Centred on Sting’s commissioned painting 'Northern City Renaissance, Newcastle, England' (2004-2008) by leading contemporary American artist Stephen Hannock, this exhibition will show scenes from the Laing Art Gallery’s collection depicting the Tyne’s sites of industrial shipbuilding and coalmining history.
Northern City Renaissance is a celebration of Newcastle past and present. Like many modern cityscapes, old and new architecture combine to form a mix of monuments to particular moments in time. At the heart of the painting is the contemporary, marked by the Sage music centre and Gateshead Millennium Bridge, signifying the region’s recent regeneration through culture. Embedded in this modern-day cityscape are, also importantly, references to Newcastle’s industrial past. Closed shipyards line the river and former coalmines located towards the horizon are mapped with areas of light. Burning brightly, the lights signify the boom in industry on the Tyne, as well as anticipating its eventual decline during the 1970s-80s.
Stephen Hannock works within a tradition of 19th century American painters such as Thomas Cole and Frederic Edwin Church, known collectively as the Hudson River School. These in turn took inspiration from British masters such as J M W Turner and John Constable. The artist is represented by Marlborough Gallery in New York and London.