BBC Home

Explore the BBC


31st July 2014
Accessibility help
Text only

BBC Homepage

Contact Us


Like this page?
Send it to a friend!

 
features /  feature
editor content by: editor
rifiuti (detail), by hadrian pigott
art now cornwall
real player to access audio and video on collective you need real player.
St Ives puts London in its place.

“There are a number of contemporary artists that are really emerging with a serious professionalism,” explains Sara Hughes, curator at Tate St Ives, as she takes us round the Art Now Cornwall show. “We really wanted to highlight the activity that was going on in Cornwall today. It’s an exploratory exercise as well as something which resulted in a vibrant and exciting exhibition.”

Arguably, this emergence of a cultural network of artists living and working in a relatively isolated and rural part of the country recalls St Ives’ historical position in British art. Artists such as Piet Mondrian and Francis Bacon were drawn to work there during its Modernist heyday, with heavyweights such as Barbara Hepworth and Naum Gabo settling there and cementing it as an enduring centre of creativity in the South West during the last century.


'Gilling Dune' by Andy Currie, 'Porthmeor Beach, St Ives, West Cornwall' by Andy Hughes, Leopard (detail) by Jesse Leroy Smith and In An Atlantic Wave (dvd still) by Andy Whall.

Today though, this rich tradition is something of a blessing and a curse, with artists battling to move away from this heritage towards something more pertinent in today’s world. “Artists are dealing with this overbearing legacy. Within this exhibition you have a range of artists who are fighting against that and a range of artists who are drawing on that. I think there have been a number of reasons why it’s been very difficult to practice here, not only because of working in these very remote coastal locations,” Sara Hughes explains. “There’s a definite confidence in artists working in this region to put themselves in a national context though.”

Naomi Frears, one of the 28 artists in Art Now Cornwall, works in studios on St Ives’ Porthmeor Beach. “There are enough people working seriously and making interesting work here so that there’s a kind of buzz, which I imagine there is in other centres,” she says when comparing St Ives to more urban British art centres. “It’s not a natural environment for making interesting work but I think that Cornwall’s always been welcoming to people who are different.”


'Dust to Dust' (detail) by Lucy Willow and Wish You Were Here by Naomi Frears.

Art Now Cornwall reflects this varied and lively scene through pieces such as Lucy Willow’s delicate Persian “rug” of angels and flowers, made from carborundum dust, and Andy Currie’s science experiment of a miniature sand storm in a jar, a small fan forever blowing sand into a tiny glassbound dune. The variety of media and types of work on display make for an accessible and relevant show, one which makes steps towards redressing the urban-centric balance of the British art world.


Rowan Kerek 15 February 07
Art Now Cornwall is at Tate St Ives until 13 May 07.

thanks
With special thanks to Tate St Ives, the Barbara Hepworth Gallery and the Bowness Hepworth Estate.

video images credits
Sax Impey, Event 9, 2005
Mixed media on wood. 204 x 204 cm
Jonty Lees, Skimming Stones, 2005
Video. Collection of the Artist
Clare Wardman, Prima Vista 25 August 2005 (Light Tracking), 2005
Oil on canvas. 76 x 91 x 3 cm. Collection of the Artist. Photo: Simon Cook
Andy Currie
Naomi Frears, Wish You Were Here, 2006
Acrylic on board. 25 x 51 cm. Collection of the artist
Cathy Watkins, Head First
Charcoal and oil paint on cardboard. 33 x 54 cm. Collection of the Artist.
Harriet Bell, One Drawing, 2006
Wood and wax. 520 x 700 x 60 mm. Collection of the Artist. Photo: Vince Bevan
Harriet Bell, Six Black Objects, 2005
Wood and wax. 52 x 70 x 6 cm. Collection of the Artist. Photo: Vince Bevan
Naomi Frears, Wish You Were Here, 2006
Acrylic on board. 25 x 51 cm. Collection of the artist. Photo: Vince Bevan
Partou Zia, Portraits
Partou Zia, The Burning Bush, 2006
Oil on canvas. 152 x 183 cm. Private collection. Photo: Simon Cook
Richard Cook, Boat Cove, 2006
152.4 x 182.8 cm. Collection of the Artist. Photo: Simon Cook
Phil Medlay
Ged Quinn, Asleep by the Light of Glow-worms, 2005
Oil on linen. 183 x 220 cm. Courtesy the Wilkinson Gallery, London
Lucy Willow
Andy Whall, In An Atlantic Wave, 2006
Video DVD. Collection of the Artist
Iain Robertson, Poets Love, 2006
Oil on canvas. 91.4 x 91.4 cm. Collection of the Artist. Photo: Simon Cook
Hadrian Pigott, Rifiuti, 2005
Video. 30 minutes. With thanks to Robert Woof and The Wordsworth Trust
Andy Currie
Hadrian Pigott, Rifiuti, 2005
Video. 30 minutes. With thanks to Robert Woof and The Wordsworth Trust
Richard Nott, Striation (A), 2005
Mixed media on panel. 153 x 153 x 6 cm. Collection of the Artist. Photo: Simon Cook
Andy Currie 'My Lucky Star is a Rubbish Scorpion' 2004
Mixed media. 23 x 23 x 35 cm. Collection of the Artist. Photo: Ross Sanderson.
Cathy Watkins, Head First
Charcoal and oil paint on cardboard. 33 x 54 cm. Collection of the Artist. Photo: Simon Cook
Andy Whall, In An Atlantic Wave, 2006
Video DVD. Collection of the Artist.
Amanda Lorens, Tango Privado II
Video /Live Art /Sound. Collection of the Artist.
Lisa Wright, Shadow Branches, 2006
Oil on canvas. 152.5 x 152.5 cm.
Jesse Leroy Smith, Leopard, 2006
Oil on canvas. 178 x 140 cm. Collection of the Artist. Photo: Vince Bevan
Sax Impey, Event 9, 2005
Mixed media on wood. 204 x 204 cm. Photo: Simon Cook
All other photos by Nairn Robertson. All pieces © the Artists.
 conversations
Read members' comments.

related info
tate: art now cornwall
note: The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.
see also
on bbc cornwall
books

books and comics archive
Author interviews and reviews from 2002 to 2008.
games
games
games archive
Gaming features and weekly columns from 2002 to 2008.
bbc news - technology
news technology


About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy