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.
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!
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