View From The Deck: New art exhibition paints powerful picture of North Sea industry

View From the Deck, a new exhibition at Aberdeen Maritime Museum by artist Sue Jane Taylor, opens tomorrow (Saturday 5 May); presenting a powerful picture of the technology, engineering and people of the North Sea oil and gas sector.

Over the years Taylor has gained access to extremely remote and publicly prohibited installations, documenting and building an artistic record of an industry not immediately recognised for its beauty. Taylor makes her art through direct observation, whether from the pitching deck of a supply ship or in the shelter of the construction workers’ tearoom. Her deep interest in people is clear in the images she creates, giving a human face to these industries which have had such a profound effect on communities, the land and the sea.

View From the Deck gives us a unique insight into the oil and gas sector through three recurring themes in Taylor’s work: seascapes, machines and memories. Her dynamic images are displayed alongside a selection of works by artists who have inspired her, including Joan Eardley and Käthe Kollwitz. The exhibition also tells the stories of people involved with the rapidly-changing industries, and objects used by them in their daily work. These stories and objects have been contributed by industry workers and will help inspire future displays at Aberdeen Maritime Museum.

Sue Jane Taylor said, “I was born on the Black Isle and whilst growing up there in the 1970s the oil boom hit the Highlands of Scotland. I witnessed the radical changes to the area and the changes it made to people’s lives there, both positive and negative.”

Councillor Marie Boulton, Aberdeen City Council’s spokesperson for culture, said, “It’s wonderful to welcome back an artist who studied and nurtured her talent right here in Aberdeen at Gray’s School of Art. The City of Aberdeen has been inextricably linked with the North Sea oil and gas industry over the past 40 years. Today the sector, like the city, is undergoing major transformation.

“Through Sue Jane Taylor’s art we can experience for ourselves something of the mighty scale of the industry and the impact it has had on the lives of workers, their communities and the environment.”

The history team at Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums invite people who have been involved with the oil and gas industries who may have an object, photo or story to share to get in touch at oilmemories@aagm.co.uk or call 03000 200 293.

The exhibition is free and runs until Sunday 28 October 2018.


Photographs show artist Sue Jane TAylor and Councillor Marie Boulton