SHIPYARD PAINTINGS BY LACHLAN GOUDIE
Scottish Maritime Museum, Irvine, to 12th February 2018
For the past seven years, Lachlan Goudie has been sketching and painting at the BAE shipyards on the Clyde and Forth, chronicling the construction of the next generation of the Royal Navy, including the Type 42 destroyers and the aircraft carriers Queen Elizabeth II and Prince of Wales.
Goudie is a 40-year-old from Glasgow. Although he grew up with shipbuilding as part of the background, he never worked in the manufacturing industry. However, he has a deep sympathy with those who do, and a keen-eyed appreciation of the great beauty to be found in industrial buildings and processes.
Recently, he made a film called Awesome Beauty: The Art of Industrial Britain for BBC Four, which was an intelligent antidote not only to what he considers chocolate box pastoralism, typified by ‘The Hay Wain’, but also to LS Lowry’s bleak, near-monochrome vision. An inspiring moment came in an interview with two Govan shipbuilders, who objected to the word ‘manufacturing’, saying rather that the workforce was handcrafting these vast ships, which would become living things as they entered the water.
As Goudie is well aware, he has been working very much in the manner of the First and Second World War official artists, and he also knows their history. He is a great admirer of Muirhead Bone, who recorded essentially the same shipyard scenes exactly a century earlier. ‘Beneath the Hull’, a painting of an aircraft carrier’s towering bow, is close kin to Edward Wadsworth’s ‘Dazzle Ship’ paintings and prints.
Next March, the exhibition will move to the National Museum of the Royal Navy, Portsmouth. www.scottishmaritimemuseum.org