Widely respected and internationally exhibited, Jack Chesterman’s (specially augmented) show of acrylic paintings pauses at Dean Clough en route from Tasmania to Shetland thanks to two working boats each over a century old.
Sixareens were a type of boat used by Shetland fisherman to catch absurdly large fish in absurdly dangerous waters; only one original remains today. The ‘May Queen’ was a 66-foot ketch launched in Franklin, Tasmania in 1865 to a life of mercantile endeavour. Recently renovated it is now listed in the Register of Historic Ships and was, for many years, owned by Jack Chesterman’s great grandfather Henry Chesterman.
Specially for Dean Clough, Jack Chesterman’s exhibition has been augmented by a second strand of work, ‘The Sea That Went Away’. This features paintings based on the Aral Sea in Uzbekistan which – thanks to expansion of the Soviet canal network in the 1960’s – has now all but disappeared, leaving a terrain of landlocked ships and social devastation. The Aral Sea has long been a source of fascination for Jack Chesterman, a Dean Clough based artist whose work astutely combines aesthetic, maritime and philosophical themes.
“Billowing sails and white horses are for another exhibition and another time,” says Jack Chesterman (b. Lahore 1938). “If there is a narrative here it concerns the physicality of the boats; how wood fits to wood, how surfaces relate one to another and how configurations of form are born from the requirements of work.”