Meteorological data influences latest exhibition by UWE Bristol alumna Janette Kerr

Issue date: 23 April 2013

sea of fish

Visiting research fellow, UWE Bristol alumna and President of the RWA, Janette Kerr is currently exhibiting at the Coastal Museum on the Vestland coast in Bergen.

The Extreme Seas exhibition forms part of a project called 'Extreme Wave theory' funded by the Arts Council and will be showing for the next two months.

Dr Kerr spent a month in June 2012 as visiting artist at Bergen's Meteorological Institute, with scientists and meteorologists investigating the unpredictability of waves and wind, and delving into the amazing archives of early meteorological equipment, records and maps housed at the Institute. She has been producing a body of work combining archival research and oceanographic measurement.

Dr Kerr describes how this work has influenced her paintings, “The impact of entering the meteorologist's world, to play with computer satellite programmes and look through layers of cloud and wind to glimpse the land masses and animated sea surfaces; to encounter terms such as 'fetch', and begin to understand the formation of waves - of what a rogue wave is and the impact of such waves on coastal communities, ships and oil rigs - has made me far more aware of the dynamics and complexity of sea”.

A chance discovery of a collection of early 1930's photographs of cod fishing off the Norwegian coast has resulted in a series of large drawings of fishermen rowing and trawling in seas full of fish. Images incorporating meteorological data and symbols, and prints combining historical artifacts with her drawings and paintings of the sea around Shetland are also on display.

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