Here at The Customs House we showcase a range of visual art forms that reflect the work we do with our local community

Visual Art at The Customs House

We have a number of spaces where we show visual art:

  • The Port of Tyne Gallery – is currently undergoing refurbishment and will reopen on the 28th of May with the Takeover Open Exhibition.
  • Upper Fusion Gallery – shows work by emerging and early career artists as well as work from community projects and regional groups and bodies that we have developed relationships with.
  • The Stairwell and Lower Fusion Gallery – shows work by our regular adult drawing group Drawn Together.
  • The Step Up Gallery – celebrates the amazing creative talent of children across South Tyneside.


Upper Fusion Gallery

Sea, Sky and River: Fixing the line about its edge

David G. Wilkinson

16 April – 31 August 2018

In his new exhibition at The Customs House, David G. Wilkinson brings together new and older work that represents his ongoing exploration of the local, coastal landscape.

With a lifetime living on the riverside and at the sea-edge, David continuously works to capture the fleeting moments of this particular environment, making different types of images about sea, sky and river. ‘With my eyes looking down and in, deep, through things, then turning through the horizon, upwards and out. Vast and tiny. Perhaps through a microscope, binoculars, camera, telescope, or none of those, just my imagination’.

Drawings and paintings take time to make and show the history of their making, both abstract and figurative. The artist has tried to use that making history to generate layers through which the viewer might see, more deeply into the picture and beyond. The craft of making these pictures is important and working in an abstract way can make those clues more available.

This exhibition is part of a wider project called Painting The River, supported by The Children’s Foundation. Find out more >

To correspond with the exhibition David will be taking up residence in the Upper Fusion gallery space. The public are welcome to pop in and meet the artist at work on the following days/times:

Monday 30th April, 10am – 3pm
Monday 21 May, 10am – 3pm
Monday 11 June, 10am – 3pm
Monday 18th June, 10am – 3pm

About the artist:

Studied at Sunderland School of Art.

David G. Wilkinson has made art since leaving Art School in the late 70’s.  He designed the murals on Commercial Road in South Shields and others in the town and around Tyne & Wear. He worked for more than thirty years teaching in a local college Art and Design Department. David has exhibited abroad, in this country and has work in public and private collections.

He grew up and South Shields and lives ow’a the wata in North Shields.

Please follow his artwork on Instagram @daveygwcolour and photography @daveygw

The Gallery Exhibition Programme is not currently accepting proposals.

Gallery Learning Programme

Our Gallery Learning Programme includes activities events and projects for all age groups and abilities. We work with both the local community and formal education sector, hosting activities that range from artist talks, gallery tours, a drawing club and a series of creative masterclasses. We have recently received funding from The Paul Hamlyn Foundation and The Community Foundation to develop YI, a programme of visual arts activities for 14-19 year olds. If you are an artist or educator and wish to work with us, please send your CV with details of the relevant teaching experience to our Gallery Learning Officer.

You can contact Lesley Guy, Gallery Learning Officer by emailing or calling 0191 427 3731.