In Autumn 2022, Hastings Contemporary will present the first major survey show of the work of Caragh Thuring (b. Brussels, 1972) – her first UK exhibition in six years.
Spanning the last 15 years with more than 20 works, it will include paintings, drawings and monotypes. All works are on loan from the artist and public and private UK collections, in order to avoid the environmental impact of international shipping.
Thuring’s nuanced compositions juxtapose signs and imagery from her recurring iconography of volcanoes, bricks, flora, tartan, human silhouettes, and submarines, to explore where natural and manufactured worlds collide.
Thuring grew up in Scotland near to the majestic Holy Loch, the site of the renowned Cold War US nuclear submarine base and next to the construction site for the first concrete North Sea oil rigs. This clash of nature and industry has continued throughout her practice: looming submarine silhouettes, vast industrial structures and striking landscapes frequently appearing across different series. Similarly, Thuring incorporates a recurrent brick motif in her work, which for her perfectly represents the natural and the manufactured in a single object.
Volcanoes and submarines lurk beneath, intermittently breaking through to the surface, obliquely referencing Thuring’s curiosity about what lies out of sight. Brick walls obstruct our view and untreated or woven canvas draw our attention to the surface of the painting itself and what might lie beyond. What is not obscured is often fragmented, disrupting the viewer’s familiarity of what they are looking at.
For more recent works, Thuring has collaborated with silk weavers in Suffolk to create bespoke cloth for use as her canvas. The fabric is woven on a loom, sewn together, and stretched onto a wood frame before being painted onto. These fabrics are digital renderings of previous paintings, photographs she has taken or found images. As she describes it: “I want to build the work into the surface, to continue the work I’ve already begun.” Both the labour and the depiction are worked into the surface and the painting becomes a continuation upon this ground.
The paintings also illustrate Thuring’s fascination with boundary lines and liminal spaces, perfectly reflected by the gallery’s own position on the foreshore – surrounded by the town’s historic beach, net huts and working structures of the fishing fleet. Massacre of the Innocents (after Breughel), 2010, almost echoes the towering architecture of local fishermen’s huts on Hastings’ beach, while the language of maritime and landscape permeate throughout.
Caragh Thuring was born in Brussels in 1972 and has lived in the United Kingdom since 1973, moving first to Argyll, Scotland and later to West Sussex. Receiving a BA Hons in Fine Art from Nottingham Trent University in 1995, she moved to London the same year and currently divides her time between London and Argyll in Scotland.
Recent solo exhibitions include: Caragh Thuring, Luisa Strina Gallery, São Paulo, Brazil (2019); Builder, Corbett vs. Dempsey, Chicago IL (2019); Caragh Thuring, Thomas Dane Gallery, Naples, Italy (2019); Selected group exhibitions include: Mixing it Up; Painting Today,Hayward Gallery, London, England (2021); Masterpieces in Miniature: The 2021 Model Art Gallery, Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, England (2021); Vesuvio Quotidiano Vesuvio Universale, Museo di San Martino, Naples, Italy (2019), Slow Painting, England (2018/2019); Virginia Woolf, An exhibition inspired by her writings, Tate St Ives, Cornwall, England (2018).