Never Far Inland: Paintings and Prints
In the summer of 2005, Tom Hammick visited Canada to serve as the first artist-in-residence at the Art Gallery of Newfoundland and Labrador's new facility in St John's. Over the past four years Hammick has returned to the subject matter originally identified in the earlier prints and paintings, producing a body of work that provides an engaging challenge to the often nostalgic representations of the Newfoundland landscape carried out by other visiting artists to the province.
From the earliest days of colonization in Newfoundland, life was centred on fishing industries on the coastlines, a thin line of human activities taking place where land meets water. Never Far Inland reflects on this delicate exchange with nature, both in directly observing the continuing relevance of the ocean to the social and economic structure of the province, and the metaphoric meaning it holds in understanding our relationship to this rugged place. Like Frederic Church, the American Hudson River School landscape painter and more recently, Rockwell Kent, Newfoundland, for Hammick, has served as the land away from the cosmopolitan city, a place of reflection. So while many of the works included in Never Far Inland are sourced from the terrain of the province, they shouldn't be considered a travel log of a visiting artist, but rather a continuation of an ongoing examination of the themes of isolation, survival, and transformation.
Hammick has a deep concern for the ecological future of the planet, but these global environmental challenges are hinted at without the work becoming lecturing. We discover the implications held in his work by studying them. Within the masterful production is a celebration of the beauty offered by the natural world, but one that hints at the delicate and precarious balance that allows these cycles of birth, growth and decay.
Gordon Laurin 2009