A Maritime Experience...
The exhibition of paintings by Bath based artist Thom Gorst investigates the aesthetic quality of industrial and maritime surfaces. Thom’s recent doctorate from the Glasgow School of Art studied modern maritime ruins, and these paintings emerged as part of his research through practice.
Drawing inspiration from the early work of the Boyle Family – and sharing their concerns for the pictorial quality of the everyday – and from the current interest in ruination and urban exploration, this work re-presents and re-aestheticises marks made by rust, salt, wear, abrasion and contingent alteration.
Thom’s work draws our attention back to the sea, and is a fitting exhibition to be held in a warehouse gallery that is itself so redolent with memories of trade and the business of Empire.
After a childhood in Merseyside, and four years at sea as a Royal Navy officer, Thom trained as an architect, qualifying in 1982. At the end of the 80’s, he moved to the south west, and taught at Bath University and the University of the West of England, specialising in the history and theory of art and architecture.
He started work on what would become his doctorate in 2005 at the Glasgow School of Art. The study evolved into an aesthetic examination into the potential of derelict ships to be regarded as things of beauty. These paintings emerged from that research
“My research has been concerned with the aesthetics of derelict ships: trying to identify something of beauty in cast-off bits of industry. I wasn’t making romance out of shipwrecks, or harking back to the navy of Merrie England: I was deeply interested in the symbolic value of metal surfaces. The canvasses portray the details of metallic maritime surfaces which might be corroded, degraded, abraded, overpainted or just abandoned, and they reinterpret them as things of real beauty. In other words, they suggest a new and perhaps more authentic way in which we might think of the maritime.”
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