Marianne Fox Ockinga: Kings Cross – All Change
Recording the current upheaval in the landscape round the two great Victorian railway terminals of King’s Cross and St Pancras in relief prints, etchings, paintings, and drawings. A revolution in human and architectural affairs. This exhibition focuses on the huge changes in the area brilliantly depicted by Dickens in his novel ‘Dombey and Sons’ and frequented by the young Thomas Hardy.
Marianne has worked in the area for more than four decades. She has sketched and painted in the field, setting up her easel in notorious locations such as Goodsway and Coal Drop Yard, beside the Granary Square campus of the University of the Arts.
“These works are from the year 2000, when the area round St Pancras changed dramatically. It had become a gloomy and derelict place, as many of the old red brick Victorian buildings crumbled or were eradicated by the developers’ wrecking ball. I first saw and recorded this when, some years before, I was invited into the now demolished Culross Building to draw and paint. From the roof, I could clearly see the outline of Highgate in the distance.”
Recovering from a serious illness, in 2001 Marianne felt reinvigorated and eager to get down to work again at St Pancras. The first shock was to see cranes behind a scaffold of hoardings starting to yank out the Victorian gasholders. Marianne wanted to record what was happening quickly, knowing time was not on her side. Often, she went out at night, using the canal towpath, especially sinister in the shadows now that the familiar public lighting had been removed. By working regularly on site, local businesses got to know her work, and became supportive. Several exhibitions, presentations and shows in public and commercial venues ensued. These began with ‘Transition July 2002’ at the CTRL Visitor Centre at St Pancras. She held shows in a range of venues in the UK and Netherlands.
Marianne was born in the Netherlands but began her art education at the Bath Academy of Art in 1960. She completed her training at the Rijksakademie, Amsterdam, returning to settle in the UK in 1971. Marianne has always favoured working in the open air, drawing and painting from observation. Until 2000 she focused on landscapes across Europe, in the Netherlands and Italy especially. She also has taken portrait commissions. Since 1971 printmaking became the main focus of her work, especially after acquiring a large Columbian press.
In London Marianne has also worked at large sites in transformation, undertaken by invitation and commission, such as the Olympic Park for the 2012 Games and the Arsenal Emirates complex. She was also witness to the decommissioning and conversion of the elegant art deco Arsenal Highbury Stadium complex, recording in a variety of media. Her work is in collections both public and private, among them the Victoria and Albert Museum. She is a brother member of the Art Workers Guild.
Highgate Gallery is open:
Wed – Friday: 13.00 – 17.00
Saturday: 11.00 – 16.00
Sunday: 11.00 – 17.00