Artist Jack Chesterman’s exhibition Archaeology of Journeying will be running at the Gadderie in Shetland Museum from Saturday until 17th May.
Chesterman has had a longstanding painting and printmaking practice and has exhibited widely in the UK and abroad. His work is held in a number of private and public collections.
He has also followed a career in Art and Design Education, working in a number of universities as both a lecturer and education manager. For some 13 years he has visited Shetland annually.
Current themes in his work may be characterised as maritime or landscape and these provide a context for particular subject matter and narrative drivers related to journeying, history and loss.
Central to his picture making are the problems of depiction and in this he does not seek a singularity of image, mark making or theme but rather a plurality of visual language.
As part of the Hanseatic trading routes Shetland and Hamburg were commercially linked but equally importantly both have deeply rooted maritime cultures through which they have developed.
From Viking times when the islands were used as a service station on the sea roads between Norway and Iceland, to the heydays of cod and herring fishing, to the current pelagic fishing and to the oil and gas industries, Shetland’s history has been inextricably connected to boats.
It is a story well told in the Shetland Museum where the remarkable collection of historic boats has been a source of reference in Chesterman’s work.
In commercial shipping terms Hamburg features prominently on the world stage. The “metal bashing” skills once found in Northern Ireland and elsewhere in the UK are still to be found around the Hamburg harbours.
Ocean leviathans, red leaded and as high as blocks of flats, are seen on slips of floating dry docks. Into world journeying they move people and goods around the globe but at rest, like Shetland boats, they present extraordinary objects, counter-intuitive still lifes, redolent with stories.
So it is with Wasdale, a small valley in the Lake District that contains England’s highest mountain and deepest lake. It abounds with remarkable landscapes and the paths that cross it are there by virtue of commerce, religion, agriculture, conflict and recreation.
All three places are powerfully special, much loved and much visited by Chesterman.