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The Observers & Guardian November 2005

November 2004

Tom Hammick: Travels Through Newfoundland

A three-month residency courtesy of the Canadian Arts Council in Newfoundland and Labrador has to be an artist’s dream come true.

Well, provided you’re the outdoor type. British artist Tom Hammick has responded with a variety of work that conveys both the grandeur and the intimacy of the landscape.

The work is figurative and some of the canvases are so large that some of them had to be unmounted to ascend the Eagle’s crooked staircase. A green fishing boat chugs across an inky sea under a black sky. In the foreground a jetty is outlined in a brilliantly anchoring red line. This is Outport II, its style reminiscent of Craigie Aitchison in its horizontally banded planes and subtle colour gradations.

His night pictures are his most powerful: in Motorhome (Night) a chunky vehicle, lights ablaze occupies the foreground, safe and sound against a pink-streaked night sky.

There’s also a stunning gold-spattered night sky in one of the series of small etchings and drypoints - many scaled-down echoes of the big works but with a more intimate feel.

The country’s huge remoteness is vividly portrayed in his pictures of little huts, dwarfed by their surroundings. Particularly memorable is Shack - a tiny white hut alone in a grey-toned banded landscape that shrieks of cold.