As part of our current exhibition All Mortal Greatness is but Disease, we are proud to show two artworks from Norfolk-based artist Caroline Hack.
Hack is a mixed media artist, working in textiles, printmaking and handmade books. Her artistic practice is particularly inspired by Herman Melville’s classic whaling novel Moby-Dick and more broadly by the history of British Arctic Whaling. Her interest in whaling has taken her to whaling sites, museums, and research centres around the world, including Europe, America and Canada. These research trips have allowed her to build a body of work and develop a visual language in response to the history and practice of whaling.
For All Mortal Greatness is but Disease, Caroline Hack developed a new work which emerged from a body of research she gathered while in residency at Shetland in 2017 (supported by the Shetland Amenity Trust). The textile work, titled The Shetland Stations, is inspired by the history of whaling in Shetland where in 1903 – 1904, Norwegian Whaling companies set up shore-based whaling stations. The work draws on old navigation charts and imagery of whales and whaling, particularly Blue and Fin whales. The animals were hunted in Shetland waters with small and fast steam-driven catcher ships firing explosive harpoon guns.
Alongside her new piece in the exhibition, we have also included a textile panel by the artist, completed in 2018. Right Whales Historically Regarded is a reflection on how whales have been and continue to be killed and depicts a skeleton from a mother and an unborn calf on display at the New Bedford Whaling Museum. The Right Whales are named as such because they were considered the ‘right’ whales to hunt. Their bodies floated instead of sinking when killed, which made them easier to process. With their thick oil-rich blubber and long baleen they were the main target of Arctic whalers.
Recently, Hack had an exhibition at the Scottish Fisheries Museum in Fife, titled Arctic Ventures: forgotten stories of Scottish Whaling. Earlier this year, she created a commemorative tarpaulin cover for a harpoon gun at the Scott Polar Museum in Cambridge, titled ReCover. In 2020 (and restaged in 2022), she showed several pieces as part of Scoresby’s Arctic – an exhibition at Whitby Museum she also co-curated alongside museum curator Fiona Barnard.
As part of our exhibition programme and to coincide with the Christmas market at the Scottish Maritime Museum, Caroline will be at the Linthouse on Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 December for a “Meet the artist” event where you would have the opportunity to find out more about her work and what inspires her.
You can find more about Caroline Hack’s work on her website.