The Beatrice Works
It is July 2007 and two 85metre wind turbine generator units have been towed from the Cromarty Firth to a site 22km from the Caithness coast. In a small boat nearby, artist Sue Jane Taylor is holding her breath as each structure is winched carefully into place. Visible in certain lights from 65km away, these imposing structures are the world's first deep water turbines.
Sue Jane Taylor has been following this pioneering engineering project for since 2006. In Denmark she documented the manufacture of the 63metre carbon fiber blades; in Germany she watched the production of the Repower generators that convert air into power; and in Scotland's Arnish, Methil Nigg and other industrial sites she drew men and women working in this new energy industry.
Taylor's resulting body of work, The Beatrice Project, provides us with an invaluable insight into the people and technologies that are producing the North Sea's first deep-water renewable energy. Her images capture the enormous scale of the turbines and the changing land and seascapes around them. As with all Taylor's work, pioneering technology sits side by side with the humanity of individual workers and possesses deep insights for us all.
As importantly, Taylor's beautifully drawn images and sophisticated observations continue the tradition of British artists producing poetic and humane engineering drawings and prints, as evidenced by the likes of Stanley Spencer (1891-1959), Sir William Bell Scott (1811-1890) ad John Duncan Fergusson (1874-1961).
In 2013-14, Sue Jane Taylor's Beatrice Project drawings, paintings and prints will be toured to galleries and museums throughout Scotland and England and will be accompanied by a series of lectures and an illustrated catalogue.
Sue Jane Taylor lives in Scotland and is a graduate of Gray's School of Art, Aberdeen, the Slade School of Art in London and Konsthogskolan in Stockholm.