Cornish Art

Porthminster Gallery Nick Pumphrey

Art in St Ives

01Feb

A quick look at the art movement that made St Ives famous throughout the world, and a round up of upcoming exhibitions to catch in the town.

Alfred Wallis at Chy an Carrack

Alfred Wallis at Chy an Carrack

During and after the second world war, and for a quarter of a century, St Ives became a hub for an internationally successful collective of modern artists, initially including Naum Gabo, Barbara Hepworth, Winifred and Ben Nicholson, Wilhemina Barns-Graham, Margaret Mellis and John Wells, amongst others.

Ben Nicholson and Christopher Wood were particularly inspired by the primitive paintings of retired St Ives seaman Alfred Wallis.

This movement, boosted by talented and forward thinking Cornish artists such as Peter Lanyon, and young abstract artists such as Terry Frost, Patrick Heron and Bryan Wynter, congregated in and around the small harbour town and created an inspirational body of work that influenced other great modern artists including Rothko (who visited Cornwall in the 50s) and reached all corners of the globe.

Tate St Ives Award Winning Extension (Pic - Hufton+Crow)

Tate St Ives Award Winning Extension – Hufton+Crow

In 1980, Tate took over the running of the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Gallery, and by the mid 80s plans were afoot to bring a Tate gallery to St Ives, to show works from the Tate collection of artists who had lived or worked in St Ives.

Opened in 1993, Tate St Ives, with a large, award winning extension completed in 2018, houses a permanent collection showing the St Ives School, and a feature gallery with changing exhibitions.

This year, with an exciting internationally flavoured programme, Tate St Ives hosts a first UK retrospective of Egyptian-Canadian artist Anna Boghiguan (8/2-6/5/19); Lebanese artist Huguette Caland has her first UK museum solo exhibition (18/5-1/9/19) and Nigerian-born contemporary artist Otobong Nkanga will install new and existing works (20/9/19-5/1/20).

The Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Gallery – her St Ives home, workshop and garden, from 1949 til her death there in 1975 – has a permanent exhibition of her sculptures in her living room and garden, and the preserved sculpture workshop.  This can be visited on a joint ticket with Tate St Ives and is highly recommended as a must-see.  See if you can also spot her sculptures around the town.

Chy an Carrack perched above the beach - viewed through a Hepworth sculpture

Chy an Carrack perched above the beach – viewed through a Hepworth sculpture

The fantastic value Art Pass (£18/£14 concessions, available from all participating venues) will give you a week’s access to Tate St Ives, the Barbara Hepworth Museum, as well as:
the Leach Pottery, St Ives, founded in 1920 by Bernard Leach and Shoji Hamada, among the most respected and influential potteries in the world.
Penlee House Gallery and Museum – which shows Luminaires: Victorian Photographers in West Cornwall until 16/3/19, followed by Artists, by themselves – portraits of the Newlyn School and Lamorna Group including works by Stanhope Forbes, Fred Hall, Dame Laura Knight, Dod Procter and Richard Weatherby,
Newlyn Art Gallery and The Exchange – shows a lively programme through 2019 of contemporary work in all media, from national and international artists.

It’s worth dipping into members’ exhibitions at the Penwith Gallery, home of the Penwith Society of Arts, and the St Ives Society of Artists, which was founded in 1927.

Simon Williams Shape Shifters Porthminster Gallery

Simon Williams – Shape Shifters, Porthminster Gallery – New Beginnings

This rich artistic heritage also gives a great selection of commercial galleries and our top picks to appreciate and browse include:
Porthminster Gallery (feature image – Nick Pumphrey/Visit St Ives) – in an old pilchard-press building, this fascinating gallery features original works by established St Ives School artists, as well as up and coming and St Ives based contemporary artists, sculptors and ceramicists.  They open 2019 with their annual New Beginnings exhibition (until 23/3/19) of artworks by artists new to the gallery including Porthmeor Studios based Simon Williams.
Anima Mundi – at the cutting edge of contemporary art and this year featuring provocative Cornish artist Samuel Bassett (13/4-18/5/19).
– the Belgrave – hosts regular exhibitions of work by major artists associated with the St Ives Modern Period and kicks off 2019 with St Ives artist Bryan Pearce (4-25/3/19).
– the New Craftsman – focuses on craft makers, ceramicists and reputable artists including Rose Hilton, Matthew Lanyon, John Miller, this year’s highlights include Emma Jeffryes and Michael Praed.

Further afield, our top recommendation would be a visit to Kurt Jackson’s Foundation Gallery, in St Just.  This year’s exhibitions start with a retrospective of the late Peter Jackson, who was taught by William Scott, Peter Lanyon and Terry Frost (13/4-18/5/19).

Immerse yourself in art with a special short break Art Lovers package at Chy an Carrack, with a luxury welcome gift bag including free Art in Cornwall book, suggested weekend itinerary and helpful hints for the best art venues to visit in and around St Ives – see Special Offers for more details.

Awards flying in for St Ives

17Jul

Awards are just flying in for St Ives this year!

Tate St Ives has won the Art Fund Museum of the Year 2018 award, following its £20m extension to the iconic building that sits above Porthmeor Beach.  Its a fantastic re-imagining of the striking seaside gallery, providing much more space for both a permanent collection and contemporary exhibitions.  The current Patrick Heron retrospective is vibrant, colourful and full of the joys of summer.  Read more about the museum award here.  The building extension also received both a 2018 RIBA South West and National Award in recognition of the outstanding architecture.

Porthmeor Beach, St Ives and Carbis Bay, St Ives have been awarded the coveted Blue Flag again this year.  The Blue Flag is the international standard for the best beaches in the world only achieved with the highest water quality, safety, cleanliness and environmental standards.  Porthminster Beach, Porthmeor Beach and Carbis Bay also all received the Keep Britain Tidy Seaside Award.

Tate St Ives Exterior

Tate St Ives reopening is a triumph

17Oct
Rebecca Warren exhibition in new Tate extension

Rebecca Warren exhibition in new Tate extension

Its an extension that has taken 12 years, and what has emerged from this long and detailed process, is an iconic gallery that now commands and celebrates its coastal setting.  It leads you through the story of the British, Cornish and international artists that congregated in and around St Ives during and after the second world war and highlights the astounding impact this tiny artistic corner had on the development of abstraction across the western world.

Works by Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicholson sit beside their international contemporaries and friends Naum Gabo and Piet Mondrian.  Colourful, perceptive and uplifting pieces by Alfred Wallis, Bryan Wynter, Peter Lanyon, Patrick Heron, John Wells, Wilhemina Barns-Graham, William Scott and Sandra Blow all have their part in this intriguing story and are central to the new permanent exhibition.

Chy an Carrack perched above the beach – viewed through a Hepworth sculpture

The flow of the building has been reversed and the climax of this journey is the fantastic new 500m2 industrial exhibition space that links these abstraction pioneers to contemporary artists.  The debut exhibition features organic, reaching sculptures by Rebecca Warren.  A selection of intriguing recent works their hand-worked, sometimes humorous, spindly forms are a contrast to the smooth, polished, sensual sculptures of Hepworth.

Insights for all ages are available through educational talks and events and activities, boosted by the new studio spaces and installations of interactive explorations of abstract art.  Although spoilt for choice by the surrounding cafes of St Ives, the Tate Café sitting on the roof overlooking the stunning vista of Porthmeor Beach is also worth a visit.

Tate St Ives is just a delightful walk through the town from Chy an Carrack, and a weekend spent absorbing the artistic heritage of the town, the spectacular coastal scenery and sampling some delicious Cornish seafood can’t be far from the perfect winter weekend break!

Alfred Wallis – The Blue Ship circa 1934 – courtesy Tate

Check our online calendar for availability and special offers for luxury self-catering winter breaks in St Ives.

Tate St Ives
Rebecca Warren – All that Heaven Allows – until 7 Jan 2018
Virginia Woolf – 10 Feb – 29 Apr 2018
Patrick Heron – 19 May – 9 Sept 2018

Barbara Hepworth Museum & Sculpture Garden

 

Kurt Jackson Following the Surfer

Following the Surfer

27Feb
Kurt Jackson surfboard

Kurt Jackson surfboard

Popped down to see the fantastic exhibition – Obsession: Following the Surfer by Kurt Jackson this month.  A real gem with a series of large and small paintings, prints, sculpture and ceramics inspired by the coastline and surfing.  One of our favourite pictures (featured top) really did have such power and depth you could dive right in.

This gallery space in St Just is a clean, fresh canvas to display the wide variety of works that local artist Kurt produces and is well worth a visit.

We look forward to the next exhibition Bees (and the Odd Wasp) in My Bonnet – that runs from 25 March  – 19 August 2017.

More info here