Recent 'over-drawings' by Chris Dorsett on the bicentenary of Lord Armstrong's birth. Curated by Malcolm Gee.
On the two hundredth anniversary of the birth of William Armstrong, Gallery North marks the occasion with an exhibition of artworks by Chris Dorsett, Reader in Art School Practices at Northumbria University. Armstrong was born in Shieldfield on a site now occupied by the University's campus and in a career that spanned the greater part of the nineteenth century he became one of the most important industrialists and engineers in the world. Armstrong's name is associated with the birth of modern artillery and the emergence of the naval powers that shaped the political and military landscape of the next hundred years.
From Dorsett's point of view these grand narratives of history overshadow, indeed inhibit, our appreciation of the extraordinary presence of past things and in relation to the Armstrong bicentenary Delay (delayed by illness) focuses on the archival legacy generated by A Supplement to Lord Armstrong's Work on Electric Movement in Air and Water, a scientific publication held by the Literary and Philosophical Society of Newcastle. The completion of this book was delayed by Armstrong's growing infirmity in the late 1890s and for Dorsett it lingers still, an extraordinary object lodged in our contemporary consciousness. The bicentenary is an opportunity to take another look at Armstrong's activities and the exhibition in Gallery North features new artworks based on the photographs in this book.