Hartlepool Art Gallery/Simon Bartram (2022)

North Sea Man by Simon Bartram
North Sea Man                                                                      © Simon Bartram

The above painting measures 34cm by 24cm, using acrylic on canvas.

A grant of £700 was awarded to Hartlepool Art Gallery/Hartlepool Borough Council for this acquisition. This painting was included in an exhibition of Simon Bartram’s work, held at Hartlepool Art Gallery from January to April, 2022. It was titled ‘Under the Vapour Trails’, and portrayed images of contemporary northern masculinity. Nerys had a passionate commitment to contemporary creativity and to the use of colour, and Simon’s painting is a strong manifestation of both.

Simon, who previously worked as an illustrator of children’s books, grew up on Tyneside, among men who were traditionally employed in the heavy industries of the area, predominantly coal mining and shipbuilding. The characters who feature in his work typically express their identities through the clothes they wear, the football teams they follow and the pubs they frequent. The exhibition at Hartlepool Art Gallery resonated with local people who reported seeing themselves, or someone they knew, in the men portrayed, and was also very well received by younger visitors, with Simon running drawing workshops and story-telling sessions during the exhibition.