GRAHAM RICH: SAILING WITH GHOSTS
After 8 years since his last show at The Fine Art Society in Edinburgh, Devon based artist Graham Rich returns with a new exhibition opening on Friday 5th February.
Sailing with Ghosts will show 50 works, including an installation consisting of over 30 individual works, Conceptual Voyages. Most of the works on show were painted in the recent years and are illustrated in the book of the same title written by the artist (published September 2015 by Peter Foolenn Netherlands £15, available to purchase in the gallery). The exhibition also includes a selection of early works.
An artist with a passion for boats since the age of ten, Graham Rich uses marine paint on wood and boat fragments he finds during his voyages along the coast of Devon and Cornwall. The sailing boat in his paintings has become a metaphor for existence, ever since his wife was dangerously ill in hospital. “I began cutting the boat into found wood as a result of this medical emergency. The eidetic image of the boat was accompanied by a repetitive mantra in my brain that said, ‘I must sail my wife safely home’. I cut the image of the boat into pieces of found wood day after day until my wife returned to me safe and well.”
The title Sailing with Ghosts refers to the votive paintings the artist discovered in Venice’s Maritime Museums, commissioned by sailors after they survived maritime disasters, shipwrecks and terrible storms. In each painting the saint called upon at the hour of need hovered in the sky over the shipwrecked sailors, saving their lives. “Looking at these images led me to understand that sailors have always sailed with ghosts - they have needed them for company, for security, for hope and for help.”