This exhibition comprises a selection of paintings from the series: Behind Land, and is an extension of a collaborative commission with the poet Harriet Tarlo, funded by the Arts Council and curated by Linda Ingham as Excavations and Estuaries. The work responds to a part of the North East Lincolnshire coast that might be considered the epitome of a landscape in which the human and non-human are interconnected and entwined. It is a place that invites questions about what is natural, and what is unnatural.
Fitties originally means saltmarshes. The Fitties plotlands at Humberston were, like much of the low-lying land around the mouth of the Humber estuary, carved out of saltmarsh. They lie low behind marshy beach and dunes, a quirky domestication of land always liable to flood, to a return to its former state. Here, since between the wars, local people and visitors have erected their diverse dwellings with individualistic names and styles, in order to enjoy the simple, restorative pleasures of seaside life. The larger paintings contextualize the Fitties in the wider marsh and beach land around Humberston, while the smaller paintings and accompanying texts by Harriet Tarlo evoke the past and present, exteriors and half-hidden interiors of the holiday chalets. They speak too of the relationships between people and place from the wild and planted foliage to the found poems taken from the names given by the owners.
These paintings developed out of processes of layering, meshing and they focus on surface, yet they also evolved out of the viscosity and liquidity of the paint. This sounds like a description of the salt marsh, the fitties, itself, for what is always at stake in representational painting is the tension between the materiality of substance and its metaphor. All painting is made through applying physical layers onto a surface and is accretive. The layering inherent in digital imagery reflects, informs and contrasts with those in painting. Here we have paintings that know of photography; video; film and moving image work, but are also informed by a long-standing painting practice. This exhibition also speculates whether and how the practice of painting might be employed in an affective understanding of place.
Judith Tucker is an artist and academic. She has exhibited widely both in the UK and abroad. Recent exhibition venues include London, Brno, Czech Republic, Vienna, Austria, Minneapolis USA and Virginia USA, as well as regional galleries throughout the UK. In addition to being an artist she spends part of her time at the University of Leeds where she is Senior Lecturer in the School of Design.
Harriet Tarlo is a poet and academic. Poetry publications include Poems 1990-2003 , Poems 2004-2014 (Shearsman 2004, 2014); Nab (etruscan 2005). She is editor of The Ground Aslant: An Anthology of Radical Landscape Poetry (Shearsman, 2011). She teaches at Sheffield Hallam University where she is Course Leader for M.A. Writing.