East Durham College Art Exhibition

Thu, 30/11/2000 - 00:00

East Durham College are holding an exhibition by local artist Robert Soden at their Peterlee Campus on Willerby Grove.

A decade on from the original commission the College is proud to be exhibiting the paintings and poems from the Turning The Tide project.

The College will be hosting the exhibition from May-Dec 2011 in the possibility that it will become a permanent loan. 

Paul Wheatcroft, Head of Creative Industries at the College, explained:”This is part of a new approach we are taking to promoting both art and artists in the region.”

The exhibition will be open to the public from Tuesday 10th May between the hours of 9am till 8pm Monday to Friday.

The Story of Turning The Tide:

Easington District Council (Cultural Development Department) commissioned the paintings and poems in this exhibition as part of the Turning The Tide project. They record the environmental clean-up that took place in the East Durham coalfield when mining ceased.

The first painting was made at Blast Beach in September 1998 and the last at Crimdon Dean in January 2000. All the paintings were made outside, directly from the subject in watercolour, gouache and acrylic on paper.

Robert Soden makes contemporary political topographical paintings continuing the traditions of Cotman, Girton and Turner. He sees the depiction of weather as a crucial element in his work - he uses the ceaseless activity of the sky, changing cloud formations and storms as metaphors for the politics of economic decline and regeneration.

In 2001 he wrote: “The coastline between Seaham and Hartlepool would not have been beautiful or picturesque to an eighteenth century watercolourist such as Girton; it has however a terrible beauty, the beauty of violation, of Get Carter and Alien. Indeed it was oozing from beneath the ground at Blast Beach that set the scene for Alien 2 and provided me with a fantastic spectacle to paint.” 

Now the oozing has been cleaned from Blast Beach, and Seaham has new industrial developments. The buildings of Easington Colliery have been ground to dust and recycled as kitchen flooring. The remains of the East Durham coalfield have been landscaped and built upon - obliterating and reducing to folklore a once great industry.