A quick plug for The Arctic Whaling Year, an exhibition of the work of my friend Caroline Hack, an artist who works with textiles to create images and objects relating to whales and whaling from historic Arctic whaling, mostly from around the turn of the nineteenth century. Caroline spends a lot of her time in archives and museums gathering information and recording objects that go into her work in the form of printed or stitched textiles. The result is a series of beautiful pieces including “Calling at Shetland” (above). I particularly like the way the brutality of whaling is juxtaposed with the vibrant colours and soft textures of the print and fabrics.
The exhibition is at Verdant Works, Dundee until January 3rd, 2019. More information is at Caroline’s website, and at Verdant Works.
I first met artist Caroline Hack at the “Moby Dick on the Mersey” marathon read I organised in Liverpool in 2013. We’ve since worked together on a little book about the 1816 voyage of the Whitby whale ship Esk. Back in 2013 Caroline was already established with a back catalogue of work related to whales and historic whaling and she is currently Artist in Residence at Burton Constable Hall in East Yorkshire, where there is a famous skeleton of a Sperm Whale, washed up on the Holderness coast at Tunstall in 1825. This skeleton featured first in Thomas Beale’s The Natural History of the Sperm Whale (1839) and later, via Beale, in Moby-Dick (1851) itself.
Caroline has built an exhibition with this skeleton–now in the stables–as its centrepiece, starting from Saturday March 26. If you’re in the area the hall and grounds themselves are a good day out anyway, but this exhibition just makes it all the more worthwhile. Caroline’s work with printed and sewn fabrics is both reminiscent of the Arts and Crafts movement of the late nineteenth century, and starkly corporeal in its use of whale bones and historic objects.
The exhibition runs from Easter Saturday to Thursday 28 April 2016. Opening Times: 11am – 5pm, seven days per week (the hall itself is not open on Fridays). The project is funded by the Arts Council England via Grants for the Arts and the Friends of Burton Constable.
See more of Caroline’s work at carolinehack.com