Julian Perry: There Rolls the Deep – Southampton City Art Gallery

Julian Perry: There Rolls the Deep 

The Rising Sea Level Paintings

18 February – 4 June 2022
There rolls the deep where grew the tree. O earth, what changes hast thou seen! 
In Memoriam, Alfred Lord Tennyson

Julian Perry has created a series of new paintings that explore coastal erosion as emblematic of a world in crisis. The exhibition is a passionate response to Climate Breakdown and will contain over 30 recent works by Perry as well as studies and found objects from eroding shores. Also included within the exhibition will be works from Southampton’s internationally renowned collection that have inspired Perry by artists including J.M.W. Turner, Albrecht Dürer, Gustave Courbet and William Nicholson.

Disintegration, loss and the tragedy of Climate Breakdown provide the context and inspiration for the artist’s haunting new works. The damaging effects of rising sea levels and resulting erosion on the UK’s coastline have inspired the artist to produce powerful new images. These works reflect the current anxieties about the impending environmental catastrophe.

As the exhibition’s centrepiece, Perry has created an extraordinary ‘secular altarpiece to the Assumption of CO2’ which depicts scenes of coastal erosion over four large panels which evoke the emotional drama of the Crucifixion. Each panel depicts locations on the East coast of England: Suffolk, Norfolk and East Yorkshire, all locations where the coastline is fast eroding due to a combination of its geology, extreme weather events and rising sea levels.

Exhibition talks, tours and workshops

Altarpiece to the Assumption of CO2, 2021 © The Artist
Oil on four panels, overall: 244 x 302cm

Main Image (top): Forest Edge, 2021 © The Artist


The creation of new work was made possible by generous support from Arts Council England’s National Lottery Project Grants programme.


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