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Where the Land Meets the Sea

New paintings by Damien Hirst

Presented by HENI, Where the Land Meets the Sea is a selection of works from Damien Hirst’s latest paintings series – Coast Paintings, Sea Paintings, and Seascapes – being shown at Phillips’ London galleries this summer.

The series was inspired by Hirst’s lifelong connection to the sea. Drawing influence from abstract expressionism, namely, Robert Motherwell’s Beside the Sea series from the 1960s, the works in Where the Land Meets the Sea wonderfully evoke Hirst’s pastime of walking on the beach and watching the sea, most recently in the UK, during the winter.

Ahead of the exhibition, Hirst remarked, “Where the Land Meets the Sea is an exploration inspired by the seaside in grey British winters; I grew up in Leeds in West Yorkshire and often holidayed in Scarborough, Filey, Whitby, where Count Dracula landed, Robin Hood’s Bay, and Skegness. I have always spent a lot of time walking and thinking on the beach and watching the sea, witnessing the powerful action of the crashing waves in winter. It gives me a feeling of unimportance and vastness and inevitability, that this whole world and everything in it will eventually wear out to nothing.”

Left, Port Quin Bay (detail), Damien Hirst, 2019. Right, Marsden Bay, Damien Hirst, 2019

Coast Paintings, created in 2019, are colourful works which intend to convey the energy, excitement and change experienced by the seaside in winter. This is expressed in a series of abstract action paintings that Hirst developed while painting his acclaimed series, Cherry Blossoms. The Coast Paintings began their life as grey canvases which were laid on the floor of Hirst’s studio. Each painting is named after a British coastal location and, affixed to the back of each canvas, is a matching postcard.

Phenomenal, Damien Hirst, 2022

The works in Sea Paintings mark the latest iteration of Hirst’s long-established practice of producing paintings after pictures, freezing the power and energy of coastal storms in grayscale. Hirst’s 64 Sea Paintings capture in photorealistic detail images of coastal storms from across the world. They were produced in two different sizes, all rendered in greyscale, with the intention of echoing the temperament of the British coastlines that Hirst has observed during winter.

Mesohigh, Damien Hirst, 2021

Seascapes use the photorealistic scenes of Sea Paintings as the foundation upon which Hirst creates additional, tactile layers of action through splashes of paint similar to those in his Coast Paintings, capturing the scenes and sensations of crashing seas.

As I viewed these beautiful thought evoking and dramatic works, I reflected on how different they are from the works by Hirst that I have come to recognise, even from his abstract works. It felt as if I was seeing another side to Damien, more grown up, more thoughtful, maybe a bit nostalgic.  

Where the Land Meets the Sea is an exploration inspired by the seaside in grey British winters. The paintings started their life on the floor of my studio, while I was working on Cherry Blossoms.”

–  Damien Hirst

I look forward to seeing his yet unfinished River Paintings. Perhaps they will shed some light on the artist’s new direction and give us an insight into what is to come. All the works in this show will be going to auction after the exhibition, which ends on 18th August 2023. More details and information HERE.

Where the Land Meets the Sea

Phillips, London Galleries, 30 Berkeley Square, Mayfair, London W1J 6EX

Words: Lavinia Dickson-Robinson

Opening image: Okta, Damien Hirst, 2021

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