Cornwall Contemporary 1 Parade Street, Penzance

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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

Charlotte Jones Ceramics Studio Visit | 26 September 2016

After exhibiting the ceramics of Charlotte Jones in Cornwall Contemporary for the last ten years, I thought it was high time I visited her studio to see her at work and talk to her about her creative process. 

charlotte-jones-pottery-studio-exterior

The studio itself is stunning and hand built by her furniture-maker husband Ron. The attention to detail is incredible (and mirrors much of Charlotte’s workmanship in her own creative practice).

After working in their house for years and years (a converted chapel with tantalising sea glimpses) Charlotte finally got a designated studio-haven at the bottom of the garden in January this year. At first I couldn’t quite believe that it was a making studio and not just a show room as it was pretty immaculate for a ceramics studio – even her wheel was suspiciously clean! But she is a firm believer in cleaning up her space at the end of each day and keeping some semblance of order in the studio. 

charlotte-jones-at-work-in-her-studio

After being surrounded by Charlotte’s ceramics for the last decade – both in the gallery and in my own home, it was a very special experience to see her in action and to learn more about the painstaking and time consuming methods that she uses. Each vessel is started on the wheel to create a strong base and then a combination of slab and coil work is used to complete each pot. All the clay used is local – with Charlotte often sourcing and digging the clay herself. In fact she told me she was keeping an eye on a piece of land in a nearby field and was pleased to see cattle in there as she could see the cows nicely treading and working the clay each time they walked past.

work-in-progress-in-charlotte-jones-studio

Not only does Charlotte source her own clay, she also adds earth and mineral pigments to the clay to create colour, as unusually for a potter, none of Charlotte’s bowls and pots are glazed, yet still remain water tight and functional. So colour is added to the actual clay and runs throughout the fabric of the pot, rather than being added on as surface decoration after the pot is fired. This is a very lengthy and involved process and speaks volumes of Charlotte’s patience and dedication to each vessel as some bowls can be worked on for weeks and weeks before they’re finished.

studio-dog All of Charlotte’s inspiration is sourced from nature and each working day starts with walking the dog through surrounding fields and countryside, where field shapes and patterns and gradated landscape horizons can spark an idea back in the studio. She has a strong work ethic and is in the studio working every day from 10am onwards, and can often find herself there until the evening. She recently allowed herself a week off and spent all of it sketching and painting, creating source material for future works. Shells hold a particular fascination for her and she can look at them in the most minute detail, noting a particular subtle line of pink on the underside which will be then translated into a pot.

 

 

ideas-and-inspiration-board-in-the-studio-of-charlotte-jones charlotte-jones-potterya-collection-of-objects-in-charlotte-jones-pottery-studioCharlotte’s pottery has become highly collectable and sought after over the years and rightly so. I know from my own personal experience how special each piece becomes to the owner and I was recently contacted by a customer in Australia who had bought a small pot by Charlotte some years ago and was desperate to buy a replacement for it after breaking it. I luckily had a bowl that was similar in size and colour and he was delighted to receive it (the postage paid, far exceeded the price of the pot!) The most common question I’m asked in the gallery is “but are they functional?” and yes they are, it was a particular treat to see a stack of Charlotte’s bowls above the cooker in her kitchen as I, and I think most people who buy them, treat them in a very revered kind of way, but they are fully intended to be functional pieces and particular care is taken to ensure they hold liquid and can be used in a variety of ways. And I think that’s why I’m so drawn to Charlotte’s work – as each one is a work of art in it’s own right, while straddling that art/ function divide. Each bowl is incredibly tactile and holds my interest like a piece of sculpture.

You can view pieces in the range of pottery by Charlotte Jones that we have in the gallery here.

charlotte-jones-at-rest-in-her-ceramics-studio

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.”

 

Gallery of the Month | 20 September 2016

Cornwall Contemporary Gallery of the Month

We recently enjoyed a lot of press relating to our tenth anniversary at the gallery and My Cornwall Magazine made us their Gallery of the Month:

“In the heart of Penzance, at the gateway of its charismatic Chapel Street, Cornwall Contemporary gallery has proudly stood as a pillar of the art community. Now as it reaches its tenth year, myCornwall speaks to its director, Sarah Brittain-Mansbridge, about the impressive and influential run this notable gallery has had on Cornwall.

“From the outside, Cornwall Contemporary’s size does it little justice, set across three floors, this spacious gallery housed inside listed premises, hosts a variety of evenly and beautifully spread artwork – every piece is different but all posses the Cornwall Contemporary feel.

“The ground floor is primarily for changing exhibitions, whilst the gallery artists along with special capsule installations use the upper two floors. Opened in 2006 by artist and art distributor Sarah Brittain-Mansbridge, Cornwall Contemporary has had a place in Penzance for the last decade, an achievement few galleries have rarely accomplished.

“Many of Sarah’s artists are firm friends formed over a decade of hard work to get Cornwall Contemporary where it is today…. When it comes to selecting new artists to work with, Sarah is meticulous about her selection – “There are no rules to follow, it’s just if I really like it” explains Sarah, “I never think ‘my customers are going to like this’ or ‘I’m definitely going to sell this’ it is about ‘would I have this on my wall? Does this say something to me personally? You have to be very clear about what you like and for me it’s never been about the financial side, coming from an artistic background myself, I don’t approach anything with a business head, and I think that’s why Cornwall Contemporary has done so well.’

“It’s safe to say that Cornwall Contemporary has become a notable part of the face of Penzance and Cornwall’s art scene, having a strong influence, not just due to its impressive history, but also in the deliberation and consideration of its exhibiting and collaborating artists.”

MyCornwall Magazine, August/ September 2016

Our 10th Anniversary! | 29 August 2016

We have officially been open for 10 years here at Cornwall Contemporary and we have been busy celebrating!

private view at Cornwall Contemporary

Cornwall Contemporary opened on 1st September 2006. Taking on a run down listed building in the heart of Penzance, it was my intention to turn it into a venue to showcase and highlight the quality of art in Cornwall. Over the last ten years we have staged 136 exhibitions in the gallery plus numerous art fairs and pop ups in London and around the UK, working with hundreds of artists.

private view

Our grand opening of Cornwall Contemporary on 1st September 2006.

The paintings, sculpture, printmaking, ceramics and jewellery that we have shown over the years are all a testament to the thriving art scene of Cornwall and beyond. It’s been a joy to run Cornwall Contemporary and establish a name for the gallery. I like to hope that I’ve staged an eclectic mix of vibrant and interesting shows over the years with artists exhibiting from as far and wide as the USA and Norway. I am still full of ideas for future exhibitions and there are many artists that I now consider to be close friends, which has been the best part of the job. me-and-ken  

Cornwall Contemporary art gallery was featured in the Saturday Guardian newspaper in the Get Togethers section featuring a dinner party at Sarah Brittain-Mansbridge's house. The guests included artists Neil pinkett, Daphne McClure, Emma McClure, Janet Lynch and Maggie Matthews. The photographer was Guardian photographer Jim Wileman.Maggie Fiona Sarah Emma fpr printSarah Brittain-Mansbridge and Neil Pinkett with Alasdair Lindsay at the opening of Cornwall Contemporary's exhibition in Shoreditch in 2012for webele and al

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our opening night of the 10th Anniversary show had a party atmosphere with plenty of bubbles and we even had a resident gallery mermaid in tow! 

Sarah Brittain-Mansbridge at Cornwall Contemporary

Sarah Brittain-Mansbridge and her mermaid friend celebrating 10 years at Cornwall Contemporary!The exhibition has so far been an enormous success with numerous sales of paintings and sculpture already in the first couple of weeks.

 

 

 

 

Work in the exhibition can be seen here and the show runs until 10th September – don’t miss the chance to come along and see the very best in painting and sculpture in Cornwall.

And I’d also like to take this opportunity to again thank all of the artists who have exhibited at Cornwall Contemporary over the last 10 years – here’s to the next!

 

Sarah Brittain-Mansbridge

Director, Cornwall Contemporary

 

Maggie Matthews exhibition | 22 August 2016

Maggie Matthews has exhibited with us ever since we opened Cornwall Contemporary gallery 10 years ago. Her exhibition slot is always highly anticipated and a number of her collectors make the journey down to see her new exhibition of paintings each year.

Her July 2016 solo exhibition was titled “Colour and Light” which perfectly sums up all that is distinct and remarkable about Maggie’s paintings.

Maggie Matthews in her exhibition at Cornwall Contemporary slide 1

Maggie Matthews at her exhibition at Cornwall Contemporary, July 2016

beautiful dark red abstract painting by Maggie Matthews The Wild Garden is an abstracted landscape painting by Cornish artist Maggie MatthewsMaggie has always been a master with colour, skilfully balancing bright, vivid layers of colour on her canvases. Although the essence of Maggie’s paintings are abstract, the starting point has always been rooted in the Cornish landscape. Paintings often start as drawings made on the clifftop, beach, or hedgerow, using mark making and developing motifs and shapes to be abstracted later in the studio. Here Maggie’s bold use of colour combines with her drawing as she begins the long process of building up layers of paint on canvas. The subsequent paintings become both subtle and bold, holding a delicate balance of multi layers of beautiful drawing, mark making and areas of luminous colour. Maggie’s approach to painting in the Cornish artworld has always provided a modern, contemporary voice to the Cornish landscape and I believe her work gets stronger and stronger each year. We are very proud to have represented her for the last 10 years and look forward to seeing what she paints in the future. And on a personal note, I have lived with Maggie’s paintings in my own home for 19 years – they are a joy to live with! You can see work from the exhibition here.

Sarah Brittain-Mansbridge

Director, Cornwall Contemporary

 

 

Pop up exhibition at Lamorna Cove Hotel | 1 August 2016

We currently have a pop up exhibition at the stunning Lamorna Cove Hotel.

The Lamorna Cove Hotel

Featuring gallery artists Jamie Boyd, Philip Lyons, Neil Pinkett, Maggie Matthews, Fiona Millais, Emma Dunbar, Emma McClure, Alasdair Lindsay, Paul Lewin, David Mankin, Ele Pack, Sam Lock and others, it is a truly spectacular setting to see the very best in contemporary art.

Cornwall Contemporary exhibition at Lamorna

Cornwall ContempoThis specially curated pop up exhibition is on throughout the summer and the Lamorna Cove Hotel is well worth a visit. Why not spend an afternoon looking at the beautiful view from the pool, sipping a beer or two… Lamorna has a long, rich history in art as featured in the 2013 blockbuster movie Summer in February starring Dominic Cooper and Emily Browning.

Lamorna Cove is one of the hidden gems of West Cornwall and the wooded valley and stunning harbour are well worth a visit alone. So don’t miss out on the chance to pop along and combine your visit with the chance to see some wonderful paintings too. 

Lamorna Cove Hotel

Our upstairs galleries | 28 June 2016

We are lucky to have of 3 floors of exhibition space here in our listed building at Cornwall Contemporary and often first time visitors to the gallery are astounded at our tardis-like proportions.

The upstairs gallery at Cornwall Contemporary art gallery in PenzanceJessica Cooper paintings on displayin Pen at Cornwall Contemporary

 

The downstairs gallery hosts the monthly programme of exhibitions but we also have 2 staircases that lead to a further 2 floors of gallery space where we show an ever changing mix of work by our gallery artists. We also use the Attic Gallery to host one-off, pop up shows and installations. Our Attic Gallery also has a wonderful view over the rooftops of Penzance and we often see images of it popping up on facebook and instagram by people who have been taken with the view – it’s also a good place for seagull spotting as many nest among the rooftops.

One of the exhibition spaces at Cornwall Contemporary, the modern art gallery in PenzanceA private view at Cornwall Contemporary attended by film critic Mark Kermodea view from the desk area in Cornwall ContemporaryThe fireplace in Cornwall Contemporarysam lock paintings above chest of drawers at Cornwall Contemporary galleryIMG_2396

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So the stairs are well worth a climb as a wonderful mix of paintings, ceramics, sculpture, installations and seagulls await you at the top!

Another happy customer. | 24 June 2016

“Sarah, thank you. It is awesome! I put it up today and it’s perfect. Thank you so much, I look forward to the next painting!
Steve.”

Alasdair Lindsay painting

It’s always a joy to see our paintings in their new homes, and this particular Alasdair Lindsay painting of beach huts at Carbis Bay looks stunning in its new location. 

Successful Shows | 23 June 2016

Goodness, what a busy couple of months we’ve had at the gallery!

Neil Pinkett‘s exhibition titled ‘Still Lives, Landscapes and Portraits’ was a hugely successful show with a very high amount of visitors to the gallery. It was Neil’s 10th exhibition at Cornwall Contemporary and represented a winter’s work. He ended up with sales in double figures including many of the large pieces sold which is a testament to Neil’s longevity as a leading talent in the Cornish artworld. 

Neil Pinkett, May 2016

Neil Pinkett on wall

Janet Lynch‘s current exhibition ‘Lines of Thought‘ has seen unprecedented success. Janet’s last solo exhibition at the gallery was in 2014 and practically sold out so this follow up exhibition has been highly anticipated.

With 8 paintings sold prior to the exhibition opening, sales were in double figures after the private view. Janet’s narrative, figurative paintings have been so well received with visitors to the gallery really engaging with the work and spending a great deal of time in the gallery with the paintings which is always heartening.

Janet Lynch exhibition

Many of the paintings in the exhibition are inspired by poetry – “Poetry has always played a major role in my life, and sometimes the lines of verse, translate themselves into visual lines, and I stumble onto the beginnings of a painting.

These works don’t illustrate the poems, but rather try to capture the evocative spirit of the words. In addition, there are other paintings which while not directly influenced by verse, I hope have a poetic feel to them”

Janet also staged an installation in the Attic Gallery at Cornwall Contemporary entitled ‘Immemorial’ which spoke about the futility and horror of war. Janet has always produced politically motivated work throughout her career and it proved a very interesting and moving element to the show overall. Janet’s exhibition (seen here) is on at the gallery until 9th July and is well worth a visit. As one visitor to the gallery wrote in the visitor’s book: “Deeply impressed with your work – its humanity and concern for world issues and the plight we are in – what beautiful and sensitive paintings.”

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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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