Industrial Landscapes

Limboland, hartlepool West Dock (0)
Acrylic and collage on canvas SOLD. 0cm x 0cm.

Collection of Hartlepool Gray Art Gallery. BBC Your Paintings website. A representation from drawings of the changing West Dock. I was seriously into industrial dereliction which was all over the North East during the 90s. I wanted to capture a moment just prior to redevelopment wiping out the memory. I like these pockets of inactive industrial land where memories of past human activity can still be imagined but where Nature is returning. The layers of paper and paint are a visual equivalent to this process of revealing and obscuring that time and human activity does to land.0
 
Scene Change Hartlepool Docks (0)
Acrylic and collage on canvas SOLD. 0cm x 0cm.

Collection of Hartlepool Grays Art Gallery. Also on BBC Your Paintings website. This was bought by Hartlepool Council as part of the celebrations of the renewal of the docks. I wanted to celebrate my love of industrial decline and nostalgia but the illuminated bollard contrasts with then old glowing in the dusk like a dwarf obalisk. The numbers 1 to 5 represent the 5 years of the art acquisition programme. Like most of my work at this time the painting is a collage of papers and paint whose layers remind me of the way in which landscapes are built and erased over time. I stopped this mode of work because few people wanted to buy them and I couldn't afford to store such large work, although some significant commissions have been done this way.0
 
Russian Tall Ship passes International Paints from Bill Quay Farm in 1994.s (1994)
Ink and Gouache on paper NFS. 60cm x 35cm.

Painted on location as the 4 masted Russian barque sailed past. You can clearly see the Tyne Bridge and Spillars Flour Mill.0
 
Bill_Quay_River_Tyne_July_17_1993_web (1993)
Ink and Gouache on paper. 60cm x 35cm.

Painted on location at Bill Quay Farm. Surprising how little has changed in 19 years. A few houses gone below the tower block. No Spillars flour mill. Trees taller.




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Palmers Yard study 1 (0)
Ink on paper 150. 26cm x 21cm.

Palmers strange shipyard cranes from the 1930s like something out of science fiction.0
 
Palmers Yard study 2 (0)
Ink on paper 150. 26cm x 21cm.

The unusual wire supported tension cranes of Palmers shipyard at Jarrow in the 1930s.0
 
Easington Colliery, study 1 1993 (1993)
Pastel 700 framed. 57cm x 47cm.

The first of a body of drawings and paintings responding to the closure of Easington Colliery, the last deep mine in County Durham, in 1993. Through friends made in the area I managed to get permission to access the colliery on a regular basis from just before its closure to the complete clearing of the site in 1994. This is the view north from the coal wash building towards the coal storage heap made on location.


Now available as an A3+ limited edition, framed & mounted print price 195 + p&p or 125+p&p mounted print only or 99 print only in a tube. 0
 
Headstock 1, Easington Colliery May 1994 (1994)
Ink and gouache 700 framed. 0cm x 0cm.

Painted on location as the demolition T-Rexs slayed the giant. Noise of steel on steel terrible and agonised in the bright spring sunlight. The stillness as the dust settled at the end of the day's work was incredibly moving. I have no great nostalgia for the hardships and serious health risks of underground coal mining but I could not help be upset by the cold Thacherite disrespect of this destruction. A few weeks earlier I had gone 1500 feet down under this headstock in the miners cage- an eerie experience I will never forget. Very sad to see a great 100 year old symbol of sub-sea mining being wrecked. It should have been preserved as a singular and impressive visual monument to 600 years of County Durham mining overlooking the dramatic east coast. In my mind this was an enormous opportunity lost forever to educate future generations.
It was ironic ( and annoying to locals) that a Nottinghamshire based demolition company should have destroyed an heroic bastion of resistance during the 1982 miners strike.0
 
Headstock 2, Easington Colliery (1994)
Ink and gouache 700 framed. 0cm x 0cm.

Drawn on location during demolition of north shaft headstock in 1994.0
 
Rapid Loader, Easington Colliery (1994)
Pastel 700 framed. 0cm x 0cm.

Drawn on location shortly before the demolition of the coal rapid loader. Coal trains drove under the hoppers in the tower which was supplied with coal by conveyor belts.

Now available as an A3+ limited edition, framed & mounted print price 195 + p&p or 125+p&p mounted print only or 99 print only in a tube. 0
 
Coal Wash Towers and Hopper, Easington Colliery (1994)
Pastel 800 framed. 0cm x 0cm.

Drawn on location during the demolition of the coal wash complex of buildings. Very cold wind whipping off the North Sea and throwing coal dust into air. Constant noise of demolition machinery. Hopper structure half demolished was a source of ideas for many studio paintings and drawings over the coming years.


Now available as an A3+ limited edition, framed & mounted print price 195 + p&p or 125+p&p mounted print only or 99 print only in a tube. 0
 
Man on Track, Easington Colliery (1994)
Pastel 700 framed. 0cm x 0cm.

A mining friend walks down the empty track just after closure was announced. This is a view from the coal wash complex of buildings looking south towards the sea and Hartlepool. Water towers are on the left, wash building on the right. Everything is the colour of coal dust, like the moon.

Now available as an A3+ limited edition, framed & mounted print price 195 + p&p or 125+p&p mounted print only or 99 print only in a tube. 0
 
Land of Hope and Glory (1997)
Oil and wax on canvas 4000 Framed. 125cm x 95cm.

Prize winner in the first international Claremorris Open in Ireland. Imaginary development in encaustic wax and oils of the desolation of an abandoned industrial landscape. A lone wolf, stomach empty, roams the landscape in search of food. In just 20 years we seem to have moved into a post heavy industrial era facing the climate consequences of this industry. This is the idea of the classical ancient ruined landscape from the the 17th century applied to modern times. In my dreams I see ex industrial structures slowly decaying, remnants of the past, reminders of earlier ways of our culture. In reality most such remnants have been preserved in a sanitised English Heritage style with little power of suggestion. The well paid officials of the preservation world have lost touch with the power of Romantic space to allow our human imagination to reinvent the past. This is my attempt to claim back that territory. No one in England seemed interested but the judges in Ireland appreciated it.


Now available as an A3+ limited edition, framed & mounted print price 195 + p&p or 125+p&p mounted print only or 99 print only in a tube. 0
 
On Bank (1997)
Mixed media on canvas 2000 framed. 120cm x 63cm.

An attempt to evoke the future as we will never see it but as the past within the genre of classical ruins. "On Bank" was the miner's term for the surface workings as distinct from the underground workings. The desolate scene is one of several paintings and drawings exploring the idea of Romantic industrial ruins based on the structures of Easington, Vane Tempest, Seaham and Wearmouth collieries.0
 
Hopper and Tower (1997)
Acrylic and collage on canvas 3500. 103cm x 133cm.

On of a series of imaginary responses to the demolition of the East Durham Collieries, especially Easington Colliery with its dramatic location overlooking the North Sea. The painting evolved as a series of layers in tissue paper and thin paint in which a cavity opened up in the abstract space and vertical and horizontal bands formed giving stablity to the composition but echoing the underground shafts and levels of the deep undersea mines.0
 
Sylvan Hopper (1997)
Pastel 400 framed. 45cm x 49cm.

An abandoned coal hopper is gradually returning to nature. Silver Birch trees struggle to colonize the infertile industrial ground. On of a series of imaginary Romantic post-industrial landscapes based on the demolished structures of the County Durham east coast mines of the late 20th century.0
 
Wagon Gauge, Gateshead (1996)
Acrylic on board 525 Framed. 56cm x 46cm.

Based on drawings made at a goods yard in Felling, Gateshead in 1996

Now available as an A3+ limited edition, framed & mounted print price 195 + p&p or 125+p&p mounted print only or 99 print only in a tube. 0
 
Swan Hunters, Wallsend, August 1994 (1994)
Gouache on blue paper 900 framed. 70cm x 60cm.

The Swan Hunter shipyard has been in my imagination since I was 12 so it was time to capture the industrial scene there before it was all demolished. Surprisingly it took another 15 years before all the cranes were removed and taken to China for a new industrial life. For me the swan neck cranes are like giant animals and many would agree with that. Also they were so large that they could be seen easily from the Town Moor in Newcastle about 8 miles away making the visual link between the political power of the city and the place of industrial production.

Now available as an A3+ limited edition, framed & mounted print price 195 + p&p or 125+p&p mounted print only or 99 print only in a tube. 0
 
Mauretania Berth, Wallsend (1996)
Pastel 500 framed. 44cm x 35cm.

Drawn from Segedunum Roman Fort in 1996 overlooking the launch ways at Swan Hunter Shipyard.

Now available as an A3+ limited edition, framed & mounted print price 195 + p&p or 125+p&p mounted print only or 99 print only in a tube. 0
 
Going with the Flow (1996)
Acrylic and collage on canvas SOLD. 120cm x 95cm.

Based on bridge pillars over the Tyne at Scotswood. I was exploring the idea of flooding in an indeterminate future under the influence of the music of Laurie Anderson. The painting evolved partly by chance using layers of collage and paint.0
 
©2004 Tom McElderry