Mark Mooney

5.30: 1864

20 November- 20 January, 2008

On 24th November 1864, at 5.30pm, a force of 10 gale wrecked two ships and claimed 32 lives on the Black Middens at the mouth of the river Tyne. These tragic events led to the construction of the historic Watch House and the founding of England’s first Volunteer Life Brigade at Tynemouth. 5.30:1864 marks the one hundred and forty-third anniversary of the catastrophe by revisiting this historic event from a contemporary perspective using abstract imagery to reinterpret local historic accounts.




Mooney beautifully combines found organic materials and pigments collected from the Tyne to create complex, sculptured surface textures that capture the powerful essence of the wild North Sea. His fractured, blue-green abstract images evoke a sense of being drawn into a dark, angry, swirling maelstrom, triggering tragic memories of loss at sea, of wreck and aftermath. These multi-layered works seem to reflect the drama of man’s often-fragile relationship with nature, creating a romantic sense of the sublime, reminiscent of the awesome beauty of the violent power of nature in many of Turner’s vortex-like sea paintings.