Cormorant fishing

Julian Ruddock

British ( b.1965 )

Cormorant fishing

  • Pastel on paper
  • Signed lower right

Image size 28.9 inches x 21 inches ( 73.5cm x 53.5cm )
Frame size 39 inches x 30.5 inches ( 99cm x 77.5cm )

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Sold by Big Sky Fine Art; this original mixed media artwork by Julian Ruddock; dating from the 1990s.
The work is presented and supplied in a sympathetic contemporary frame, mounted using conservation materials and behind non-reflective glass.

Currently living and working near Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, on the west coast of Wales, Julian Ruddock is an exceptional British artist with a strong interest in the environment. This interest has found expression through the practice of landscape painting and the production of site-specific sculpture, mapping projects and installation work. He is interested in the production of works that investigate the interaction of natural environment with human histories, in particular the discourse on environmental art based practice and climate change. Indeed, this was the subject of his PhD at Aberystwyth University. Ruddock’s interest is to combine traditional means and modern media to foster awareness, enquiry and expression of the environment.

Ruddock completed a Foundation Course at the University of Gloucestershire from 1985-86. In 1997, he graduated from Aberystwyth University with a First Class Honours Degree, BA in Art and Art History. He went on the complete his MA in Fine Art at Aberystwyth, then his PGCE at the University of Newport. Between 2010-17 he completed a PhD at the Aberystwyth University School of Art.

Between his studies, he has been employed as a Lecturer in Art and Art History at Coleg Ceredigion, previously teaching at Lifelong Learning, and the Aberystwyth School of Art. As a teacher and mentor he has been well respected and highly influential.

Throughout his career Ruddock has also worked as a self-employed artist and has taken part in a great many selected exhibitions throughout the UK, and also Australia.

Ruddock’s PhD was in practice-based Fine Art and the aim of his research was to develop projects that are based on art and science collaboration in relation to climate chance. This has taken him from rivers in Wales to the remote and arid regions of Southern Ethiopia.
The intentions of the art/science collaborations stem from an interest in landscape evolution, human impact on the environment and recognition of the need to communicate climate change research to a wider audience.

Recent years have seen increased collaboration between the sciences and arts, with conferences, galleries and residencies devoted to exploiting the mutual benefits that can arise from mingling the two
Spheres. Ruddock has been an active member of the Visualising Geomorphology Working Group, whose remit is the promote the science of geomorphology through engagement with the arts.

Recently, Ruddock joined a delegation of earth scientist to Ethiopia to record their research on climate change. The work centered around a remote region of Southern Ethiopia where the researchers collected sediment drill cores for analysis close to some of the world’s most important fossil and artefact sites. His role as part of the team was of an artist in residence and his images and film work played an important part in chronicling the work of the project. He also captured fascinating imagery of the local tribes people.

Ruddock said; “My biggest remit is to work with the scientists and get involved with the communication of their findings. The idea behind it all is that scientists are very good at doing the science, obviously, but it is artists who are good at the communication side. The project is looking at how climate might have affected human evolution hundreds of thousands of years ago. They think that there are various factors that
might have caused human change and human evolution at various points in history, and think that climate was a significant part of that.”

Ruddock reflects; “When we talk about climate change in the West we talk about where these effects are going to happen; actually they are happening in the places that didn’t cause the problem in the first place. So these people are getting increased droughts.”

An amazingly talented artist, with sound practical and academic credentials, Julian Ruddock is a man on a mission. His works are unique, and speak from both the head and heart. They are set to become very collectable amongst a generation that is waking up to their message.

Julian Ruddock uses the medium of his artwork to demonstrate his environmental credentials as he communicates important messages through powerful imagery.; here we have an original pastel on paper, which has a message for all humanity. It is entitled Cormorant Fishing, which is also a historical Chinese method of fishing. The image depicts a small coracle craft, within which are a couple, a male and a female. He has a grey beard, she has long dark hair. He is holding the oars of the small craft, whilst she holds a fish in each hand. The both have worried oppressed expressions on their faces. At the front of the coracle, a sea bird, the cormorant sits on the water, holding another larger fish in her beak. The sea looks black and if we look at the structure on the horizon, we know why. There is a large oil rig, pumping black fumes into the already darkened sky, and we comprehend that the oil in the sea has killed the fish. The message is that if we do not learn how to coexist with nature it is not only marine life, but our own existence that will be threatened.