Emma McClure painting and it’s new owner… | 23 June 2017
“Wave after Wave” exhibition review of Neil Pinkett’s exhibition in the Western Morning News | 25 May 2017
Neil Pinkett – A Year at Cape Cornwall | 23 May 2017
Neil Pinkett, who was born in St. Just in the far south-west of Cornwall, has been painting the sea almost every day for over 20 years. From spring 2016 to spring 2017, Neil rented one of the tiny fisherman’s huts down at Cape Cornwall near St. Just, to use as his studio. Cape Cornwall is the distinctive natural headland where the Atlantic currents divide. The working slipway is still used by local fisherman and the area is part of the Tin Coast and Cornish Mining World Heritage Site.
The resultant paintings of Neil’s residency at Cape, record the changing seasons, tides and weather of that year and were exhibited at Cornwall Contemporary in May 2017.
“Last year, while teaching down at the slipway by Cape Cornwall, one of the local fishermen offered me the use of one of the small fishing huts built into the cliff.
Over the years, I’ve travelled while working, always feeling the need to move forward, but recently I’ve been drawn back to the landscape of home and the old haunts of childhood.
That childhood was here on the coastline between Cot and Botallack, scrambling across the cliffs and beaches or up at the farm, making camps in amongst the straw bales with friends.
The hut is a focal point, an opportunity to study a place I’ve taken for granted for too long. When young I charged across boulders and rocks always looking yards and minutes ahead, whereas now, I feel that a bit of stillness and mindfulness is in order.”
Neil Pinkett, May 2017
The exhibition was a great success with sales in double figures and paintings being sent all over the country at the end of the show. The feedback we received whilst the show was on was outstanding, many people could see that this was a very special and personal exhibition for Neil – one that went back to his childhood – and many people remarked that it was his very best exhibition to date.
A selection of the paintings in the exhibition can be seen here.
Daphne and Emma McClure – Mother and Daughter exhibition | 15 May 2017
This very special exhibition marked the first time artists Daphne and Emma McClure had exhibited together in more than 10 years. Both artists have hugely successful painting careers in their own right and this joint show had been highly anticipated amongst their many collectors and admirers.
Daphne and Emma are inspired by the landscape they call home, and there is an obvious connection between their paintings in terms of subject matter: cows in a Cornish field, a vase of flowers on a table, boats moored in a harbour…. But where Daphne’s paintings are more expressive, perhaps led more by instinct, Emma’s studies feel more carefully composed, more thought out, with a coastal-inspired softer palette. Both demonstrate a masterly handling of composition and paint, and both have the ability to keep evolving the way they work, developing their own unique voice on the canvas. “It didn’t feel unusual that my mother was an artist when I was growing up,” says Emma, who studied at Falmouth School of Art, Winchester School of Art and Chelsea School of Art, graduating in 1985 with an MA in painting. “It felt very natural to have a creative mother. She was always painting or making something and it was a very creative household. The decision to go to art school was the most interesting option available, “ she says. “I never felt the need to rebel against it, just because it’s what my mother did.” Daphne, of course, spotted her daughter’s talent: “Emma showed an aptitude from an early age for drawing and painting, so it wasn’t a surprise to see her follow in my footsteps.”
And what footsteps…. Born in Helston, Cornwall, Daphne attended Hornsey College of Art and Central School of Art. After graduating and spending 5 years working in the costume department at The Royal Opera House (working on costumes for the likes of Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev) she returned home to Cornwall and has been painting ever since. Daphne is now considered to be the Grande Dame of the Cornish art world – in 1995 she was commissioned by Tate, St. Ives to design a piece of work for its inaugural exhibition, and in 2004, she was invited by the Josef Albers Foundation to undertake an artist residency in Connecticut, USA. Both Daphne’s and Emma’s paintings can be found in private collections worldwide. After living and working in London for many years, Emma now lives near Penzance, not far from her mother. She has enjoyed many successful solo exhibitions in Cornwall and London and her compositions capture serenity and balance with an often playful humour and an underlying, deceptive simplicity. “I really admire mum’s sense of design and originality as well as her bold and direct approach. We start each painting in a similar way. We both like to work in series, exploring certain themes, and the starting point is always to observe and sketch and then develop the painting in the studio from drawings and memory.” Daphne agrees. “With both of us working in close proximity to each other, I’m sure there is cross fertilisation within our inspiration, but any influence on each other is subconscious,” she says. “If we were to paint the same vista, we would end up with completely different paintings. I’m sure we would find a different focus.” Emma concludes, “Because she’s such a good artist, there’s been quite a lot to live up to, but I don’t think it’s always helpful to make too many comparisons to each other. We sometimes ask for each other’s opinion on a new work. I value her opinion, and I think she values mine.”
Excerpt from “Joint Enterprise – Daphne and Emma McClure” by Sarah Brittain-Mansbridge in the Spring 2017 edition of Manor Magazine
“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.
Ken Spooner ‘Symbiosis’ solo exhibition | 24 March 2017
NOUN Biology 1[mass noun] Interaction between two different organisms living in close physical association, typically to the advantage of both.
We were delighted to recently hold the 3rd private view for a solo exhibition of work at the gallery by multi talented artist Ken Spooner.
Ken Spooner paints in oil and acrylic, he hand sculpts in clay, he welds steel, he carves wood. He sees the world through the relationship of materials, how they can be used, manipulated, melded and blended to create his unique and visionary works of art. Everything is seen through eyes and hands that “wonder what I can turn this into?”
The resulting paintings, ceramics and sculpture bear the quality of being only one of their kind and yet also sit alongside each other creating a “symbiosis” and bearing that unmistakable Ken Spooner singularity and inventiveness.
He is truly a remarkable artist.
The exhibition has been an enormous success with many sales and a lot of very impressed visitors. Here are just a few snippets from our visitor’s book:
“Wonderful ceramics” – “How we have loved looking at this quite remarkable collection today” – “Great stuff, loved it!” – “Fantastic show” – “I love this show. How lovely and exciting and full of integrity and HEART” – “Love Ken Spooner’s work” – “Lovely show” – “love the ceramics and sculptural works” – “One of my favourite artists.”
Selected Commissions and Projects
Original paintings on several super yachts.
Ignition – hardback book accompanying solo exhibition at Cornwall Contemporary
Terence Disdale Design
Rose Barber Film Company
NEC Exhibition Centre, Birmingham
Wedgewood Memorial Garden, Staffordshire
3 years on projects with William Mitchell Design, High Wycombe
British Libraries Millennium Memory Bank
BBC Home Services as guest for Arts Design
Short film by BBC about work and working methods
work in private collections worldwide
Selected Solo Exhibitions
2017 – ‘Symbiosis’ Cornwall Contemporary, Penzance
2015 – ‘Art Will Drown your Eyes’ Cornwall Contemporary, Penzance
2014 – ‘Ignition’ Cornwall Contemporary, Penzance
2011 – Millennium, St. Ives
1992 – 99 – Gallery Five o ‘Clock, Switzerland
1980 – 85 – Gallery Country West, San Fransisco, USA
The exhibition continues until 1st April 2017
View a selection of work in the exhibition here.
Caroline Pedler “An-ti-dote” exhibition | 24 March 2017
an-ti-dote – a collage a day for 366 days
Starting out in 2016, Cornish Artist and Illustrator Caroline Pedler set herself a task of completing an image a day for 366 days, (2016 – leap year).
‘The driving force was to create a style that fits outside my commercial children’s books. Producing an image a day, forces you to make, regardless of mood, time, ability and inclination and without distraction.’
The upside is that I have a new body of work, a new website, new workshops and have generated various streams of interest throughout the year including a publisher or two.’
Cornwall Life Magazine – Leading Ladies | 17 February 2017
Kristin Vestgard ‘The Red String’ exhibition | 9 November 2016
We were delighted recently to stage an exhibition of paintings by Norwegian artist Kristin Vestgard.
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 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 –
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Charlotte’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.
Director, Cornwall Contemporary
1 Parade Street
Telephone: 01736 874749
Monday - Saturday 10 - 5