Paintings for Spring – Instantly Alive

We launched spring at the gallery with Alice Mumford’s new solo exhibition ‘Paintings for Spring’. Despite lockdown we did it in style, inviting you into the gallery via Instagram Live. What a success that was! Over 100 of you came, and from at least five different countries.

Writer and curator Dr. Ian Massey (@ianmasseyart) hosted the event. Ian and the videographer were our eyes – they gave us a wonderful in-depth tour of the exhibition; zoning into detail and paint surfaces just at the right moments.

A recording of the event can be found here – you need an Instagram account to access it. (An account is very easy to set-up if you want to give it a go, and it’s free.)

We had a number of questions sent ahead that were nearly all answered. A few came in during and after the event, and Alice has been busy answering those. A number of you asked about the books on display at the gallery, particularly the one by Alice and Ian. Here are the details:

Alice Mumford – Colour from Coast to Coast

Book; 25.5 x 21 cms

80 pages + cover
Published by Sansom & Company
Introduction by Alice Mumford
Essay by Ian Massey
Richly illustrated throughout
Price shown does not include postage and packing
Please call gallery for details

Price: £20

A few of you asked about the whites Alice uses, here’s more detail:

Daler Rowney, Graduate; Daler Rowney, Georgian Titanium White
She says ‘I am yet to try Lukas, Titanium White’.

There are key anchor paintings in the exhibition, which Ian highlighted during the event. One that is important is Peeling Apples Together (about half way into the tour). The title of the painting jettisons us straight to Seamus Heaney’s poem ‘When all the others were away at Mass’ – we promised we’d send a link to the poem.

Ian asked the videographer to take us straight to the faces in the mirror found in the painting. (The use of the mirror as a device (bifurcation of space) is discussed during the event whilst landing on the painting Reflected Reading) He asks Alice about the faded faces, a recalled memory? Alice says yes. The flowers are sharp and take you into the faces to fond memories of peeling apples with her niece and in the more distant past, her mother. Hence the connection to the poem as well as the idea of reflection. Ian and Alice discuss the poem in greater detail. Ian talks about the profundity of Heaney; Alice about the playing of time in painting.

We are Heaney fans at the gallery. To have this painting threading ideas through the exhibition makes you look at all the paintings even closer and we are often standing in front of it. Below are graphics from the wonderful Seamus Heaney HomePlace reminding us why Heaney is one of the greatest poets in the world; he tugs at our memories and has helped us see how the everyday is extraordinary. We know even more now to cherish such lived moments, which is why Heaney has probably been breaking records during lockdown even though he is no longer with us.

‘A line from Heaney – a former Nobel laureate – has become an almost ubiquitous refrain on banners, airwaves and social media: “If we winter this one out, we can summer anywhere.”’ The Guardian, 17th May 2020.


Alice and Ian talked about the structure of painting a lot, particularly through the painting Pink, Vermillion 2020. It made us think about Heaney and poetry again. Here’s another graphic from Heaney’s HomePlace to dwell on before you look at the painting and listen to the recording. It’s the last painting discussed in the recording, so zoom forward to 45 minutes if you just want to focus on that. It’s really great to hear them articulate and move across the canvas.

'Anatomy of A Poem' wall graphic, captured at HomePlace by the gallery in 2017. 

From April 12th you can book in with us to view the exhibition. It covers three spaces in our new location at Higher Bussow Farm, Towednack, St Ives. The full exhibition can be viewed online here and an exhibition catalogue is available from the gallery. Email us info@belgravestives.co.uk

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