The Customs House Art Gallery
Saturday, April 2, 2022
Sunday, May 15, 2022
The Customs House Mill Dam, South Shields NE33 1ES
North East England

Glaucus and Scylla
A Painting Project by Christian Mieves

The Customs House Gallery, South Shields

28 March – 15 May 2022


Glaucus and Scylla centres upon the idea of transformation, drawing links to the Greek myth of Glaucus and Scylla, while simultaneously focusing on the fluid settings and shifting identities between humanity and nature. In the myth, fisherman Glaucus sees himself transformed into a sea god with fish-like features. Subsequently gaining immortality and bound to the sea, the former fisherman becomes a protector of sailors lost on the waters. The irony of Glaucus’ identity later arises when he falls in love with the nymph Scylla, who is then transformed into a sea monster in the name of unrequited love, haunting the very fishermen Glaucus was duty-bound to protect.

The exhibition references the seaside location of The Customs House, including the overlap of its changing historical roles — from Merchant Navy building to morgue. It works as a space that crosses this transformational barrier, intrinsically linked to both the sea and the land, acting as a periphery of constant change.

The centrepieces of Glaucus and Scylla are two large-scale, almost mural-like paintings. Further blurring the barriers between spaces both imagined and real, the work departs from assumptions of traditional paintings and expands beyond the frame onto the wall.

The exhibition was created as a collaborative effort between Christian Mieves, students from Newcastle University and volunteers from The Customs House’s artistic community. Taking place over a three-week period, this process allowed visitors the chance to observe the behind-the-scenes changes happening in real-time.

Christian Mieves’ is a painter based in Newcastle. His work has been exhibited extensively in the UK, Germany, Spain and Mexico, often dealing with the different aspects of erosion over the last years. The exhibition at The Customs House Gallery marks the beginning of a new project of monumental, collaborative paintings.

This project has been supported by funding from Newcastle University and the Garfield Weston Fund.

For more information check out the page on The Customs House website: