressed through the body.

(Die Cuts and Derivations, 11 March – 2 July 2023)

Exhibition History

earlier labels about this work
  • Now, Then, Next: Time and the Contemporary, 15 June 2019 – 8 March 2020

    Shannon Williamson is an artist who trained as a sleep scientist. Her drawings begin with the data she gets from recording sleep. In the ‘Continuous Positive’ works, she includes medical notes and translates records of sensory experience into specific colours and reoccurring motifs like rainbows and circles. The drawings are like maps of the circadian rhythms of the body, the natural processes of regulation and repair that occur within sleep and intimately affect the way people function and how they feel about themselves. The title refers to the form of sleep therapy Williamson works with, Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. It also suggests the state of mind necessary to keep going through difficulty. “I needed money to make art, but I needed time to make art, which was hard with a day job—I had to be continually positive about my practice,” she says.