The excitement for me as an artist lies not in exploring the unknown but in how I can effectively organise a visual arrangement that reflects the atmosphere and intensity of an environment, evoking a precise moment of the day under specific light and conditions. I hope you enjoy the work
Feature of the week 06/01/2018
Silvertown Refinery at Dusk
Following last weeks feature, studies of the refinery at Silvertown, I have been working on some paintings of which this is one. It is titled, ‘Silvertown Refinery at Dusk’. I like to think about the changes that have taken place in this area of London in recent years and the workplace behind the facade that has been producing sugar since 1878.
This is also a part of London which is not too distant from the place where Turner painted The Fighting Temeraire, in 1838. His painting depicted the last journey of a once proud ship of the line, being towed to its demise and breakage. A monument to the age of sail, replaced by the new age of steam and of industry, exemplified by the dirty paddle steamer that tows the mighty hulk to its doom.
As I alluded last week, the refinery now stands as an anachronism, since most of the industry that had followed on since Turners time has now been displaced by office blocks, luxury apartments and… an air terminal!
My main objective was to avoid a pretty twilight scene. To achieve this I have focused on these industrial elements with stark outlines set against the vibrancy of an East London winter sky. The water of the Albert Dock in the foreground, in contrast to that of the Thames, has a quality of stillness but is not calm when it reflects this evening sky.
There are no longer any ships exchanging their cargoes along the wharves. These were closed to commercial shipping in 1980s and very little now disturbs the reflection of the factory on the water. It can still however be a very noisy environment, echoing to the lights and sounds of loud aircraft landing and taking off from the City Airport next door.