Galleries - May 2019

“Stepping into the unknown at Grytviken (South Georgia) lead to many great experiences, from hurricanes and avalanches, to penguins and asbestos. . . A documentation of sketches, paintings and photographs were gathered during the six weeks that I was resident on South Georgia, which will now be used as a reference to create a body of much larger paintings at my studio in West Wales.” Theo strives to record the obscure landscape, often abandoned and remote. Located over 7500 miles from home, these industrial landscapes were an idyllic inspiration to begin his most ambitious series of paintings to date, all of which are on show in this exhibition. Grytviken is on the island of South Georgia, located just north of Antarctica. It is home to the abandoned whaling industries that were active from 1904 to the 1966. Now lying in ruin, the stations are a grim reminder of the damage that was inflicted on the species to harvest oil for products such as soap and margarine. Spending six weeks at Grytviken as artist in residence for the South Georgia Heritage Trust gave Theo the rare opportunity to explore every corner of the ruins, making referential sketches for larger scale works when returning tohis studioin West Wales. The old machinery creaks and groans as the 100mph winds fly through the structures, bending and warping the rusting sheet metal into beautiful abstract formations. Extensive asbestos training was also required to visit the industrial whaling sites along the coast of South Georgia, including Husvik and Prince Olav Harbour. Strict rules were in place to ensure the correct respiratory masks and coverall suits were worn whilst amongst the ruins. Having completed the residency and endured the return journey of over 7500 miles, Theo began work on a new series of paintings and drawings forming a direct response to the exploration of these unique industrial landscapes. A photographic book is also available during the exhibition showing recent images of the Whaling Stations along with writings by the artist about his experiences documenting them.