Janette Kerr is a foul-weather painter. Drawn to the perimeters of land, her work is an index of edges and ledges, exposed headlands and wind-swept seas.
‘My process of making paintings involves extremes and instabilities: peripheries and promontories - sites of instability and unknowing, places of rapid change and shifts both physically and meteorologically’.
Extreme Wave Theory is an on-going research project concerning the interface between art and science. The work relates to the history and stories of the sea surrounding Shetland, and the work of Norwegian oceanographers studying the unpredictability of waves and wind. Her large-scale drawings and canvases are a direct response to the environment and the traditions inherent within it.
Through extended visits during the last year, she has amassed a kind of "non-intentional" personal archive. Kerr has been delving into the Shetland Museum archives for old documents and artifacts relating to fishing. She has been walking the coastline and watching the sea, talking to Shetland fishermen who know their sea and coastline intimately, and tell tales of storms, massive waves and near escapes, and travelled to the Bergen Meteorological Institute to engage in open dialogues with Norwegian mathematicians and scientists searching the oceans for extreme waves.
The outcome is a body of work that seeks to make direct visual associations between observational, archival and oral research, and oceanographic measurement.
Janette Kerr is President of the Royal West of England Academy and a Visiting Research Fellow in Fine Art at the University of the West of England.