Offshore energy art is at the heart of new exhibition

Scotland’s evolving offshore energy industry has been captured in a new exhibition at the Scottish Maritime Museum.

Visual artist Sue Jane Taylor’s vibrant, touring exhibition exploring Scotland’s elemental and evolving offshore energy industry has opened at the museum (Denny Tank) on Castle Street, Dumbarton.

Hosted in association with National Museums Scotland, Age of Oil brings together a rich display of artworks, films and diary excerpts drawn from Taylor’s residencies on North Sea oil platforms over the past decade.

The contemporary works explore the relationship between art, environment and industry across platform life, the vast decommissioning programme and the rise of renewable energy.

Taylor’s artistic interest in the North Sea oil and gas industry stirred as a child growing up in the Black Isle during the oil boom of the 1970s.

Since then, she has spent over thirty years capturing industry life gaining access to extremely remote and publicly inaccessible offshore installations. Age of Oil draws on projects undertaken over the past ten years.

David Mann, director of the Scottish Maritime Museum, said: ‘We are thrilled to build on the well-received launch of our new national art collection last Autumn with this vibrant and insightful contemporary exhibition co-hosted with National Museums Scotland.

‘With Age of Oil, visitors have a wonderful opportunity to explore in much greater detail the intricacies and resilience of the engineering and people at work in this brutal environment few of us experience at first hand.’

Sue Jane Taylor describes the experiences informing her artworks: ‘Visually these offshore installations are brutal, not bonnie, built for pure function, crude oil and gas production, and more recently renewable power generation. Located in ever changing remote natural environments, over the years they have taken on their own individual social atmosphere created by people who have personalised their offshore work spaces.

‘I witnessed at first hand the start of the oil and gas industry’s immense decommissioning programme, which constitutes such a complex and fascinating period in North Sea maritime history. I found it poignant watching workers, who have had lifelong attachments to their platform, shut it down, abandon their work site and end its life.’

Entrance to Age of Oil, which runs until 12 November, is included in the Museum admission.

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