Curated by Denny Long
The Old Leadworks International Festival of the Sea Bristol 1996

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Voyage - Memories Across A Broad Grey Sea
Installation Water salt dye aluminium perspex

An Exhibition of Contemporary Art on a Maritime Theme

Roger Ackling Helen Chadwick Marlene Creates Anna Bush Crews Tacita Dean Annelies Egli Hamish Fulton Richard Long Annie Lovejoy Elizabeth Ogilvie Veronica Ryan Louise Short

Swinging the Lead is an exhibition of contemporary maritime art, part of the International Festival of the Sea, Bristol. Each work in the show has aspects which are specifically linked to water, the sea or this particular geographical area. The Festival will bring to Bristol, from all over the world, up to a thousand ships, workboats, fishing vessels and Yachts. In the Leadworks new works will be next to older ones, emerging artists and established ones. Juxtaposed outside in the harbour, old wooden hulls will be moored alongside fibreglass and steel vessels.

The shipping route to Bristol Docks is by way of the River Avon, with its second highest and lowest rise and fall of the tide in the world, flowing through the ancient carboniferous limestone gorge, spanned by Brunel's Clifton Suspension Bridge. Works in the exhibition consist of River Avon driftwood, sunburned jetsam, reclaimed and reused objects, washed up on the river bank at high tide. Walks linking coasts, coastline merged with body cell structures, ships' wooden figure-heads layered with images of landscapes from the past, wood with woods, past and present. The mysterious process of bottling a ship, the mesmerising play of light and movement on and within the water. the landing place of john Cabot in newfoundland documented, trading links and maritime history contemplated through blue glass and sugar. A sheet of lead recalls not only the nature of the venue, but the dry-dock which predates the site. The metaphorical seashore of our childhood explored and a poetic response to the broad grey sea, the smallest droplet of water sharing its heritage with the greatest ocean.

Denny Long

Funded by The Henry Moore Foundation Bristol City Council Wessex Water Abbey Life Investment South West Arts