Barry Andrews

As a starting point, I walk and make drawings of the estuary along the north banks of the industrial River Thames, these images are metaphors for change.

Change is never more present than found in the body of the River Thames, with its historical references, the relentless suck and pull of the tide, encouraging us to renew or reinvent ourselves. The detritus is removed and then replaced.

The industrial river landscape offers a harsh yet inspiring vista. There are gems to be found in squalid architecture, graphics, graffiti, abandoned relics, detritus and the people.

Essex and East London has a long history of a transient population looking to improve their lives, looking to move to the safety of higher ground, both in reality and metaphorically.

People only pass through this part of Essex, there are no tourists. Commuters escape along the A13 trunk road, crossing the QE2 Bridge and disappearing through Kent into France and beyond, or back towards London seeking fame and fortune.

The people found within the boundary of the Thames corridor, work hard play hard, seeking opportunities, talking enthusiastically, agitating their way to success and failure. They ask for more. They may appear hard, but life is hard.

This ferocious activity informs my palette, the use of colour and subverting of the painterly surfaces represents the harsh reality of life along with its tenderness and fragility, a reminder that there is hope, and often hope is all we have.

Barry Andrews 2012

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