Jack Chesterman Published: Monday, 18th November 2013

Gallery Oldham is delighted to exhibit the work of Jack Chesterman, an artist whose large painted canvases and sculptures examine the themes of journeying, history and loss.

Jack’s paintings explore the colour, structure and texture of many different types of boat and ship, including large steel structures in Hamburg dry docks and the smaller wooden vessels of the Shetland Islands, made to designs that would have been familiar to the Vikings.  

The exhibition runs from November 23 until March 29, and alongside the paintings are a series of monumental sculptures of boats on plinths. 

These sculptures are extraordinary visual objects but also vessels for stories that span 500 years of history and tell of commercial greed, violence and human endeavour. 

Visitors will discover the stories of El Gran Griffon, a supply ship in the Spanish Armada; the great maritime battle of Lepanto, which stopped the advance of the Ottoman Empire; the battleships of the Second World War; and polar explorer Frank Wild.

The boats lie upturned on plinths, like a Medieval Knight lying on a tomb, and like Memento Mori, invite us to ponder the stories of the men who died in them. 

Councillor Jean Stretton, Cabinet Member for Cooperatives and Neighbourhoods, said: “We’re delighted to open Gallery Oldham’s winter season of exhibitions with Jack Chesterman’s paintings and sculpture which tell dramatic stories about our relationship with boats and the sea across history.”

Jack is a painter and printmaker who has exhibited at home and abroad. He has work in several public collections including The British Council and Ferens Art Gallery, Hull. 

He has a longstanding interest in journeying, has researched maritime history and explored the culture of many seafaring communities from the Shetland Islands to Whitby, and made work inspired by these experiences for many years. 

Jack has held various academic positions, including posts at Leeds College of Art, Leeds Metropolitan University and Manchester Metropolitan University. He works from studios in Leeds and Dean Clough Galleries, Halifax.

This exhibition will be shown in Gallery Oldham’s magnificent central gallery space, with open views of the landscape and changing winter weather. 

Jack said: “Gallery Oldham is so different to the average enclosed gallery. That central gallery is as close to being outside as you can get without actually being outside and that is perfect for this body of work. It’s unique.”

A substantial catalogue to accompany the exhibition will be launched at a special event on Saturday, February 1, 2014, when Jack will be present in the Gallery to sign copies and talk about his work.

Jack will be giving a gallery talk on Wednesday, February 12 at 2pm.

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