Art - Harriet Davies

There are fifty-two piers remaining in England apparently, and Chalk Gallery’s latest featured artist, Harriet Davies, has been to nearly all of them. She’s a bit of an expert on the English coastline now. For the past three years she’s been intermittently walking it as part of an ongoing artistic project, recording her findings using a combination of photography and collage. “I gather together all the things that I’ve needed whilst doing the walk like maps, diagrams and tide tables, and incorporate them into the piece,” she tells me. “I layer them up on the canvas and paint on top of them. I try and reduce everything to its basic form.” Recently Harriet took a boat trip from Stockholm to Helsinki, and she is now planning to extend her project beyond the English coast - although she’s still got a lot left to do. I ask her why seascapes make good artistic subjects. Is it, I venture, because they are so changeable? “Well, I’ve always been fascinated by open spaces”, she says. “I love the vast dimensions and the low tides”. She’s absolutely not interested in picture-postcard prettiness though. “I try to avoid blue skies and the stereotypical image of seaside resorts. I prefer to go in the winter or really early in the morning in the summer to avoid the crowds.” Her favourite coastal location is Dungeness - largely because of its natural bleakness, which lends itself to her muted palette of sombre greys and browns, she tells me. “I know I sound like I must be moody but I’m a happy person deep down,” she laughs. ER

Coast 1 by Harriet Davies

Chalk Gallery
When? Until 24th December 10-5pm daily
How Much? Free
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