Shipyard is a new exhibition at the Scottish Maritime Museum in Irvine which uses a variety of different mediums to portray Scottish shipbuilding.
Shipyard, which opens on 13 October and will run at the home of Scotland’s national maritime heritage collection until 12 February 2018, will feature around 70 artworks documenting construction of the next generation of Britain’s naval vessels – the world leading Type 45 Destroyers and the monolithic Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers.
Drawing on hundreds of images Goudie created at Scotstoun, Govan and Rosyth over a seven year study between 2009 and 2016, the artworks range up to 3m x 2m in size and across a wide range of mediums. These include oil and gouache paintings, pen and ink drawings, sketches, sculptures, wood cuts and large charcoal portraits.
Shipyard, which brings to life both modern construction and the thousands of skilled shipyard workers creating these giant vessels, will go on display across the Scottish Maritime Museum’s vast Linthouse building on Irvine Harbourside. Aptly, the 1872 Linthouse was formerly the Engine Shop of Govan shipbuilders Alexander Stephen and Sons before being relocated to Irvine in 1991 to house the maritime collection.
The spark and steel of a working yard
Artist Lachlan Goudie said of the exhibition: 'Shipyards are awe-inspiring places… the sublime sense of scale and energy, the furious and relentless pace of component panels being assembled into towering monuments of steel.
'There is noise, there is chaos and fire, there’s a visceral sense that you’re part of a vast, industrial organism that will spit you out of the way, unless you watch your step. As an artist, you hardly want to blink for fear that you’ll miss a bizarre, unworldly juxtaposition of shapes, colours, pipes and scaffolding.
'Yet, it was also important to me to capture the shipyard workers. Walking in I might have expected machismo and aggression but instead I found welders, gaffers, sparks and chippies intense and sensitive people intrigued by what I was creating. Keen to dispel the idea that the yards are a vacuum of creativity and ideas, they had many enlightening things to say about my work, their environment, the principles of shipbuilding and the sophisticated craftsmanship their profession entails.
'It has been a great privilege to document the extraordinary work of the Scottish shipyards and the character, openness and identity of the people that make everything happen. Now I am proud to be exhibiting this work at the home of the nation’s maritime collection. The works were produced amidst the sparks and the steel of a working yard and it seems appropriate to me that they should be displayed at the Scottish Maritime Museum, surrounded by the engineering artefacts, the machines, templates, the models and ship’s hulls that constitute our national, maritime legacy.'
As well as co-presenting BBC1’s The Big Painting Challenge, Goudie has written and presented many programmes for BBC Four – ‘Secret Knowledge: The Art of Witchcraft’ (2013), ‘Stanley Spencer: The Colours of the Clyde’ (2014), the landmark series ‘The Story of Scottish Art’ (2016) and last month’s ‘Awesome Beauty: The Art of Industrial Britain’ (August 2017).
(image shows Lachlan Goudie’s HMS Queen Elizabeth)