Artist Captures Sources Of Energy At Christchurch Mansion

Published: 20 December 2004

Shows a painting depicting a series of wind turbines out at sea with a large vessel alongside them.

! Energy by Mark Beesley. Courtesy Ipswich Borough Council.

The latest exhibition in The Room Upstairs at Christchurch Mansion in Ipswich uses monumental painting to explore the generation of power and its effect on the environment.

! Energy, on show until January 16 2005, features the work of artist Mark Beesley who takes a particular interest in the interaction between natural and man-made elements in the landscape.

His recent works focus on structures that generate or consume energy, examining the visual impact of cooling towers, nuclear reactors, silos, pylons and wind turbines on the landscape.

A freelance illustrator, graphic designer and model-maker, Mark Beesley works in pen, watercolour and coloured pencil, producing architectural, historical, landscape and wildlife illustrations.

Shows a painting that depicts a power station with a vast chimney billowing smoke. Below it there is a train moving along a line and under into a white building.

! Energy by Mark Beesley. Courtesy Ipswich Borough Council.

Past clients have included Suffolk County Council, Essex County Council and CADW, the historic environment agency of the Welsh Assembly Government.

However, with this series of landscapes he conjures the style of the likes of Eric Ravilious to create monumental images intended to make the viewer look at these different environmental instruments in a new light.

There is currently a great deal of media attention focussed on the question of how we will generate our energy in future and the environmental impact of the various alternatives.

Shows a painting, which depicts what appears to be a large industrial building halfway through being built.

! Energy by Mark Beesley. Courtesy Ipswich Borough Council.

Beesley’s intention is to encourage his audience to question conventional wisdom about what is or is not appropriate in the landscape.

Moreover, what makes a suitable subject for a landscape painting? In other words, what is picturesque and what is an eyesore.

"Wind turbines hold a particular fascination for me," says Mark. "They are an extremely powerful presence in the landscape or seascape and, to my mind, are beautiful structures in their own right."

A committed environmentalist, Beesley is aware of the current debate over the building and siting of wind turbines in the east of England.

Shows a painting depicting two vast wind turbines against a blue sky.

! Energy by Mark Beesley. Courtesy Ipswich Borough Council.

"They are as appropriate in the largely man-made countryside as the old windmills so beloved of painters of rural scenes," he adds. "Since I began this series of pictures the siting of wind farms has become a controversial issue locally."

"These pictures are not intended to be propaganda in this debate . . . However I would like these paintings to make people think about the issues of energy and climate change and to help convince them that these structures are things of beauty and, in the right place, a dynamic addition to the landscape."

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