River Stories

Anne Krinsky: Tide Line Thames  has been up for two weeks in The Gallery, Thames-Side Studios. The last four opening days of the show are 22 – 25 September, from 12–6 pm. 

Everyone feels a connection to the River Thames. While I have been invigilating the exhibition, visitors have been telling me their river stories and starting conversations about river history, the pace of development, flooding and climate change. A woman in the gallery a few days ago, who had lived in Putney for many years, told me she remembers flooding in Putney houses before the Thames Barrier was built and receiving frequent phone alerts from the Port of London Authority. The increasingly frequent use of the Barrier raises concerns about how long it can protect a subsiding London from rising sea levels due to climate change.

Among the works on view in Tide Line Thames is my trio of digital scrolls below: Rotherhithe Wall, Wapping Stairs and Paint Jobs Masthouse. Their imagery references the maritime and industrial history of the Thames. I also wanted to suggest the verticality of the river walls and the tidal shift of the river – up to 7 meters.


These archival digital scrolls were printed on Hannemuhle German Etching Paper at Thames-Side Print Studioon the large-format Epson. The print studio, on the back side of the Gallery building, faces the river and has a fabulous view of the Thames Barrier.

I have been trying to find out if this unusual structure I recently photographed at dead low tide in Rotherhithe, was part of the infrastructure of the Grand Surrey Canal. Does anyone know its history?

I am fascinated with both the geometric regularity of repeated pattern and its disruption. As such, the eroding river architecture is a perfect match for my visual interests. On the foreshore in Greenwich, cement bags have been stacked as bulwarks to preserve the river walls. Here are two photos from my Shoring Up Greenwich series.

In making the Tide Line Thames paintings, I was thinking about the ephemeral and kinetic nature of the tidal river, as it brings in and takes away bits of material, eroding and shifting seemingly fixed structures. I worked with acrylic and collaged Mylar on aluminium panels, slowly building up layers of acrylic and moving around pieces of my painted drafting film, in an additive and subtractive process. 

Here is River Walls, one of the paintings in the show –  acrylic and mixed media on aluminium panel, 135 x 100 centimetres.