Time & Tide: the Port Quin Paintings


“I intended to make a series of paintings positioned on a tideline, a point on the coast to engage with the idea of this shifting transient marker. For this project I chose Port Quin, a North Cornish cove I had known as a child.

The tideline is the frontline where our treatment of the marine environment becomes visible; the strandline is often a mark of pollution, the jetsam and flotsam of all our lives, the physical signs and evidence.

Being on this particular rocky shoreline, focussing on this slow daily process, time ruled. Here the tideline was subtle, not marked by a line of deposited items but simply the delineation between the wet and dry. The relationship between the sea’s ebb and flow and the topography of the coast is determined by the clock. Watching the water creeping up and down, in and out of the cove is like watching the hands of a clock rotating on a clock face, the twice daily rise and fall of the sea level is arguably time made visible almost tangible.

During these months of lockdown and isolation time can hang heavy, pass slowly. The pandemic is all about viral waves and recovery, progress and countdowns and time. We think back to brighter times and forwards to hopefully easier more normal times; globally together we are all sharing in this together.

Together is a good narrative for this collection of works. As a gallery we are delighted to share them with you and to be working with Kurt and Caroline on this exhibition and our other projects together. There are few artists who more elegantly respond to the sea and also to our troubled relationship with the environment. What is so remarkable about these terrible times is the future. How we will change and adapt, the tide will keep coming in and out regardless, as Kurt says, but our way of living almost certainly will and we are seeking those adaptations even now. Art is the most significant pointer to our ability to evolve because it enshrines our ability to create. We hope that you will enjoy these beautiful works as images and as objects, and adapt with us to the ways of engaging with them.”

Kurt Jackson & Johnny Messum