Newport man's shipping portraits to go on show
2:30pm Saturday 28th September 2013 in Gwent news
FROM the monumental to the intimate, Clive McCarthy's marine-themed paintings tell a rich visual story of life at and around the sea.
For more than 20 years the 66-year-old, who lives in Newport, has created images of some of the biggest ocean-going vessels in the world, the ports they visited, and the workers - often portrayed in extremely cramped, noisy and dirty conditions - who maintained and repaired them.
And more than 30 of his paintings will be on display next month in an exhibition in Southampton to mark the 170th anniversary of the foundation of the city's docks.
Formerly a painter and decorator, in the 1980s Mr McCarthy pursued a longstanding dream by securing a place at Newport College of Art, where he studied graphic design.
There followed a master's degree course in Birmingham, followed post-graduation by part-time teaching back at the college in Newport.
When the teaching work dried up due to budget cuts in the late 1980s, Mr McCarthy went to work as a technician and labourer maintaining and repairing the boilers of ships, a role that took him across the globe.
One of the ports to which he was a regular visitor over many years was Southampton, and his images of it - including of its dry dock and the ships that required its services, and its more recent role as one of the UK's largest metal recycling and export facilities - are what comprise the paintings in the exhibition.
Another Gwent link with the exhibition is that its curator Ron McCormick was for many years a key figure in delivering the renowned documentary photography course at Newport College of Art.
As curator of the art collection at Southampton Solent University he has been central to bringing the exhibition together.
"It's been quite hard remembering when and where all the paintings are and when they were painted, because they've been done over such a period of time," said Mr McCarthy, for whom images of the sea have now taken their place alongside an ongoing fascination for painting skies.
"The painting has been the easy part. It's what I love doing. But I've also got to deliver a lecture as part of the exhibition and that's much harder."
* The exhibition, with the title Any Port In A Storm: Southampton and the Sea, will run at the Michael Andrews Concourse Gallery at Southampton Solent University, from October 18-December 31.
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