Rugby born artist Sam Peacock, 38, from Wimbledon in South London exposes the bare facts of hydraulic fracturing for shale gas, more commonly known as ‘fracking’, in an alternative art form. The controversial subject of fracking can be difficult to orient, but we want to ask, what does fracking mean to you?
Sam Peacock's Fractured collection arose after hearing that his hometown of Rugby was marked as a potential fracking site. What would become of the town in which his family lived and worked? Peacock was concerned and set about learning the facts about hydraulic fracturing and its consequences if a license was approved. The landscape painter explains that “Hydraulic fracturing was happening near Rugby, with companies ready to set fire to a coal field that would release methane that would pollute the ground water.” This ignited the artists’ imagination to delve underground; the idyllic spread of countryside was about to have its natural balance altered, causing Peacock to fracture his own creative process.
Peacock's process for the collection mimics the high-pressure cocktail of water, sand and toxic chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing process; it is this explosive chemical reaction that Peacock burns onto his steel sheets. Layers of paint, wire and the raw colours blister and fracture under the high pressure of fire and blasts causing plaster to seep through the abstract infrastructure. Peacock notes that his 52 art works that make up the Fractured series “seek to create debate”, hence, laying out the possibilities of hydraulic fracturing for you to decide what fracking means to you.
As Peacock's sole representative, Curious Duke wanted to learn more about this controversial process. Founder Eleni Duke decided to host the artists' explorations, saying that “Art history has always been laced with art that conveys a social message; it is important that we continue to use art as a medium of debate and conversation.” Both sides of fracking need to be discussed, and now! With the UK running out of natural resources, hydraulic fracturing has been championed as the new energy, as we struggle with storing wind and solar power. Fracking produces 300,000 barrels of energy a day with one Well being processed up to 18 times making it an economic argument, but always countered with the environmental and the fear of potential dangers. This March, Curious Duke Gallery will wade into the conversation hosting both parties in Fractured.