A contemporary British artist, who was invited to the sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia to paint and document ruined whaling stations, is exhibiting in Dundee.
Theo Crutchley-Mack travelled to South Georgia in 2018 to help fundraise for the South Georgia Heritage Trust, who work to restore the damaged habitats of native wildlife and have their offices in Dundee.
Six of his works are on display at Dundee’s Gallery Q until September 3, and gallery owner Lucinda Middleton hopes as many people as possible will visit while they can.
“Whaling was a very important industry for 19th century Dundee as whale oil was needed for the jute mills,” she says.
“Most Dundee whalers went to the Arctic as the number of whales diminished nearer home.
“One brave entrepreneur tried sending four steam powered whaling ships to Antarctica in 1892 but found only Blue Whales, too large for the vessels to capture.
“They did, however, find an uncharted inlet with an island which they named Dundee Island.”
Later whaling trade
The decaying whaling stations found on South Georgia today are largely the result of a later whaling trade which started in 1904 and went on until 1965.
By 1912 there were seven whaling stations belonging to different companies from around the world.
One of these companies was the South Georgia Company of Leith, a sub-division of Christian Salvesen Ltd of Edinburgh and some of the areas of South Georgia have been given Scottish place names such as Leith Harbour and Stromness.
Since graduating from Falmouth University with a sell-out degree show, Theo Crutchley-Mack has continued to exhibit successfully throughout Wales and Cornwall for five years to date.
He strives to record the obscure landscape, often abandoned and remote.
He spends many hours outside making plein air paintings that feed larger abstracted works.
His studio paintings start out as wooden panels which are built up with multiple layers of splintered wood.
This process forms the foundation for a sculptural approach to painting in which the underlying textures are often more prominent than the paint itself.
As well as Theo’s paintings, Lucinda Middleton says there is an exciting and eclectic mix of work from gallery artists at Gallery Q.
The painters and printmakers are: Gwen Adair, Brian Baxter, Sandra Dickie, John Martin Fulton, Aliisa Hyslop, Erraid Gaskell, Jennifer Irvine, Jolomo, Jennifer Mackenzie, Stuart Moir, Cat Outram, Anne Skinner, Heather Soutar, Frank To, Jane Walker, Graham Wands, Helen Welsh and Gillian Westland.
There is also a wide range of unframed works, hand-made glass, ceramics and jewellery as well as greetings cards, with new ceramics from Janet Halligan, Lianne Westwick, Lorraine Robson and John Scott, plus new jewellery from Angela Learoyd.
Where to see the paintings
Gallery Q Dundee is situated by the entrance to the Queen’s Hotel on Nethergate.
Opening hours are Tuesday to Saturday from 11am to 4.30pm. www.galleryq.co.uk