Monday, 21 March 2016


'The beach has the power to shape everything in its own image

The Tide Licks the Shore
The show Reduced To Rubble  makes a powerful impact as you enter the Flowers Gallery.  Monumental wall hangings greet you. The work which inspired the title of the show  measures 265x172x20cm. At first sight they look like impressive three-dimensional carvings of knights and burgers and their wives, the sort  which line cathedral aisles and represent the values of the age. Move closer and they become naturally occurring patterns and shapes reminiscent of nature and living organisms.
Reduced to Rubble brings together new works on the theme  of the beach landscape, a subject present in Terry Setch's work since 1969. For many years the artist produced his paintings directly on the beach, on purpose-made tarpaulin sheets. He fused together industrially produced materials and environmental rubbish including resins, microcrystalline wax, polymers and found plastic objects. The beachscape provides him with important metaphors  for wider political and social concerns, particularly the devastating impact of pollution. 
In the Sea, On the Shore, In the Sea 1

The Tide Licks the Shore (259x169x18cm) evokes the intimate, rolling meeting of sea and shingle. And 'Lick' is a visceral and bold verb, linked with sex and food: in the process of licking, both agents are changed by their encounter. The central three-dimensional shape above is organic and sinewy, an effect which came about by partially melting polypropylene fabric into a substance which is then intuitively thrown onto the support while it is still hot. 
Tides and winds transform coastal landscapes dramatically. For example for decades the sea crashed against the cliffs of a Cornish cove. Then gradually over time a wide sandy beach appears and every year a different pattern of rock pools is spotted when the tide goes out. A regular visitor notices the difference.  But Setch is reminding us that human pollution is the newcomer at the seaside, a bully,  bringing less benign change as the wind and deteriorating effects of sea water transform both wrecked cars and rocks indiscriminately.


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