In September 2014, Art on the Underground appointed an artist to undertake our first project with London River Services.
Clare Woods’ watercolours Idler and Cranky offer a glimpse of being on the river itself; snapshots of sites that often go unseen when travelling over or alongside it – the concrete supports for a railway bridge, the ropes and wooden pillars of the bank.
The artist sees the river as a unique place from which to view the city, taking in both the North and the South of the city, from east to west, the architectural variety and history of the city flows silently past, as if muted.
“I was very much influenced and interested by the huge tidal range, in some places 8 meters and what this drop in tide exposes. The clearly layered history of the river bank structures, from Brunel’s SS Great Britain launch site to medieval pillars and Georgian steps and arches. I wanted to paint where these human structures meet the river but from the rivers point of view.”
The commission was for a pair of posters to be displayed in the eight London River Services piers – Millbank Pier; Westminster Pier; Embankment Pier; Blackfriars Pier; Festival Pier; Bankside Pier; Tower Pier; Greenwich Pier and at the Woolwich Ferry and poster sites across the Underground network.
Idler and Cranky are the first Art on the Underground commission with London River Services. This pilot project, alongside the Year of the Bus project ‘100’ with London Buses, represents an exciting expansion for the programme.
More information on the variety of river services available can be found here.