Art - Tom Hammick
In her 1993 novel, The Shipping News, E. Annie Proulx captured
the very essence of Newfoundland’s landscape when she
wrote: ”This place, she thought, this rock, six thousand
miles of coast blind-wrapped in fog. Sunkers under wrinkled
water, boats threading tickles between ice-scabbed cliffs.
Tundra and barrens, a land of stunted spruce men cut and drew
away.” If it were possible to translate Proulx’s
words into art it would be in a painting by Tom Hammick. His
new show - 49th Parallel: Travels Through Newfoundland - captures
the desolate, barren hinterland of the Canadian island perfectly.
His emphasis on the impact of water, waterways and small boats
in massive waterscapes - in works such as Labrador Ferry 1
- echoes Proulx and articulates a simpler way of life. In
addition, Proulx’s clipped, staccato prose is mirrored
in Hammick’s measured, understated and almost childlike
My favourite painting is Angel which, to me, depicts an angel
walking on water by moonlight surrounded by gilded meteorites.
It is an incredibly powerful image. While larger canvases
dominate downstairs, nine small etchings in the gallery upstairs,
exhibited from a series of 15, are a visual diary of a journey
around the 49th Parallel, the line that runs through the Province.
When I first read The Shipping News I dreamt of Newfoundland,
having seen Tom Hammick’s show I want to go there. KA