Blockworks

Prompted not by standing stones but by the shadows dancing among the brutalist concrete blocks of Orkney's historic causeways.

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Paintings & Prints

Four causeways in Orkney connect the Islands to the mainland, a total stretch of 1.4 miles of concrete cubes that sit incongruously in lush green landscape, turquoise waters and sugar-white sand. These barriers, commissioned by Winston Churchill in 1940, served as naval defences in the waters of Scapa Flow. 

I saw this brutalist barrier of great historical significance as an object of incredible beauty and visited it several times. Clambering amongst these five and ten-tonne blocks reveals deep crevices and trapped detritus, rusting and leaving marks. The sun and clouds create shadows that move over the forms, stretching and reaching down to the transparent overlapping waters. The negative and positive shapes appeared and disappeared, and was like a performance, a dance. This idea of movement informed my approach and reflected in my works on the barriers. - Beverley Rouwen

Sculptures

The Churchill Barriers were the starting point for this project but I also reflected on the twisted and weathered shapes of the ships partly submerged in the approaches. Three ceramic pieces capture my idea of the hard sharp edges of blocks and vessels somehow softened by the passing of time - Upscope, Downfins and Sideswipe.

Working with slab-like surfaces brought to mind the structures and furnitures of Scara Brae, as well as the concrete blockhouses of the various gun emplacements scattered around Orkney. With all these influences I built two further abstract architectural pieces - Scara Block 1 & 2. - Douglas Reeve