Cornwall Contemporary 1 Parade Street, Penzance

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Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Alasdair Lindsay exhibition reviews | 1 November 2018

There was a wonderful double page feature on our Alasdair Lindsay exhibition in the November issue of Cornwall Today magazine. “Alasdair Lindsay has become one of Cornwall’s most distinctive landscape painters. In an area of fine art currently dominated by high-energy brushwork and low-key colour, his work stands out for its crisp, graphic quality and vibrant palette…. Lindsay’s work combines clean shapes and razor sharp compositions with an extraordinary understanding of complementary colour… In a show that takes us from the raw beauty of Cornwall and the Scillies, to the famous bridges of London and the elegance of Venice, to the drama of the Scottish Hebrides, ‘Islands and Bridges’ ventures finally to Iceland… and all painted by a uniquely talented artist with an exceptional take on contemporary landscape”.

Frank Ruhrmund wrote this wonderful review in The Cornishman of our Alasdair Lindsay exhibition ‘Islands and Bridges’….

“With several of the works sold before its official opening, Alasdair Lindsay’s new exhibition could not have had a more promising start. No stranger to success, this is his 12th exhibition in this gallery and while all the previous shows were winners this one is likely to beat them all….”

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

Kristin Vestgard ‘Find You’ 2 page feature review in Western Morning News | 11 August 2018

Maggie Matthews – 4 page feature in Cornwall Today Magazine | 11 July 2018

David Mankin & Philip Lyons exhibition | 4 August 2017

Throughout June 2017, we had an exhibition featuring the beautifully pared back Cornish landscapes and still lives of Philip Lyons alongside the vibrant, abstract expressionist Cornish landscapes of David Mankin.

The exhibition was a huge success with 18 sales. Prior to the exhibition even opening, 4 of David Mankin’s paintings were purchased by an interior design company to furnish an office space in Paris.

David Mankin’s painting ‘Daffodil Sky’ in situ in an office space in Paris.

Whilst the exhibition was on, David Mankin was also selected by prestigious international Art Maze Mag to appear in their current edition. Not only does he have two full pages showing his paintings, they also have his work on the back cover – all paintings that appeared in our exhibition. The magazine is available internationally and will be at Art Basel, Switzerland.

David Mankin with his paintings featured in prestigious Art Maze Magazine

 

 

The response to the exhibition was overwhelming and we had numerous visitors coming back for 2nd, 3rd, 4th looks at the paintings on display. We’re thrilled for both artists and both David Mankin and Philip Lyons are featured in our current Summer Collection exhibition, at the gallery throughout August 2017.

“Wave after Wave” exhibition review of Neil Pinkett’s exhibition in the Western Morning News | 25 May 2017

 

“My Beautiful Mermaid” | 17 April 2017

“I love my Melissa Kiernan Mermaid sculpture and cannot believe you still have some of her works available. They’re all so delicate and spiritual and deep and symbolic and beautiful! Thank you for introducing me!!”

We love to see where some of our pieces have ended up and this beautiful sculpture by Melissa Kiernan looks superbly at home here. We have a few of Melissa’s works available in the gallery and we’re excited to say that she is currently working on a new collection of sculptures for us that should be in the gallery soon.

Cornwall Life Magazine – Leading Ladies | 17 February 2017

 

Sarah Brittain-Mansbridge Cornwall Life Magazine

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Kristin Vestgard ‘The Red String’ exhibition | 9 November 2016

We were delighted recently to stage an exhibition of paintings by Norwegian artist Kristin Vestgard.

Kristin Vestgard at her exhibition at Cornwall Contemporary art gallery in Penzance, Cornwall

It was a truly wonderful collection of portrait and still life paintings by the Falmouth College of Art graduate. Her oil paintings convey fragility and beauty, strength and delicacy, tenderness and emotion and a serenity that feels meditative and ethereal.

“I want my figures to be in a flux like moment. I keep painting until they have the right atmosphere, and it must be a gentle balance of both being here and not here – fleeting but with a nerve. To have a playfulness running in and out of the layers of oil paint, with a deep sincere essence holding it together.”

Kristin Vestgard exhibition at Cornwall Contemporary galleryPainting of a lady gardener holding pot plants by Kristin Vestgard Kristin Vestgard painting "No Words" at Cornwall Contemporary beautiful portrait painting by Kristin Vestgard of a young woman wearing a yellow dress with a colourful necklace

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Kristin lived in Falmouth, Cornwall for ten years after graduating from art college and made many friends and established herself in the Cornish art scene as a highly collectable artist. Kristin flew over especially for the private view from Norway and we were thrilled to have her at the gallery where people were overjoyed to see her work back in Cornwall again. Throughout the duration of the show, we had a very high number of visitors, including two fans of her work who made the 800 mile round trip from West Yorkshire to Penzance, especially to see the exhibition:

“A privilege to see Kristin’s work in the flesh again after more than 10 years. A moving experience, I love these paintings so much. This is what art is about. 

Thank you Cornwall Contemporary for getting Kristin’s work over to the UK again. Totally worth our journey from West Yorkshire especially for this show. Blown away. Huge thanks from the bottom of my heart” Caroline and Julian 

The show was an enormous success and we had many sales and press reviews – 

a review in My Cornwall magazine of Kristin Vestgard's exhibition at Cornwall Contemporarykristin-review-page-2kristin-vestgard-newspaper-review-of-her-show-at-cornwall-contemporary-gallery-in-penzance“Their mix of fragility and strength, bound by that very same red string perhaps, lends her paintings a quality that defies description but is very special…”

You can see the paintings that featured in the exhibition here and we’re delighted to announce that there will be a second solo exhibition by Kristin at Cornwall Contemporary in 2017.

 

Sarah Brittain-Mansbridge

Director, Cornwall Contemporary

10th Anniversary Press | 20 September 2016

sarah-brittain-mansbridge-at-cornwall-contemporary

We received a great deal of press throughout our 10th Anniversary Exhibition, here is one press cutting written by arts writer for Cornwall, Frank Ruhrmund –

“It was on September 1, 2006 that Sarah Brittain-Mansbridge took possession of what was then a neglected but listed building in the heart of Penzance, and began the long haul of converting it, as she says ‘Into an attractive venue for showcasing and highlighting the quality and quantity of art in this part of the world.’

“Since then she has not only mounted 136 exhibitions, but has also been part of a number of art fairs and pop up shows at various venues in the UK, working with hundreds of different artists – ‘It has been, and still is, a joy to work with so many talented, creative people. The paintings, sculptures, prints, ceramics and jewellery that have come in and out of the gallery throughout the years, bear testament to West Cornwall’s thriving art scene, plus I’ve also had the pleasure of getting to know all the people who have come through the door.’

“A graduate twenty years ago from falmouth College of Arts, and author in 2001 of the acclaimed and authoritative Behind the Canvas – 40 artists, living and working in Penwith, Sarah Brittain-Mansbridge is passionate about the artists and artworks she exhibits and aims to provide an excellent service for them and for her customers alike. She has a deep understanding of the placing of art in residential and business locations, and is only too happy to advise first time buyers as well as anyone who wishes to add to his or her collection.

“Set on three floors, Cornwall Contemporary is surprisingly spacious: its monthly changing exhibitions are mounted on the ground floor, while the upper floors share ever changing displays of art works by the gallery’s regular contributors plus the occasional pop-up show and capsule exhibition….  The Anniversary Exhibition emphasises all she has said about her aims for the gallery, its reasons for being there, and should not be missed.”

 

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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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