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Jim Cooke

‘Riparian’  – Exhibition by Jim Cooke

Drill Hall Gallery

Saturday 1st December – 7pm to 11pm 

Join a special viewing and gathering this Saturday evening when the artist Jim Cooke will discuss his photographs with geomorphologist Dr Ken Coombe, who brings an added dimension to the ‘Riparian’ exhibition by giving a presentation about Portland’s landform and previous ancient river sytem. Both Jim Cooke and Ken Coombe will be open to questions from the audience – followed by bar, music and projected images from 18 PSQT ‘Stone Island’ events.

 7 – 8pm  ‘Rivers Remembered’ discussion with presentation by Dr Ken Coombe 

8pm – 11pm bar, music, projected images from 18 PSQT ‘Stone Island’ events


river plant 1

Jim Cooke’……Riparian is an exploration of the marginal plants that line the river Thames. These plants are the flexible border that defines the space between land and water. Many are indigenous, some introduced, some only flourish in these specific locations.

Biographical Details

Senior Lecturer in Photography – University of Brighton.

Jim Cooke’s photographs have been extensively exhibited internationally and are in private collections in London, New York and Toronto.  Public collections include the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, Fried – Frank Collection, London, Portland Art Museum USA, British Engineerium and Collection de la Caixa Geral de Depositos, Lisbon.


notebook 1

my blood   


‘Rivers Remembered’ –  Review by Andrea Charters – Arts Writer

As the winter gales blow in, there’s an oasis of serenity in the shape of river vistas, resting in Portland’s historic Drill Hall. Here you’ll find warmth – a tranquil study of moments frozen in time. You’ll find nature in all its unpredictable drama and beautiful restfulness, its contrasting seasons and contradictory scales; you’ll find music and silence, flights of fancy and stoic reality – all captured by renowned photographer Jim Cooke.

Luckily there’s still time to see this exhibition, Riparian, alluding to the riverbank.

You’re invited to enjoy one last special viewing of this show on Saturday December 1 from 7pm, when the artist will discuss his work with geomorphologist  Dr Ken Coombe, who brings an added dimension to the evening by giving a presentation about Portland’s landforms and ancient river system. Both Cooke and Coombe will be open to questions from the audience.

The event is being hosted in part to celebrate Cooke’s extraordinary body of work – 80 hand printed photographs in all – and also to underline a key philosophy of the Portland Sculpture & Quarry Trust (PSQT) – namely the interconnectedness of the arts with science, and the myriad of things in between.

To call Riparian a ’study’ is quite deliberate. This is a collection of watery observations made over a period spanning 20 years, while Coombe’s study is of three rivers he believes once flowed through Portland – about 125 million years ago.

Ken Coombe is from a Portland family who had a great input into the stone industry and will present evidence-based research of long-forgotten river ways, while the rivers Cooke has documented will in time dry up – so science suggests – and return to the stone they were born from.

To the geologically uninitiated, this may sound far-fetched – but in many ways here lies the beauty of the work embraced by PSQT, where a fusion of arts with science coexists happily and creates new learning opportunities and directions to investigate as a result.

Coombe is a scientist who has supported the work of the PSQT over the years and donated materials that have made an important contribution to the Trust’s Living Land Archive.  An award-winning geomorphologist, his theory of three major rivers having once existed on Portland is fascinating, while the evidence of his research is compelling.

Geomorphology is the link with geology which underpins the landscape and is the force that shapes our landscape, fragile ecology and climate.

Coombe’s three dimensional model of the Portland and Weymouth anticline will be available to view, along with projections of his detailed drawings of the major jointing system.

The model illustrates how Portland was forced upwards by tectonic plate movement, causing the pronounced jointing system that enables the stone to be quarried today.

Perhaps unbelievable – but utterly fascinating – is the fact that Portland stone was formed through a process of sedimentation when the area which is now the Island was nearer to the equator, having been pushed northwards when the Alpine mountain range was formed.

In some ways, it might be argued that the layering of the earth the act of quarrying exposed on Portland has not only empowered Coombe’s research, but encapsulates the many layers of experience to be gained from the PSQT – and there’s so much more in the way of captivating information to be learned from him.

The evening includes a bar, music and projected images from 16 ‘PSQT Stone Island’ events 2012 at the Drill Hall Gallery, Tout Quarry Sculpture Park and Community Stone Workspace

       Parking by prior arrangement or please park below the 30 mile per hour limit at Easton.

For further information call 01305 826736. PSQT Drill Hall Gallery, Easton Lane, Portland DT5 1BW

Acknowledgement:  The Community Stone Workspace with exhibition/refreshment area is part financed by the European Agricultural Fund for European Development 2007- 2013: ‘Europe investing in rural areas’, delivered through the Chalk & Cheese Local Action Group with Defra as the Managing Authority.




































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