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David Mankin – Perpetual Flux – solo exhibition | 17 October 2018

From 26th September – 20th October 2018 at Cornwall Contemporary, we were delighted to hold David Mankin’s first ever solo exhibition.

Titled ‘Perpetual Flux’, the exhibition of abstract expressionist paintings based on the Cornish landscape was a huge success. With catalogue requests from collectors worldwide, the exhibition went on to be a near sell-out with paintings shipped to collectors in Philadelphia, Miami, Düsseldorf and across the UK. 

“David Mankin’s work is about landscape, yet there is no attempt to mimic a ‘view’. Instead he conjures the feeling of being in the natural world, and a sense of our human insignificance in the face of the elements.
His paintings express a love for the landscape surrounding his Cornish home and studio, and a sense of freedom in the wild open spaces – the raw physical elements, big skies and surging seas.
In this new body of work Mankin sets out to explore the forces and rhythms underpinning the shifts we see and feel in the landscape.

In these paintings, it is as if the artist has gathered fragments of sensory experience from the outside world which, brought back to the studio, are allowed to spill out onto canvas. There is no imposed narrative or comment – just ‘here, this is what it was like.’
In Mankin’s working method the formal qualities of his medium are not neglected and the initial, intuitive flow is followed by a quiet process of refinement. Thought is given to balance in colour, line, tone, texture and shape. Mankin aims for a balanced composition, with dialogue between mark-making and passages of paint. The surface is built up, scratched, removed, scraped, and further layers added, all punctuated by marks and lines and graffiti-like scribble. The surface becomes activated as historical layers are allowed to seep through.During the course of a day’s work, a painting may change completely as elements or relationships are discovered, buried, lost and re-found, echoing the shifting ‘perpetual flux’ of the natural world. Buried scars of previous iterations echo the dark,
abandoned lodes beneath the earth; the soaring flight of a gull, encountered on a windy day, becomes a sweeping gestural brush mark; a tangle of fine sgraffito lines suggests the wind-blown branches of tamarisk at the cliff edge. A series of tiny dashes moving delicately across the corner of one painting is reminiscent of the dainty steps of an oystercatcher foraging on the edge of the shore. Irregular charcoal shapes seem traced directly from flotsam discovered on the beach – or perhaps they refer to the disused mine chimney stacks dotted along the cliffs. Mankin offers these painterly impressions for viewers to interpret as they will. Always there is the underlying energy of the sea, at times an early morning milkiness, at others a raging elemental force. The artist is remembering in paint.

As these recollections of the Cornish landscape tumble on to his surfaces, and the process ebbs and flows, art historical influences reveal themselves. Mankin admires Richard Diebenkorn’s insistent pushing of process; also Prunella Clough’s subtly layered and textured surfaces, and the way she isolated small details. Passages of visceral paintwork evoke Joan Eardley’s Catterline works.There’s a muscularity of line reminiscent of Roger Hilton, and a Lanyonesque influence discernible in the apparently aerial perspective of some paintings.
As with all painting, Mankin’s work needs to be seen ‘in the flesh’ – words can’t convey the subtleties. We need to stand in front of his paintings, taste the salt air and feel the warmth of the sun.”

Pippa Young,
Pippa Young is a fine art painter whose work is collected internationally.

David Mankin with Sarah Brittain-Mansbridge at the opening of Perpetual Flux

David Mankin with the painting ‘Moor Gallop’

David Mankin – Perpetual Flux

“The blueness one sees in a David Mankin painting is redolent of the sea, the magnetic pull and spirit of Cornwall, a landscape freighted with significance for the artist. However often one looks, one is never accustomed to the sea – there is almost nothing to add to its mystery, David suggests. Blues are a reflected beauty, an apogee of looking at shifting perspectives, submerged rhythms. An eloquence perhaps resists articulation with words yet is clearly derived from a working relationship with nature. The unquiet of nature is where the artist is enveloped by an andante of flux amid, beneath and above layers.

‘The sea has so much in it, in terms of its movement and energy – there is a real rhythm in the sea, an ebb and flow; that is what I love about the Cornish landscape’.

Here is an artist concerned with living in contact with nature, remembering that our minds are shaped by our bodily experiences of being in the world. He is a lover of big skies, surging sea and the intoxicating equilibriums found within the West Penwith landscape.

A passion for the landscape is rooted in an interest in geology, the topological aspect of the land; grooves, lines, ancient preferential pathways and a profound sense of freedom and openness which is gained from an intensely visual and spatial experience.

Often immersed outside – walking, cycling, browsing the coastal path, David is open to the elusive and primordial. ‘How one cannot help not to be influenced by this,’ he suggests.

Spending much time at the shoreline, he talks of coves, hidden beaches, long vistas and thus an astonishment found which is his motivation and inspiration. ‘I love my environment,’ he says. The ocean is loaded with personal significance and only a few hundred meters away from his studio, although its image is yet closer. An obvious cynosure of David’s studio is the pretty window above his desk looking out to the offing.

Asked how a work is begun; a number of paintings are often worked on at the same time. Paint may be thrown down onto canvas, and materials are explored using free association, gestural mark-making using any materials that the artist can lay hands on. Beginnings can vary but are generally built up slowly in layers of acrylic paint, then scratched, removed, sanded, scraped; each substrate of the paint comprising an archipelago of lines and graffiti-like scribble. The aim is to animate the surface, even an intentionally flat surface, to reveal an underneath seepage of history or narrative, which in places may spill to the surface.

Essential to the quality of the artist’s work is atmosphere. In going beyond reason and explanation (rocking a sense of order) the artist points to awe and the sublime. The rather demure blue of a painting: naïve, pale, is reminiscent of a shimmering grey sand, gossamer under moonlight. The painting could evoke an aerial view of a beach, looking down from a high cliff in the half-light. Muted flurries of criss-crossed lines at the top periphery lend a sharp synesthetic eeriness for a split second. A literacy of the timeless conjured from sensations, recognisable shapes, poetic lines, curves, queries, and mystery is enchanting. When asked whether the artist would concur with my thoughts, he didn’t agree or disagree, it was up to me. ‘It’s that sense of something that I am trying to get across – that atmosphere,’ he stated.

One notes the assemblage of familiar and unfamiliar shapes, veiled forms, and diaphanous layers over and under shifting tones in many of David Mankin’s paintings. Shadows and light fall across canvas, reinforcing an inherent sense of transience and flux, the core feature of this exhibition.

A kind of surface tension is created enthralling to inspect, a kind of tactile membrane that one wants to explore – an earthiness with serendipitous features that one enjoys finding unexpectedly. These are the painting’s chief ingredient and reward. ‘It is important that there is depth and suggestion, which comes out of the process’.

I think there is a trust for the viewer, in a Mankin painting, that whatever crosses one’s path will not be passed over. The artist has an entrepreneurial spirit, eager to express creativity from interaction and experience within the present microsecond, and from working-memory as well as having an awareness of the timeless.

One particular painting sends me a shiver of pleasure; and as with all the body of work for this exhibition confers a tranquility.”

Ali Day, September 2018

Antonio Lopez Reche | Bronze Sculpture | 23 September 2018

Showing alongside Melanie Goemans’ paintings throughout September 2018, was a collection of bronze figurative sculpture by renowned artist Antonio Lopez Reche.

Antonio Lopez Reche with one of his bronze sculptures

Born in Barcelona, Antonio Lopez Reche was educated at the University of Barcelona and served as a post graduate teaching assistant there. In 1994 he received the Erasmus Grant from the European Commission to study at Saint Martins School of Art and Design, London. He has been working in the UK since 1995, and has produced numerous commissions for private and public spaces. His bronze sculptures have been exhibited in Barcelona, Vienna, Greenport, NY and venues across the UK. He has also produced a number of public commissions including Canary Wharf, London and is in a number of private collections across the world including Spain, England and the United States. Drawing inspiration from Greek Mythology and Folk Tales, his work describes such universal themes as internal conflict, strength, and man’s search for knowledge. 

” My work is a diverse approach to the language of sculpture. For the past twenty years, I have been experimenting with figurative and non figurative work.

My figurative work has been inspired by Western tradition, often relating to Mediterranean mythology and folk tales, in which my interest in expressive tool marks and spontaneous modeling with materials such as clay, wax or plaster, translates into bronze, in an attempt to capture the immediacy and rawness of the material.

I also have a deep interest in a more conceptual line of work in which, still using mostly bronze casting, the repeated reproduction of an object, sometimes created by me, sometimes snatched from our immediate daily life, creates a new form. Although these pieces start with the fascination with the chosen object, soon the repetition and organisation of these elements creates a new dimension far from the original object.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This very lovely couple (and lovely dog) came in to buy Antonio Lopez Reche’s “Nearly Time” bronze sculpture (on the left) but once we put it side by side with “Kitzune”, the only possible choice was to buy both as they make such a stunning pair. 

I’m sure these pieces will be treasured for years to come.

You can see Antonio’s exhibition here

Melanie Goemans | Tree. Bird. Stone. | 10 September 2018

From 29th August – 22nd September 2018 Cornwall Contemporary was delighted to host a solo exhibition of exquisite paintings and printmaking by Melanie Goemans.

 

The way in which Melanie paints is very traditional, using materials such as oil paint, gesso, linseed oil, gold leaf… all with very fine brushes. This demonstrates Melanie’s innate precision and skill and her fascination in the history of art and wanting to connect with painting in the way that the old masters did.

 

 

“The work in this exhibition is a response to my environment, the places in and around which I have lived the everyday; the new that has become the familiar, that has resonated the thoughts and experiences lived through here. I like that the paintings are mine only briefly while I work on them in my studio. Their life begins when they fly to another context, to a different viewer who I hope will find their own significances in this work. This is the life of the painting. The birds animate the landscape, the heron like a god, disproportionate and mysteriously significant. The stone – the earth – underlines everything, and the trees have been my enduring fascination for the past fifteen years. I am interested in the overlooked, incidental forms in nature – how painting / printmaking can draw attention to things with no conventional value and mark them as important through the use of traditional materials, such as oil paint, gesso, gold leaf, etching. I like looking at complicated shapes and drawing them with a very fine brush. The act of painting like this feels almost like stitching or weaving, as slowly with each brush mark the work comes together. I used to think art had to be complex to be good, but over time I have realised that keeping things simple or paring them down can make a bigger statement.”

Melanie grew up in the Lincolnshire fens. She spent time in Italy before studying Florentine Renaissance art at the Courtauld Institute, London and Fine Art at the School of Art, University of Gloucestershire. She went on to teach Art and History of Art and take up Artist in Residence posts in Cheltenham and Devon before settling in London. Melanie relocated to the Cambridgeshire fens with her young family in 2010 and now works from her studio in Ely. Over her career, Melanie has exhibited in group and solo shows across the UK at various venues including the Jerwood Space, Bridgeman Gallery, Rebecca Hossack Gallery and Florence Trust in London. Her work is held in corporate and private collections in the UK and overseas and has recently been selected for the National Open Art Competition; the ING Discerning Eye Exhibition; and the JohnMoores Painting Prize (second round).

Melanie Goemans ‘Cuckold’s Row’ painting used on Richard Holloway book cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

View Melanie Goemans’ exhibition here

Cornwall Contemporary’s Summer Collection | 25 August 2018

Our Summer Collection 2018 featured a vibrant and diverse selection of paintings, sculpture and ceramics throughout the 3 floors of the gallery. 

 

From portraiture, to landscape, to abstract, to figurative, it was a wonderful showcase of Cornwall Contemporary talent. You can view the exhibition

here

Maggie Matthews | in Bloom | an exhibition observing the National Dahlia Collection | 10 July 2018

Maggie Matthews at the National Dahlia Collection
“We love to give flowers, expressing our most powerful feelings from the joyful celebration of love to profound grief, they mark the most important moments in our lives. Today we import most of our flowers from distant lands, but Cornwall has a rich history in farming flowers. On the Isles of Scilly in 1870 Mr William Trevellick packed some daffodils into an old hat box and posted them off to Covent Garden and so an industry was born.
Taking advantage of the early mild springs daffodils became an important crop and with the coming of the railway West Cornwall regularly supplied London and beyond. It was while crossing one of the many footpaths on the slopes opposite St Michael’s Mount that I came across Varfell Farm where “Greenyard Flowers” is the world’s largest daffodil producer, leaders in the growing and packing of daffodils. It’s not just daffodils grown here as I was about to find out, but spectacular fields of Agapanthus and Amaryllis. Following the sign to “The National Dahlia Collection” I wandered into the most spectacular field filled with every vibrant colour and form of flower you can imagine. I returned many times over the coming months with my sketchbook and camera in hand. It wasn’t long until I met the production manager of the collection Louise Danks and Gilles Deprez. Louise and Gilles explained that the collection holds over 1,600 new and heritage varieties, a real national treasure.   
This exhibition brings together the body of work which was to follow, I hope you find it as colourful and vibrant as The National Dahlia Collection, and if you ever get chance to visit the collection in the summer months you won’t be disappointed.”
Maggie Matthews

 

 

Maggie Matthew’s solo exhibition for Cornwall Contemporary in 2018, was an in depth look at the National Dahlia Collection near Penzance. Maggie has always used nature as the inspiration for her paintings, whether looking into rock pools, or in hedgerows and then abstracting the on site drawings into paintings in the studio, and this exhibition explored the floral patterns and shapes of the extensive collection of dahlias on the outskirts of Penzance. 

photograph of Sarah Brittain Mansbridge and Maggie Matthews smiling and sitting amongst flowers at an exhibition at Cornwall Contemporary gallery in Penzance

Sarah Brittain-Mansbridge, director of Cornwall Contemporary with Maggie Matthews, surrounding by beautiful dahlias from the National Dahlia Collection, whilst hanging Maggie Matthews’ In Bloom exhibition.

Image may contain: 12 people, people smiling, people standing and indoor

The exhibition got off to a flying start with a very busy private view and lots of red dots. There was a huge amount of interest and many reviews about the exhibition including features in Cornwall Today Magazine, Manor Magazine and the Western Morning News.

You can view Maggie’s paintings in the exhibition here

Janet Lynch | ‘Without a Map’ | exhibition | 30 April 2018

Janet Lynch

JOURNEY
Without a map

“Making art is a life long journey, a life long search, for an answer to an unknown question.
There are promises, and there are pitfalls , but best of all there are some days that are wonderfully surprising.
Sometimes you turn a corner and find the unexpected , days when out of nowhere, you find an image that did not exist before, but which will now always have its own place in the world.
Those are the worthwhile days that make me smile.”                             

 Janet Lynch, March 2018

a photograph of Sarah Brittain-Mansbridge and Janet Lynch at Cornwall Contemporary gallery in Penzance.

Sarah Brittain-Mansbridge, director of Cornwall Contemporary, with Janet Lynch at the launch of her exhibition ‘Journey – Without a Map’

     

Throughout April 2018, Janet Lynch showcased another solo exhibition of her narrative and lyrical figurative paintings at Cornwall Contemporary.

Janet Lynch lives and works in West Cornwall and she studied at St. Martins School of Art, later returning to art education at Hornsey College after taking time out to raise her family. She has had a prestigious career to date including solo exhibitions at White Space Gallery, Islington Arts Factory and Lauderdale House in London. Her work has also been featured in group exhibitions at a wide variety of locations including The Barbican, Royal Academy Summer Show, Beardsmore Gallery and the Hyde Park Gallery in London. Her paintings were also recently exhibited in the 2018 influential Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize.

In conjunction with her exhibition, Janet also launched a small book of her poetry –

The book ‘Life, Love, Sex, Death’ featuring Janet’s artwork and 14 of her short poems was sold with all proceeds raised donated to Smile Train – the international children’s charity that transforms the lives of children by giving them the power of a smile and providing corrective surgery for cleft lips and palates. £360 was raised whilst Janet’s exhibition was on, meaning that two children are going to have cleft repair surgery giving them the power to smile. A huge congratulations is due to Janet!

Signed copies of the book are still on sale with us and all money will go directly to Smile Train.
Contact us on 01736 874749 or email sarah@cornwallcontemporary.com if you would like to buy a signed copy for £10 (£11 inc p&p)

Neil Pinkett – St. Michael’s Mount exhibition | 15 April 2018

the artist Neil Pinkett painting en plein air at Cape Cornwall on the cliffsMarch 2018 saw a very special exhibition open at Cornwall Contemporary. Neil Pinkett, who has lived opposite St. Michael’s Mount in Marazion for a number of years, decided to dedicate all of the paintings in his solo show to the iconic view of the “castle in the sea” 

It was ironic that whilst the exhibition was on, Neil received news that he was actually to move from marazion, making the exhibition that much more poignant for him.

We had a bustling private view, including an appearance by Lord James St. Levan who kindly wrote this for our exhibition catalogue – 

 
 
“I am fortunate to live somewhere which has attracted artists over the centuries. At one level, this has produced pictorial evidence of how buildings and plantings have evolved over time. At another, it is often intriguing to see how a place one thinks one knows well is perceived in another’s eyes. 
 
And while St Michael’s Mount has been painted many times over, it is much more unusual for an artist to put together a whole collection of work that captures its different moods and picks out the detail that gives the island its individual and quirky character. 
 
Neil Pinkett’s art breathes his love of the Cornish coast. He lives in Marazion and is therefore constantly aware of the Mount. It is so very apt that he has been inspired to take on this ambitious project.”
 
James St Levan
 

you can see the paintings in Neil’s wonderful ‘St. Michael’s Mount’ exhibition here

Our new video! | 21 March 2018

Over this winter, work began on filming activity at Cornwall Contemporary for a short film about the gallery and our artists. Funded by Creative Cultivator and filmed by Three S Films, filming focused on hanging Maggie Matthews’ paintings in the gallery, chatting to Alasdair Lindsay in his studio, watching Neil Pinkett painting outside on the cliffs at Cape Cornwall and Kristin Vestgard’s private view at the gallery.

Sarah Brittain-Mansbridge being filmed with Maggie Matthews in Cornwall Contemporary

Sarah Brittain-Mansbridge being filmed with Ken Spooner at Cornwall Contemporary

Chatting to Alasdair Lindsay in his studio

Mitch from Three S Films setting up a close-up shot of paintings and sculpture

Filming on the cliffs at Cape Cornwall with Neil Pinkett

we are all thrilled with the end result and you can see the film below –

Alasdair Lindsay | Shorelines | exhibition & book launch Sep 2017 | 10 September 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had a very special solo exhibition and book launch in summer 2017 for Alasdair Lindsay, who we have been working with for the last 20 years.

 

I first saw Alasdair Lindsay’s paintings at Falmouth College of Art’s graduate show for Fine Art in 1999. Despite being a recent graduate, Alasdair was already an accomplished artist, and leaving a note for him tucked into his sketchbook, I suggested he come to the gallery (where I was working as Art Director at the time) to meet me and now, 18 years after first seeing that graduate show in Falmouth, and opening my own gallery Cornwall Contemporary 11 years ago, I have sold hundreds of his paintings and Alasdair has amassed a large number of ardent admirers and collectors of his work worldwide.

There is something about Alasdair’s paintings that really resonates with people. I have customers who have bought numerous paintings by Alasdair and his work can be found in private collections in homes all over the world. From Alasdair’s 2016 exhibition alone at Cornwall Contemporary, we packed up and shipped off paintings to Switzerland, San Francisco and Germany as well as across the UK.

He has racked up accolades along the way – winning 2nd prize in the prestigious Hunting Art Prize in 2000, 2004 and 2005. He was commissioned to produce a number of paintings in 2002 for display on the luxury Cunard liner Queen Mary II. In 2007 his work was exhibited in the Singer Freidlander Sunday Times Watercolour Competition at Mall Galleries, London. He was recently shortlisted for the Lynn Painter Stainers Prize along with the Jacksons Art Prize, where he was placed among the best 25 painters from over 2000 artists worldwide.

With each exhibition, Alasdair’s style and aesthetic grows and it has been a pleasure working alongside him and watching his career thrive and flourish. His ability to entirely capture a recognisable scene, wherever it may be of, and yet present it in such a unique, vibrant and unexpected way has led to him becoming one of the UK’s most exciting contemporary landscape painters.

Paintings in the exhibition can be seen here.

Sarah Brittain-Mansbridge 
Director, Cornwall Contemporary

Maggie Matthews | Painting the Seasons 5th – 31st July 2017 | 10 August 2017

This exhibition was a year- long journey through the four seasons celebrating a year in the life of the Cornish countryside, by one of Cornwall’s best loved abstract painters Maggie Matthews.

“I love spotting the first signs of the changing seasons, the first bluebell, my first summer beach day, collecting autumn leaves and waiting for that first frost so I can pick the sloes for my Christmas Gin – everyone has their favourites.

Each season I focus in on my favourite events – the first green shoots of new life in “Spring Seedling” and a study of the return of the fresh light after long dark winter evenings in “Spring Light”. I spend long summer days searching the shingle for shells and whiling away the hours watching the abundant life in “Summer Rockpools”.  Every autumn, nature puts on a spectacular show and I love making collections of treasure such as “Autumn Leaves”.

My year would not be complete without long winter walks at Trelissick Gardens, to study the “Winter Trelissick Trees”. What a wonderful county to live in, with its beautiful beaches and subtropical gardens, from cliff tops to moors there are in fact too many inspiring events in nature’s calendar to mention and I can only highlight my personal favourites”.         Maggie Matthews

This solo exhibition by Maggie Matthews was a huge success, with one collector travelling all the way from Dusseldorf to buy from the private view.

Maggie Matthews with a collector of her paintings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Works in the exhibition can be seen here.

Born in Wales, Maggie Matthews moved to the far southwest of Cornwall in 1988 and has since gained recognition as one of Cornwall’s leading abstract painters. Inspired by aerial views of the shore and the landscape, she can often be found walking the cliffs, sketchbook in hand, noting and sketching the shapes and patterns below her, which are then translated into paintings in the studio. Her work has been exhibited widely throughout Cornwall and the UK, most notably in The City Gallery, The Air Gallery and Thompson’s Gallery in London. Her paintings were also toured worldwide in the ‘White Columns’ exhibition in places such as New York and she has also exhibited on Nantucket Island, USA. In 1999 BBC Wales Broadcasting Studio commissioned a permanent collection of Maggie’s paintings which are on display during broadcasts.

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Cornwall Contemporary
1 Parade Street
Queens Square
Penzance
Cornwall
TR18 4BU

Telephone: 01736 874749

opening times:
monday - Saturday  10 - 5

Gallery Director:
Sarah Brittain-Mansbridge
sarah@cornwallcontemporary.com

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