SHORE – ASPECTS OF THE LIMINAL at North House Gallery, Manningtree featuring work by Neil Bousfield, Simon Carter, Daisy Cook, Luke Elwes, Fergus Hare, Melvyn King, Ffiona Lewis and Jasper Startup.
Artists, and non-artists, have always been attracted to the shore, especially in the UK, where it is never far away. Whether sandy beach, salt marsh, mud, rocks or man-made seawalls and quays, the transitional space between the land and the water has a fragile mutability which inspires intentions beyond the merely representational. Now, with increasing concern about climate change, artists are justifiably seeing the shore as a barometer of even greater change that requires a transition in the relationship of humans with their environment.
Neil Bousfield’s Home and Place engravings explore the joys of the beach at the same time as the vulnerability of the east Norfolk coast. The new, larger multiple block relief print, Doggerland Walker, references the Holocene landscape buried under the North Sea: a gentle warning.
Simon Carter works almost exclusively in the in-between space that is neither sea nor dry land, a wild space inhabited by birds. His quick drawings from the seawalls across the saltings of the Walton backwaters are transfigured in the studio to images that include all the information but exist only in paint.
Daisy Cook’s paintings and collages have become increasingly abstract in recent years, a joyful interplay of simple geometric shapes, but still discernable here is the sun over a seawall or a tree by the shore and the colours are always delicate and subtle.
Luke Elwes continues his Waterline series of works on paper, each one produced over the course of a day as the sea water floods the creaks and channels of the salt marshes of the east coast. The light on the surface of the water is recorded as well as hints of what has been, albeit temporarily, erased.
Fergus Hare had access to his local Sussex beach during lockdown, but as often with his work, his beach scenes, although apparently minutely observed, strangely seem to come from another, earlier time and evoke unexpected associations in the viewer.
Melvyn King’s principal sightlines for his paintings are shore to shore across the Stour estuary, tracking the busy flow of shipping in and out of Harwich and Felixstowe, and from the sea shore on the other side of the Harwich peninsular, out to the far horizon.
Ffiona Lewis paints waves breaking on the rocks South Devon coast and views through pine trees of the Deben and Alde estuaries. Her Flotsam series are calligraphic drawings of the skeletons of the less fortunate beech and sycamore trees that have succumbed to the erosion of the waves.
Jasper Startup’s sculpture is all about the nature of wood. He uses found materials, often sea-weathered from the shore, as a starting point, each piece being a search for the identity of form. Some pieces are organised by number, others based on a feeling or character that comes to light during the making process.
More information at www.northhousegallery.co.uk