Drawn to Antartica : Frances Hatch - Babylon Gallery
The artist went to the Antarctic Peninsula in February 2005 for a fortnight in the company of about a hundred passengers on MS Endeavour.
This exhibition features paintings, drawings, photographs and sketchbook notes which trace a fascination with Antarctica which began in 2004 when Frances read Jenny Diski's Skating to Antarctica and booked her ticket for the journey south. She explores qualities of anticipation, the immediacy of the journey, and excitement at actually being there followed by the steady maturation of her response through images and words.
'It was a ridiculously short visit compared to the time spent travelling there- and an unjustifiable indulgence considering the environmental cost of aviation fuel. Yet I determined to go out of a sense of personal internal necessity. If I hadn’t gone, it would not have been for environmental principals, it would have been because of the infamous bit of water that surrounds it. By going, I was confronting a long-held fear of sea–sickness in order that a new space could open up on the other side.
Antarctica’s proximity made itself felt one morning during the two-day sea journey across Drake Passage when the ship moved across the Antarctic Convergence. The sea temperature dropped suddenly by several degrees and we met cold Antarctic surface water, bringing with it mist, Wandering Albatrosses and icebergs. A bewildering spatial dimension opened up where a chunk of floating ice might be as big as Belgium or a bus. Without familiar ways of relating one thing to another to give an indication of scale I had no way of understanding distance or size. '
Frances was born in Littleport, Isle of Ely in 1955 and now lives in Poole, Dorset.
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