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What are ’Sea Paintings’?

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

Damien Hirst’s ’Sea Paintings’ capture in photorealistic detail images of coastal storms from across the world. A series of 64 paintings rendered in greyscale, ’Sea Paintings’ echo the temperament of the British coastlines that Hirst has observed during winter. 

Created in 2022, ’Sea Paintings’ is the latest iteration of his 25-year-long effort to perfectly recreate photographs in paint – what he terms ‘Fact Paintings’. Hirst has wrestled with photography, a medium which has remained a complicating force for painters since the creation of the  first photograph, since childhood when he was told, ‘When you can paint like a photograph then you’re a real artist!’. 

Paired with dark, encroaching clouds, these dynamic images of coastal storms are frozen in time through the single click of a button. In ’Sea Paintings’, these chance, energetic moments were then slowly painted over months and years. In doing so, throwaway photographic moments become immortalised in paint. ’Sea Paintings’ are embedded with a juxtaposition between chance and intentional, order and chaos.