OF THE SEA – WORK INSPIRED BY THE HISTORIC DOCKYARD CHATHAM AND ITS MARITIME HISTORY
This photo-montage and limited edition print entitled ‘Of the Sea’ has been inspired by a visit to the Historic Dockyard Chatham and it’s rich maritime history and comprises images taken there.
The landscape format and composition of the work is a departure to how I usually work and was influenced by the naval paintings on display at the dockyard, many of which were painted in a large landscape format. As a collection the paintings show contrasting views of the navy throughout history. On the one hand are images documenting the orderly detail and scale of the naval fleet and on the other, images of ships, pitted against the chaos and might of the oceans in a world of sea and sky.
During my visit I was also struck by how man’s relationship to the sea was expressed through his use of materials. The craftsmanship and process used to construct ships, masts, chains, ropes, anchors and other sea faring vessels, along with an ability to exploit, use and strengthen wood, metal and textile on this huge scale would have been key to creating a powerful sea-faring nation able to explore, trade and fight. The dockyard is both testament to this great productive history and witness to it’s passing.
On land these materials, which have been joined, twisted, carved, forged and reinforced are so heavy and hard in contrast to the seemingly abstract and fluid qualities of water and air. Once at sea they become small in comparison to the might of the ocean and can be tossed about as if they weighed nothing. Given time they will all succumb to weathering, rust and decay, caused by the elements.