Friday, 28 November 2008

Sting and that painting...

Muker, Swaledale.

Originally a Norse settlement, derived from the Norse word "Mjor-aker" meaning "the narrow acre". People have lived where the Swale meets the Straw Beck since the Bronze Age and the promise of good mixed farming in the valley bottom is probably why the Vikings chose to settle here. It seems a long way from the sea...

Went into town yesterday to view a painting. Not something I do often., but this was on the recommendation of a friend.

Stephen Hannock, an American from Massachusetts, has painted an 8 feet by 12 feet (2.4 metres by 3.6 metres) view of the city of Newcastle on Tyne. The most distinctive feature is the river that divides Newcastle from Gateshead. The Millennium Bridge, The Sage and the Baltic are represented far more clearly than that other icon - the castle built in the eleventh century. I struggled to find that in the murk beneath the Tyne Bridge. The city is rendered as if looking down on a map spotted and blotched with bluish lights of differing sizes which represent coal mines. The painting combines what is there on the ground with what was once there in a way that reminds me of an advent calendar. A hazy outline of a gigantic miner lies along the south side of the Tyne, hewing coal for ever. Personal memories that must mean something to the man who commissioned the thing are scribbled at numerous points across the painting, but your nose needs to be four inches from the painting to read them.

The painting is called 'Northern City Renaissance, Newcastle, England'. The man who commissioned it? Sting. Here's one view

It is an interesting concept. I admire Sting for doing it, and putting it on view before he whips it away into one of his many mansions. I'm glad I saw it. But I won't rush to see it again.


Linda Banche said...

I live in Massachusetts, and I've never heard of Stephen Hannock. But I'm not much into paintings, either. From the link you provided, I doubt I would want to see his work anyway.

Jen Black said...

It wasn't the best image of the painting I must admit. I think the photographer was concentrating on Sting.It was interesting to me, as a Newcastle person, but if it had been of Boston, I'd feel much like you!