Susan Purney Mark


Industrial Shoreline

The focus of my current work- The Industrial Shoreline - examines the working harbour, where the industry of shipping goods and products from our factories and fields intersects with the contemporary desire of a playground of beaches and pristine clear waters. The port occupies a special and limited space at the edge of our cities; the freighters and docks piled high with shipping containers are an essential part of a modern economy. Any harbour is constantly changing: the tide rises, and falls, materials and shipping containers come and go, the structures acquire patina and layers of complex shapes over the years. We see it as the gritty edge of our city, but close by life continues on with marine life, a complex ecosystem that may or may not flourish along the shoreline.
This shoreline has developed a territorial edge that many forces want to control: industry, national security, condo developers, environmentalists, nature lovers, and the animals and people who have lived on this edge for millennia – they all want some power or say or access. My series seeks to bring a sense of splendor and majesty to these industrial ports while acknowledging the need to respect and acknowledge each interest.
The industrial warehouses and buildings along the intertidal zones of urban harbours presents a dichotomy in my textile art between the hard and soft; the rigidity of steel and the fluidity of cloth. There is beauty in the metal structures and their patina, the angles, shadows, bursts of color, and swoops of lines create rich visual interest for the viewer. My drawn, painted, and stitched lines and the challenge of interpreting these means that I rely on a variety of mark making, inks and paints on the fabrics to give me the rich patinas of rust, rafters and steel and sea.
This series reflects and contrasts both the industrial shoreline with shipping, cranes and buildings with some inherent beauty and the waters where we sail, paddle and swim.
I have always lived near the ocean, sometimes close to a working harbour, oil refinery or a military base. I have seen and experienced the challenges faced by both industry and the need to have a sustainable natural environment. I have also witnessed the ongoing efforts of all invested groups working towards finding the best and most lasting solutions. I do not see these issues in an “either/or” scenario but as a challenge of finding balance and commonality. I am not anti-development, the premise I work from is that commercial growth together with vibrant, sustainable ecosystems can be created and I want my Industrial Shoreline series to reflect that essential premise.

The Log Boom by Ledge Point by Susan Purney Mark
Loading on the North Shore by Susan Purney Mark
The Salmon are Gone by Susan Purney Mark
Along the Fraser by Susan Purney Mark
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