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News | Published: Tue 27 Apr 2010

ImageMaggi Hambling sea paintings open TODAY

A major exhibition of new sea paintings by one of Britain's most distinguished contemporary artists opens today at The Fitzwilliam Museum.

Maggi Hambling: The Wave brings together a powerful group of large-scale paintings by Suffolk-born artist Maggi Hambling (b.1945) depicting the power and energy of the sea. A series of evocative and sensual portraits of the wave, these works reveal the artist's long-standing fascination with the elemental character of the North Sea off the Suffolk coast - a subject that has dominated Hambling's art since 2002, a year before her celebrated sculpture Scallop was unveiled on Aldeburgh beach.

This exhibition comprises her most recent paintings, a number of which will be on public display for the first time. Among her most ambitious in scale, these works confront the viewer with all the power, grandeur and beauty of the sea.

"As the waves of the North Sea voraciously consume our coast, these new paintings respond to the energy of their action as they break, " writes Maggi Hambling. "This sea, the widest of mouths, roaring or laughing, is always seductive. Life and death mysteriously co-exist in the timeless rhythm of the waves."

"This is a wonderful exhibition in which Maggi Hambling demonstrates all the robust authenticity and explosive energy for which she is renowned, " says Fitzwilliam Museum Director Timothy Potts. "The swelling and crashing of waves along the Suffolk coast provides the perfect subject for her expressive style and lashing fluidity of brushwork. Rarely since Turner has a British artist conveyed the turbulent power and majesty of the sea - at once fascinating and frightening - as successfully as Hambling does in this landmark series of paintings."

View the Maggi Hambling: The Wave online exhibition