John Wheeler’s exhibition of line drawings capture the the character and spirit of the people of Teesside. Open until 7th December at the Heritage Gallery, Cargo Fleet.
I just thought I would tell you about a lovely little exhibition at the Heritage Gallery, Cargo Fleet.
John Wheeler is a skilled technician with the pencil or using the paint brush to provide very quick line drawings that reveal impressions of people he sees in passing.
Drawn or painted onto cheap newsprint the idea is that like the people depicted they will eventually fade away. The portraits are tacked up on the wall of gallery with bulldog clips. A series of quick impressions of expressions. We are left to make up our own minds who or what these “Teesside People” are or are up to?
Some in pencil, some blue and some black lines with the absolute economy of drawn effort. Noses are painted like a wigwam. Eyes a semi circle. Is that a glimmer of a smile? Is the guy in the hat musing thoughtfully? A couple, the girl in the foreground’s eyes straining to look behind her perhaps seeming to say “what is he up to behind me?”
There is an interesting series of quick studies from behind a seated man, his shoulders hunched, is he reading a paper? Maybe he is feeding the pigeons? Or perhaps just staring off into mid distance?
John Wheeler’s exhibition is showing until 7th December at the Heritage Gallery at the magnificently restored Cargo Fleet Office, once the headquarters of Langbaurgh Council and before that of British Steel, Teesside and Dorman Long the great iron and steel company that shaped so much of Teesside. Walk past the elegant hallway with its ship models and wood pannelled central reception desk. Inside the gallery waft the aromas of the café, under new management. I challenge you to leave without sampling the refreshents.
The exhibition shares the heritage gallery with harpoons that once worked the Arctic from ships built at Cargo Fleet. Henry Bolckow’s drawing desk is also there, loaned from a very Teesside name, Heagney. Do their stores still exist or are they now in the hands of a Tesco Express or some other conglomerate?
This building and gallery is all about heritage as the name projects and for artist John Wheeler: “The heritage of a particular area is not only depicted by its building and industry (past and present), but by its people. For it is the people of Teesside who have made Teesside what it is today. These everyday, ordinary people are what I am drawn to, and who I try to depict in these simple images.”
I would urge you to look closer at Teesside and Teesside folk through the drawings of John Wheeler.