Firebeacon Corner, 2018
Charcoal, varnish and white pigment on Arches paper.
56 x 76 cm.
Judith Tucker: Firebeacon Corner is one of the drawings in her Outfalls series. We see the view of river from a tangle of grasses in the foreground. Its strong diagonal axis gives it dynamism, leading the eye along, but rather than flowing, it seems to ripple around its weeds. Beyond the bridge, on the opposite bank we can just see a few buildings. Judith’s drawing is strongly impressionistic, yet still full of detail. This is one of those quiet Fenland scenes which really captures the slightly eerie stillness of the area. Outfalls is a collaboration between Judith Tucker (visual artist) and Harriet Tarlo (poet). It results from thirty years of experience of working with landscape, each in their respective fields.
The Outfalls project
The Outfalls project, focusing on the Louth Canal, began after they first saw its outfall at Tetney Haven on the Humber Estuary. Over the last five years Tucker and Tarlo’s interest in North East Lincolnshire has grown. While they see it as a place of beauty, it also invites questions about the natural and unnatural.
Together, but in their different fields, Tucker and Tarlo explore the visual and textual potential of this place. Between them, they share insights into its past, present and possible futures. They record the many inter-changes of water; crossings of energy lines; seasonal changes in plant life. In Judith’s work especially, historical remnants of industrial infrastructure feature. We glimpse the ghosts of lost buildings and communities. Yet also traces of birds and animals flit in and out amongst the old culverts, bridges and locks. Harriet’s writings are partly descriptive, partly documentary through her use of found texts. But they are deeply poetic and add depth of atmosphere alongside Judith’s drawings. They published them all together in an artist’s book Outfalls which you can also buy from us.
The Louth Canal
The Louth Canal or Navigation was constructed between 1765 and 1770 and runs for just over eleven miles between Louth and Tetney Haven. Like many rural canals, the Navigation began to decline towards the end of the Nineteenth Century as roads and railways were developed. The final straw was the devastating flood at Louth in 1920, an event for which the town is known. In 1924 the canal closed and began to fall into slow dereliction. It is now monitored by the Louth Navigation Trust.
Tucker and Tarlo’s study is neither nostalgic nor didactic. They intended their walking, drawing, writing and research to reflect what they found. They are observers, commentators. Overall, their work raises questions about what will happen to these relics of our industrial heritage and surrounding landscape? These questions are relevant all around the country.
About the artist
Judith Tucker is an artist and academic, her work explores the meeting of social history, personal memory and geography. It investigates their relationship through drawing, painting and writing. She is currently working on concurrent series of paintings which stem from the North East Lincolnshire coast.
I am co- convenor of LAND2. I run this creative practice-led research network with Iain Biggs UWE as a national network of artist / lecturers and research students with an interest in landscape / place-oriented art practice. The network meets for presentations of members work. Its web site https://land2.leeds.ac.uk/ represents the network and serves as an educational resource for those interested in practice-led research into landscape. Land2 undertakes occasional group projects, and organises conferences and exhibitions. We have recently forged international links with the University of Minnesota.
Judith Tucker completed a B.A. Fine Art at the Ruskin School of Art, University of Oxford (1978 – 81) and an M.A. Fine Art followed by a PhD in Fine Art at the University of Leeds (1999 – 2002). Between 2003 and 2006 she held an AHRC fellowship in the Creative and Performing Arts at the University of Leeds. In 2013 she became one of the artists in Contemporary British Painting a platform for contemporary painting in the UK. She is currently vice-chair of the organisation. Judith is one of GroundWork’s associate artists and first exhibited Outfalls with us as part of Regarding Nature in 2018.