As part of the Hanseatic trading routes Shetland and Hamburg were commercially linked but equally importantly both have deeply rooted maritime cultures through which they have developed. From Viking times when the islands were used as a service station on the sea roads between Norway and Iceland, to the heydays of cod and herring fishing, to the current pelagic fishing and to the oil and gas industries, Shetland's history has been inextricably connected to boats. It's a story well told in the Shetland Museum and Archive whose remarkable collection of historic boats has been a source of reference in Jack's work.Current themes in his work may be characterised as maritime or landscape and these provide a context for particular subject matter and narrative drivers related to journeying, history and loss. Central to his picture making are the problems of depiction and in this he does not seek a singularity of image, mark making or theme but rather a plurality of visual language.
In commercial shipping terms Hamburg features prominently on the world stage. The "metal bashing" skills once found in Northern Ireland and elsewhere in the UK are still to be found around the Hamburg harbours. Ocean leviathans, red leaded and as high as
blocks of flats, are seen on slips of floating dry docks. Into world journeying they move people and goods around the globe but at rest, like Shetland boats, they present extraordinary objects, counter-intuitive still lifes, redolent with stories.
So it is with Wasdale, a small valley in the Lake District that contains England's highest mountain and deepest lake. It abounds with remarkable landscapes and the paths that cross it are there by virtue of commerce, religion, agriculture, conflict and recreation.
All three places are powerfully special, much loved and much visited by Jack.
The exhibition opens at 12.30pm on Saturday 11 April and runs until 17 May 2015. For further information please contact John Hunter at Shetland Museum and Archives on 01595 741559 or email@example.com.