London’s River and Docklands

Mick Dean, in conjunction with environmental charity Thames21, will launch a new exhibition of paintings at the New Thames Gallery in Limehouse. The work on show is a culmination of five years spent exploring the tidal reaches of the Thames, capturing on canvas the last remnants of our once mighty maritime heritage.

The impending arrival of the Olympics has led to the sanitisation of many old industrial areas. The Thames Gallery exhibition pays tribute to the east-end’s forgotten corners, where relics of London’s history are being swiftly cleaned up and disposed of to make way for new roads, shops and housing befitting the needs of our modern community. Mick’s core artistic focus is erosion, and his paintings are vivid depictions of the decaying, wearing and rusting of man-made objects that rot, melt or mould back into the natural environment. His paintings combine a photographer’s eye for detail with an evident sense of the tactility of an object, as layers of paint and glaze lend texture to the rust covering old mooring rings or the hair of fraying chords of rope.

Mick has had a lifelong affection for the Thames, and is donating 10% of each sale of one of his paintings to Thames21, with whom he volunteers. Hailing from Stepney with close ancestral attachment to the docks, this area is a natural seat for his inspiration. Taking in the wharfs of Wapping, and Limehouse, and the backstreets of Shadwell and Bow, the paintings celebrate a disappearing world: ‘Orphaned Anchor’ is the poignant swansong of an anchor sinking quietly into the mud, now removed and melted for down for scrap; while in a medley of colour ‘Last of the Few’ shows the paint peeling off the last unconverted warehouse in Bermondsey, now a chic apartment block.

About Thames21

Thames21 is London’s leading waterways charity. Every year around 4,000 volunteers from all sections of the community spend their free time with Thames21, cleaning up waterside grot-spots, removing graffiti and helping create a new habitat for wildlife. Altogether they remove around 1,000 tonnes of litter from London’s 400 mile network of canals and rivers in their aim to transform these neglected waterways into areas everyone can use and enjoy.

For more information about Thames21 please contact Ben Fenton on 02072487171 or via Ben Fenton.

www.thames21.org.uk

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