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What are ’Coast Paintings’?

Where the Land Meets the Sea’ features works from Damien Hirst’s latest series ’Coast Paintings’, ’Sea Paintings’ and ’Seascapes’. 

Created in 2019, ’Coast Paintings’ are colourful action paintings which intend to convey the energy, excitement and change experienced by the seaside in winter. Each painting is named after a British coastal location and affixed to the back of each canvas is a matching postcard. 

The ’Coast Paintings’ began their life as grey canvases which were laid on the floor of Hirst’s studio while he painted his acclaimed Cherry Blossoms series. Constructed through Hirst’s now characteristic painting practice of intuitively splattering variously coloured paints onto his canvases, in ’Coast Paintings’ he leaves at times vast passages of the underlying grey canvas exposed. With the exposed grey canvas evoking the wintertime sky, the ’Coast Paintings’ emerge as aerial maps or satellite images of shimmering coastlines, as seen through pockets of cloud cover. 

These compositions evolve across 168 paintings. At times lively greens and soft pinks blanket the canvases while at others, deep reds and browns thickly but sparsely dot the surfaces. Sometimes the compositions evoke islands or peninsulas while at others, there’s a sense of the moment a long coastline meets the sea. Through each unique composition, Hirst intends to capture a sense of fragmented light in the British seas at wintertime.