An exhibition of paintings by 21 invited contemporary artists associated with Belgrave St Ives. Includes work by: Virginia Bounds, Jessica Cooper, Henrietta Dubrey, John Emanuel, Anthony Frost, Luke Frost, Jeffrey Harris, Bo Hilton, Liz Hough, Stuart Knowles, Ffiona Lewis, Jason Lilley, Mary Mabbutt, Felicity Mara, Jane Mac Miadhachain, Alice Mumford, Sarah Poland, Brian Rice, Graham Rich, Eric Ward and Jack Watson.
Running concurrently with our exhibitions of Harris’s work, firstly at The Crypt, and now at our Studio in Towednack, the Penwith Gallery is showing an exhibition of work by Jeffrey Harris and Friends.
The show includes a stunning pair of works by Harris and his wife, the Tasmanian artist Gwen Leitch from 1960 and 1958 respectively (illustrated below). The paintings were made in their shared No. 7 Porthmeor Studio.
Gwen Leitch was born in Tasmania. Due to a scholarship she attended the Central School of Arts and Craft in London from 1954 to 1956. She was taught by Patrick Heron and Roger Hilton and was encouraged by Heron to move to St Ives. In 1956 she lived with Delia and Patrick Heron at ‘Eagles Nest’, where she had a small studio space. In 1957 she was the second woman to be awarded a Porthmeor Beach Studio, which she retained until leaving the UK in 1970. In 1959 Jeffrey Harris and her married and shared the studio.
Photographs of No. 7 Porthmeor Studio exhibited at the Hepworth Room courtesy of the Penwith Archive. Gwen Leitch talking with artist Tony O’Malley who was a great family friend. / Jeffrey Harris painting in the studio. / Gwen taking a break in the studio. / Gwen in discussion with Ann Cummings.
Alongside photographs, letters and an exhibition catalogue held by the Penwith Gallery Archive, are works on loan from the gallery and works from the Penwith Archive’s collection. The images below capture highlights.
Photographs of the Hepworth Room: Terry Frost A Book of Ideas – Page 77 1976, Jeffrey Harris Red Squares 1969. / Barbara Hepworth’s Magic Stone with Patrick Heron’s Six in Vermillion with Violet in Red : April 1970 in the background. / Jason Lilley, Claire Harris (Jeffrey’s daughter) and guest reviewing the archive material. Artworks showing, from left to right, Jeffrey Harris Blue Still Life 1974 and Red Still Life with a Circle 1973 and on the back wall, Gwyther Irwin’s Hundred Series No.34 1971. / Flowers in the foreground, highlight a Hepworth sculpture and behind it hangs the Patrick Heron’s Six in Vermillion with Violet in Red : April 1970 and Breon O’Casey’s Blue Squares 2001.
Patrick Heron was a great supporter of Jeffrey and Gwen. He was very generous to both of them when they were establishing themselves as young artists in St Ives. Jeffrey says the following:
“Gwen was Nanny to their children at Eagles Nest (his wife Delia was lovely) – Patrick had taught Gwen at Central School and from there offered her work and somewhere to paint at Eagles Nest. It was through Patrick’s support that Gwen was awarded Porthmeor studio. She and me later shared the studio. After Gwen and I were married/living together we continued to visit Eagles Nest and Patrick would share time and knowledge of painting particularly use of colour with us both. Patrick helped me get the job at Falmouth Art School were I worked 3 days a week for 3 years from the mid 60’s. Michael Finn was head of the school and also very generous to us.” July 2022, recorded by Jeffrey Harris’ son, Chris.
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
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 email@example.com
Our exhibition of 10 Abstract and Ten Figurative paintings, mainly by artists not usually associated with St Ives, is now OPEN. Works in the show are drawn primarily from the gallery collection.
Artists include: Muriel Archer, John Bratby, Joyce Cairns, Maurice Cockrill, Richard Cook, Fred Crayk, Emanuel Phillips Fox (attributed to), John Hopwood, Francis Hoyland, Henry Inlander, John Kingerlee, Antoni Malinowski, Nicholas May, Derek Middleton, Alastair Morton (attributed to), Jerzy Panek, Jonas Plosky, Fred Pollock, Gary Wragg and Phil Whiting.
Please click on images above to view a slideshow of the installation, or view individual works in the exhibition on the gallery website using this link:
People were coming to view the gallery in earnest today in order to re-visit Amanda Wallwork’s map-based painting show before it came down or because they had just made it to St Ives from North Cornwall or ‘up country’ in time to catch the St Ives Exhibition 2009. It seems everyone who has been to the gallery has enjoyed becoming immersed in one of the spaces, if not both. The spaces are rich and quite intense for different reasons but what connects them is that the historical and cultural past in relationship to the landscape seep into both.
Amanda’s work will come down on Monday, whereas in our main space the Moderns show will stay much as it is. There will be a few changes but not until the following week will this space feel completely different. As this is written, the next catalogue is winging its way around and out of Cornwall.
The catalogue highlights key works from Eric Ward and Chris Insoll with a write up about how the artists are connected. The title of the show is ‘Two Colonies’ and the full list of works available is now showing online with up-to-date biographical information about Eric and Chris. We will post some exhibition shots of the hang as well as some of the characters themselves.
In the meantime, gallery staff as well as gallery visitors and passer-bys can continue to gaze at the breathtaking Dolan by the window. It has been much admired.
Our annual show of work by British Modern artists, focussing particularly on artists of the St. Ives School, is looking good in the main gallery. Dominating the space are a group of large canvasses by Patrick Dolan, and it’s been great to see these works being shown after so long in a private collection. Dolan is remembered, still, in St Ives, by some of our artists and visitors. Bob Crossley and John Emanuel both have strong memories of the artist and his work. And, as one visitor commented the other day, ‘they (this group of works by Dolan) have more energy and strength than anything in the Tate (St. Ives) at the moment!’
Between these monoloithic canvases, a striking range of small and medium sized works by names like Heron, Hepworth, Frost, Scott, etc are strung out in eye catching lines. The early, representational Frost oil ‘Fish Bones‘ is a little gem, and the largish 60s Weschke landscape provides a firm focus to the rear of the gallery. The William Gear painting is brooding and bequiling, there is a rare Fishwick oil and a delightful group of works by a great gallery-staff favourite, Patrick Hayman. These works had originally been slated for a separate show, but have ended up making 2009’s St Ives show a particularly engaging one.
There are several accessible prints, including lithographs, screenprints and/or etchings by Barbara Hepworth, Karl Weschke, William Scott, Roger Hilton, Patrick Heron, Bryan Ingham and Terry Frost, as well as more substantial paintings by Margaret Mellis, Michael Canney, Patrick Hayman, Padraig Macmiadhachain, Frank Beanland and, again, Terry Frost. Small sculptures by John Milne and Denis Mitchell sit in the cabinet alongside a few pieces of Troika Pottery. The Troika ‘Ashtrays’ have been re-branded ‘Concave Forms’ by the post-smoking gallery staff.