On our Cornish Peninsula a unique exhibition, ‘A Distant Isle’, closes. It hails from Lanzarote.

We are sitting in the heat of the day, by the doorway of our gallery, enjoying the last hours of the Wilhelmina Barns-Graham exhibition which we have held in conjunction with the Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Trust. Visitors are diving in to catch it too. Here’s a corner for you to enjoy with an extract from the essay that accompanies the catalogue.

A Distant Isle installation photograph by Andy Hughes. Provenance: The Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Trust

A Distant Isle installation
Photograph by Andy Hughes
Provenance: The Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Trust
Left to right:

W. Barns-Graham 'Maquez' Acrylic on paper; 38 x 56.5 cms
John Milne 'Resurgence' Bronze; 45.5 (H) cms
W. Barns-Graham [Red Chasm] Gouache on paper; 56 x 75.5 cms
John Milne 'Poseidon (JM95)' Cold cast aluminium; 68.5 (H) cms (incl.base)
W. Barns-Graham 'Lanzarote, nr. Tias' Pastel on paper; 49 x 69 cms

A Distant Isle, Belgrave St Ives 2019. Provenance: The Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Trust

A Distant Isle, Belgrave St Ives 2019. Provenance: The Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Trust

A Distant Isle, Belgrave St Ives 2019. Provenance: The Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Trust

The green doors of  the above picture, ‘Lanzarote, nr. Tias’, state that this home belongs to a farming community. In the image below, ‘Salt Pans No.7’, blue doors mark a fishing community’s home.

A Distant Isle, Belgrave St Ives 2019. Provenance: The Wilhelmina Barns-Graham TrustW. Barns-Graham ‘Salt Pans No.7’ Acrylic on card; 20 x 25 cms. Provenance: The Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Trust

The full exhibition is available here to view and there is a fully illustrated catalogue available for £10 (includes package and postage).

Extract from the catalogue introduction by Geoffrey Bertram April 2019

The exhibition marks the thirtieth anniversary of Wilhelmina (Willie) Barns-Graham’s first visit to the island of Lanzarote, in February 1989. She had been invited by a friend with whom she stayed, the villa situated on the east coast north of Arrecife, Lanzarote’s main town. Willie needed the break; she was exhausted. During the latter months of 1988 she had been working on an exhibition of new paintings for the Scottish Gallery in London, and on a major retrospective that was to open at Newlyn Art Gallery in June. It was thought she would benefit from the warmer, drier climate, on which she concurred, noting in her diary that Lanzarote was “very health giving – no aches and pains worth mentioning”. The visit was a huge success, leading to her making four further visits, the last in 1993.

Anyone who has been to Lanzarote appreciates what an extraordinary place it is. The island is dominated by the substantial volcanic activity, the last eruptions being very recent in geological terms. Well-documented eruptions took place in the Timanfaya area between 1730 and 1736, when lava and ash covered around two-thirds of the island and buried many villages and fertile agricultural land in the process. It is thought that over thirty volcanoes spewed forth at this time. A century later, in 1824, there was a further eruption in the same area.

Willie marvelled at the black rock formations and strange conic hills. One of the main roads wends its way up the centre of the island curving through the La Geria region, “…magnificent. Plenty of subjects + v. difficult” (see La Geria, Lanzarote, page 33). This is a route to Timanfaya, the area of Montagna del Fuego (mountain of fire); she notes “…on right hand side the lonely black mountain with red pink abstract lines and shapes…” (see Timanfaya Mt Fuego, page 7). On her third trip she writes “we set off for La Geria where I meant to look out some fields always inspired me for abstract but light was wrong + began pencil drawing on white paper of hill + some volcanic shelf shapes foreground”. Her only complaint of La Geria was the wind; “wind awful”– “always windy” which could make it difficult to work, on occasion further complicated by the intense heat and brightness.

A Distant Isle; Wilhelmina Barns-Graham in Lanzarote

PRESS RELEASE                                                                                         

New One-Person Exhibition:
WILHELMINA BARNS-GRAHAM (1912 – 2004)
A Distant Isle; Wilhelmina Barns-Graham in Lanzarote
10 – 29 June 2019, Belgrave St Ives
Private View: 8 June 6 – 8pm

Wilhelmina Barns-Graham’s Lanzarote series is a remarkable and significant body of work from the latter part of the artist’s career, the extent of which is still to be fully assessed. This is the first exhibition to look solely at the artist’s response to the unique topography and geology of this volcanic island. Barns-Graham returned to Lanzarote annually over a 5-year period (1989 – 93) to work in this formidable landscape, the resultant paintings and drawings demonstrate the artist’s interest in natural structures and her deep-rooted analytical observational skills.

barns_graham__timanfaya_lanzarote_belgrave_stives
Timanfaya Mt. Fuego 1989  Acrylic on paper; 36 x 49.5 cms

Barns-Graham was born in St Andrews, Fife, on 8 June 1912. Determining while at school that she wanted to be an artist, she set her sights on Edinburgh College of Art where she enrolled in 1932 and graduated with her diploma in 1937. When Wilhelmina Barns-Graham, known as Willie, moved to Cornwall in 1940, the artist’s drawings and paintings started reflecting the patterns, natural and man-made, of place, be it of Cornwall, the Scilly Isles, Switzerland’s Grindelwald Glacier (1949), the quarries and ravines of Tuscany/Sicily (1953-1955) or the rocky edge of the Balearics (1958). Her (later) studies of Lanzarote are some of the finest examples of this geological investigation. In 1951 Barns-Graham won the Painting Prize in the Penwith Society of Arts in Cornwall Festival of Britain Exhibition and went on to have her first London solo exhibition at the Redfern Gallery in 1952. Barns-Graham was included in many of the important exhibitions showcasing pioneering British abstract art in the 1950s and she exhibited consistently throughout her career, in private and public galleries. Important exhibitions of her work were held at Tate St Ives in 1999/2000 and 2005. The publication of the first monograph on her life and work, Lynne Green’s W. Barns-Graham: a studio life (2001; 2nd updated and revised edition 2011), did much to engage critical and public perceptions of her achievements confirming her as one of the key contributors of the St Ives School, and as a significant British Modernist.

01_Page26Wilhelmina Barns-Graham in Lanzarote   Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Trust

Lanzarote is an extraordinary place. The island is dominated by evidence of substantial volcanic activity, the last eruptions being very recent in geological terms. Well-documented eruptions took place in the Timanfaya area between 1730 and 1736, when lava and ash covered around two-thirds of the island burying many villages and fertile agricultural land in the process. It is thought that over thirty volcanoes erupted at this time. A century later, in 1824, there was a further eruption in the same area.

barns-graham_la_geria_belgrave_stives
La Geria (Vineyard) 1989  Acrylic on paper; 56.5 x 75.5 cms

BGT540_Barns-Graham_RedChasm_1994_LoRes
Untitled [Red Chasm] 1994  Gouache on paper; 56 x 75.5 cms

Belgrave St Ives represents Wilhelmina Barns-Graham on behalf of the Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Trust. The artist established the Trust in 1987 and the trustees have continued to advance awareness of her life and work, while using her legacy to support young people and other individuals to fulfil their potential in the visual arts. Belgrave St Ives Gallery specialises in Modern British and Contemporary Art with an emphasis on work produced by artists associated with Cornwall from the 1930s to the present time.

A fully illustrated catalogue with an essay by Geoffrey Bertram is available.

barns_graham_lava_movement_belgrave_stives
Lava Movement, Lanzarote
1993  Pencil and wash on paper; 21 x 29 cms

BGT1649_Barns-Graham_LanzaroteChurch_c1990_LoRes
Untitled [Church, Masdache, Lanzarote] c1989   Oil pastel on paper; 57 x 77 cms

For further information and images, please contact Richard Blackborow:

Belgrave St Ives, 22 Fore Street, St Ives, Cornwall TR26 1HE

richard@belgravestives.co.uk

tel. 01736 794888

ENDS

St Ives Exhibition 2019

Our flagship exhibition of works by artists associated with St Ives Modernism opens on 6th April. This annual exhibition offers collectors the chance to buy over 100 accessibly-priced works by most of the key names in post-War St Ives art, as well as presenting quality works by some less well known artists working in St Ives during the period.

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Above: Dennis Mitchell Breage 1969 Bronze

Over 50 artists associated with the St Ives School are included, such as: Robert Adams, John Barnicoat, W. Barns-Graham, Romi Behrens, Sven Berlin, Sandra Blow, Bob Bourne, Henry Cliffe, Roy Conn, Tom Cross, Bob Crossley, John Emanuel, Michael Finn, Clifford Fishwick, Terry Frost, Jeff Harris, Patrick Hayman, Isobel Heath, Adrian Heath, Barbara Hepworth, Patrick Heron, Rose Hilton, Roger Hilton, Inez Hoyton, Bryan Ingham, Peter Lanyon, Jeremy Le Grice, Margo Maeckelberghe, William Marshall, June Miles, John Milne, Denis Mitchell, Ben Nicholson, Kate Nicholson, Breon O’Casey, J A Park, Victor Pasmore, Bryan Pearce, Jack Pender, Douglas Portway, Peter Potworowski, Tommy Rowe, William Scott, Michael Snow, John Wells, Karl Weschke and Bryan Wynter.


Key sculptural works

Snow_LandscapeConstruction_1986_LoRes

Michael Snow Landscape Construction 1986
Oil on canvas board with metal construct; 32 x 28 cms (perspex box)

Milne_Resurgence_LoRes

John Milne Resurgence
Bronze; Edition of 2/9
Literature: ‘The Sculpture of John Milne’, Peter Davies, 2000, pages 38 and 89

Rowe_TwoForms_Roskestal_LoRes

Tommy Rowe Two Forms Roskestal
Bronze; Edition 1/9

Paintings, highlights 

Heron_5-15pm_June-11-1984_WithCharcoal_Frame_LoRes.jpg

Patrick Heron 5:15 p.m. June 11 : 1984 (with charcoal) 1984
Oil and charcoal on canvas; 41 x 51 cms
Signed, titled, dated and inscribed on the reverse (also titled on canvas overlap) Exhibited: Patrick Heron, Barbican Art Gallery, London,1985, cat. no.64

Nicholson_Kate_HaystackInCumbrianField_Frame_InSitu_LoRes

Kate Nicholson Haystack in Cumbrian Fields c1950s
Oil on board; 99 x 91 cms
Signed on artist’s label on reverse

O_Casey_Untitled_1988_Frame_LoRes

Breon O’Casey Untitled
Acrylic on paper; 33 x 50 cms
Signed and dated

Sought after prints

Pasmore_PointsOfContact_No26_1974_Frame_LoRes

Victor Pasmore Points of Contact No.26 1974
Lithograph; 49 x 51 cms
Frame size: 101.5 x 76.5 cms Signed with monogram
There is a copy of this print in the Tate Collection

Nicholson_PenwithPortfolio_LoRes

Ben Nicholson Abstract Composition 1935/36
Screenprint, 66.5 x 80 cms (sheet)
From the ‘Penwith Portfolio’ of 1973 Printed by Stanley Jones at The Curwen Press Signed in pencil on reverse Edition of 90

Scott_BlueStillLife_1975_Frame_LoRes

William Scott Blue Still Life 1975
Frame size: 80 x 100 cms Printed at Curwen Studio, London Published by Editions Electo Ltd, London Signed in the stone with the publication line

You can view more works here. A full coloured catalogue is available on request.

Maeckelberghe_LizardWest_1994_Frame_LoRes

For further information and images, please contact Richard Blackborow:

Belgrave St Ives, 22 Fore Street, St Ives, Cornwall TR26 1HE

richard@belgravestives.co.uk

tel. 01736 794888

Bryan Pearce, St Ives Artist – some exhibition context for you to enjoy.

With one long weekend left to see the Pearce exhibition, we thought we’d share texts and other context related artwork we have on show. Consisting of oil paintings, drawings by Bryan, the exhibition also includes work by Leonard Fuller (who led the St Ives School of Painting in the 1950s attended by Pearce) and work by his mother and artist friends.

From the 1970s, with the help of other St Ives artists, Pearce produced a series of etchings. Also, under the direction of fellow artists and master printmaker, a number of silk screen stencils based on his oil paintings were produced. Sympathetic to the original paintings these limited edition prints are signed by Pearce.

pearce_wall_white_a5

Pearce remained largely uninfluenced by other artists although is mother was a good amateur artist. Often paired with the earlier local Naive artist, Alfred Wallis, although with different temperaments, both are genuine ‘Outsider’ artists with a similar matter-of-fact freshness and singularity of view.

Lanyon_StandingStones_1957_LoResPeter Lanyon Standing Stones 1951.
Sheet size: 55.5 x 38 cms Signed and dated Registration Proof

Peter Lanyon

The harbour, the coastguard, or the bridge over the railway happen to Bryan Pearce who is a native of St Ives. All these things have an activity which is not only seen, there, is evidence in every painting of an awareness which is more direct, the knowing which a man will have for land or sea or craft. When this understanding is linked to the kind of play which is common in child art, the combination is called Folk Art. If a category is necessary, Bryan Pearce is nearest to this.

His art emerges at a time when sophistication is disintegrating St Ives painting, and a self-conscious group of artists is mourning the decline of a fictitious ‘St Ives School’. Bryan Pearce takes a walk to Carbis Bay, returning by the cliff path to paint what has happened with a blue sea and green grass and side-seen house and around corner looks, that have been avoided in the quaint and pretty concept of picture postcard St Ives, and exploited in boutique primitivism. Because his sources are not seen with a passive eye, but are truly happenings, his paintings original.

Theory and speculation usually put distance between the event and its descriptions, and the painting is subjected to stretching by miles of elastic works, so that the acts of observing, making and communicating are all studies out of context. These paintings may be subjects of analysis to some people but that activity is not going to make the paintings more understandable. It is necessary to accept these works as the labour of a man who has to communicate this way because there is no other. It is then possible to celebrate the facts and not the theory.

Catalogue introduction
St. Martin’s Gallery, London 1964

Denis Mitchell and Kate Nicholson

Sir Alan Bowness

These enchanting sunlit paintings are mostly of St Ives—the boats in the harbour, the fishermen’s cottages and gardens, the parish church that ones sees below Bryan Pearce’s studio window. It is a serene untroubled world that reflects the natural innocence and delight of a man who has found relief and rehabilitation through painting. For Bryan Pearce has suffered since childhood from a crippling mental illness (phenylketonuria) that has made normal communication impossible for him, and in Peter Lanyon’s words he ‘…has to communicate this way because there is no other.’

Catalogue introduction
New Art Centre, London 1966

Mary Pearce (Pearce’s mother) and Leonard Fuller (Pearce’s teacher)

H. S. Ede

If anyone is in need of peace, trust and joy, they will find it in the work of Bryan Pearce. He gives with his whole being, totally free of sophistication and totally altruistic; he paints as he breathes. These stones which form a pier, this blue which surrounds a ship, this island and lighthouse, this road, church, window, flowers in their pot, a thousand visual things, are the deep unconscious quality of this interior life and his immediate contact with his close friend God.

I know of no artist with whom I can compare him in this direct simplicity and devotion save Fra Angelico who would place one colour against another with assurance and tenderness, and yet, so it is said, when he painted the body of Jesus, he closed his eye in humble knowledge of his own frailty

Bryan Pearce has this inward vision, undisturbed by greed, desire of worldly achievement, concern with his own personality and much else; and such wholeness lives in the his absorbed loved, expressed he know not how.

It isn’t at all as a naïve painter he should be classed, or even perhaps as a ‘painter’—he really knows little of technique—but as an individual actively happy in reproducing the beauty of the visual works and his instinctive entrapment in it. I am grateful to him for this unhindered vision which is the deathless source of art.

Catalogue introduction
Falmouth Art Gallery. Cornwall 1982

ocasey

hepworth_belgrave_stives

Breon O’Casey and Barbara Hepworth 

Always beginning a painting with a feint pencil outline and gradually blocking in areas using a personal palette of colours, a sense of order and calmness, bathed in the ambient light of western Cornwall, pervades Pearce’s work.

space

WINTER EXHIBITION 2018

WINTER EXHIBITION 2018 – Installation and PV

The show – a large mixed exhibition of prints, drawings, small paintings and 3D works by Modern British and Contemporary artists – opened on Saturday 1st December and runs through to 7 January 2019.

The Private View was spiced up by locally-made gin from St Ives Liquor and lively music by Melange Tous (Delphi Hudson & Nigel Bispham). A good time was had by all!

VIEW PICTURES / VIEW 3D WORKS

Belgrave @ British Art Fair

ArtFair_BAF_Blog

20 – 23 Sept 2018

The British Art Fair has just opened at the Saatchi Gallery, Duke of York’s HQ, King’s Road, London SW3 4RY. Please  do come and see us on the Second Floor, Stands 36 & 38, (illustrated above) if you can.

As well as the extraordinary sculpture Two Forms in Echelon 1961 by Barbara Hepworth, you will also find works by Robert Adams, W. Barns-Graham, Sven Berlin, Sandra Blow, Paul Feiler, Terry Frost, Patrick Hayman, Patrick Heron, Roger Hilton, Peter Lanyon, Denis Mitchell, Ben Nicholson, Kate Nicholson, Bryan Pearce, Brian Rice, William Scott, John Wells and others.

You can view a selection of the works on our website here, but the show is much better experienced by a visit. Please contact the gallery if you would like a complimentary eVitation.