Jessie Brennan portrait © Chris Dorley-Brown

Jessie Brennan portrait © Chris Dorley-Brown

A new exhibition at Rochester Art Gallery this month, ‘Adrift on Life’s Tides’, is inspired by the River Medway’s heritage and will see the first public view of a new work by the award winning London based artist Jessie Brennan.

The exhibition also includes one of the artist’s most famous works The Cut which won Second Prize in the Jerwood Drawing Prize, 2011, more recently this piece won Contemporary Talents 2012 (Drawing Category), François Schneider Foundation, France.

Jessie Brennan graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2007 and runs workshops across London as well as lecturing at a number of British universities. Her work has also featured in international exhibitions including Holland and Portugal.

Jessie Brennan said : “The river Medway has such a rich industrial and social heritage; my project was a kind of tribute to an atmosphere loaded with the ghosts of Kingsnorth power station, The Medway Queen, Navy boys, women ropery workers, shipwrecks, paddle steamers, U-boats, RSPB reserves, nuclear facilities, visiting royalty, cement works, ship-breakers, anarchist river dwellers, developers and land grabbers.”

“I was attracted to Chatham Docks because it’s entering a new phase in its history changing the social fabric of the area and the way the river is used.”

Historical artefacts have been donated to the exhibition by local collectors and organisations including Chatham Historic Dockyard, the Guildhall Museum and the Medway Queen Preservation Society.

Among the works will be one of the largest single exhibits ever shown at the gallery – an old heater from one of the county’s steam vessels which weighs nearly half a tonne.

On Saturday October 26 Jessie will lead a family drop in workshop at Rochester Art Gallery give people the chance to explore drawing and making.
There are two sessions from 1030-1230 and 1330-1530

On Saturday November 30 Jessie will talk about her work and her new river inspired work.
The talk will take place from 1300-1430

There is no need to book for either event – just turn up on the day.

The exhibition is at Rochester Art Gallery from October 17 until January 4, 2014

Much of the work Jessie has done can be viewed on her website