From the 9th to the 15th of March ONCA will be hosting an exhibition featuring four artists, Katie Henery, Helen Cann, Stuart Kuhn, and Jonathan Hyde, in response to WhaleFest, the world’s largest festival about whales, dolphins and marine life.
In the summer of 2014, these four artists became part of the crew of Sea Dragon, a 22 metre steel sailing boat that journeyed 1300 miles across the Atlantic Ocean from Reykjavik in Iceland to Gothenberg in Sweden. Working with marine biologists, scientists, documentary film makers and an old Icelandic sea captain, they spent their time on board searching the cold waters for whales and dolphins. As part of Whalefest, this exhibition is their final destination point. Installation, photography, film, drawing and mapping tell a sea saga of elusive whales, hunters, saltwater and a coming together of art and science.
Katie is currently a student of Newcastle University studying a BA Hons in Fine Art and a practicing artist. She has a love for nature and in particular a passion for the need to conserve it, something which gives great purpose to her work. As an environmental artist Katie hopes to allow viewers to engage with conservationist issues on an emotional level through her art. She works in the mediums of painting/printmaking, site specific land art and photography.
My work generally explores mankind’s negative impact on the natural world and our subsequent need to conserve it, with particular focus on marine environments. Whales have formed an importance in my work in becoming a visual metaphor for the global oceans. Like the environment itself, Whales are increasingly being placed in danger due to both the direct and indirect results of humankind’s actions and this can unfortunately be seen in the decline of a number of species worldwide. They face daily threats such as commercial whaling, starvation due to overfishing, ship collisions, habitat degradation due to rubbish, and chemical and noise pollution among other concerns.
Helen Cann – www.helencannfineart.co.uk
I have worked for over 10 years as an illustrator with over 30 books published, have exhibited around the world and won several awards. My fine art practice is just emerging and I am starting to exhibit in several galleries. Although differing from my illustration style, I am still focused on text, drawing and painting. Currently I am particularly interested in language and maps – how we use stories and dialect and not just simple geography to locate ourselves.
As part of the journey from Iceland to Sweden, the scientists on board were mapping whales and dolphins on to a worldwide database. I am making my own map, from collected data from conversations I had with the scientists, with hunters, museum curators and tourist guides about how people live now and have always lived with whales in the North.
Helen’s Drawing from Seadragon
I moved to Brighton in 2005 after graduating with a photography degree from Plymouth University. At this point I began to take fewer photographs and developed a stronger interest in moving image. In recent years I have instructed students in video editing. My appreciation for photography returned when I began, alongside a colleague, experimenting with photographic printing techniques like platinum palladium and salt printing. I now do a bit of teaching at Northbrook college where my aim is to broaden students understanding of images, be they moving or still, beyond the immediate experience of a digital screen.
In May 2014 I began an arts council funded collaboration with scientists at the chemistry department of Aberdeen University. My aim was to produce Daguerreotype photographs using mercury extracted from the marine environment. The worked achieved so far is a proof of concept and aims to show that heavy metal pollutants exist at such high levels, in certain predatory species, that image formation from photographic chemistry can be achieved.
Through the same arts council funding I intend to create a film about the expedition from Iceland to Sweden. My interest is in the coming together of art and science and the impact of cross cutting collaboration on such a voyage.
Jonathan is a photographer/filmmaker based in Brighton.
The mediums I use sway between analogue film, a realm where I feel particularly comfortable, and the ease and affordability of digital technologies and filmmaking. Rarely planning a shoot in much detail, I prefer to let the experience of the day inform the end result – often producing a document that becomes more valuable than the initial concept. The majority of my projects have taken an entirely new direction to what I had thought, the tangent and new discoveries being a factor I quite relish. Ultimately I aim to produce vivid stills and moving images that are usually evoked within cinema and song-writing, seeing no reason why all these items cannot be combined.
The trip: The vastness of the North Sea, coupled with the unpredictability of whale-watching is what motivated me to join the Pangaea trip from Iceland to Sweden. I really have no idea what to expect and simply plan to document the journey with the tools at my disposal, the editing process once back on land will most likely be what this project hinges around.