Cornwall Contemporary 1 Parade Street, Penzance

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Archive for the ‘Artists’ Category

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

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

 

The night The Guardian came for dinner. | 26 May 2016

As I have people over for dinner this evening, I was wondering what to cook when I remembered a recipe that I haven’t used in a while. Only snag was I’ve lost the recipe. Luckily it was a recipe that was featured in The Guardian when they did a three page feature on the gallery in the Saturday Guardian newspaper in 2013. 

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.

The photographer Jim Wileman was sent to my house where some of my artists and I were having a dinner party. Neil Pinkett, Daphne McClure, Janet Lynch, Emma McClure and Maggie Matthews were just a few of the artists there. We had a wonderful evening with a lot of laughs – despite all getting a tad hungry whilst waiting for our food to be photographed!

Sarah Brittain-Mansbridge photographed in her home by Jim Wileman for The Guardian newspaper for a feature in the Saturday Guardian Cook magazine

“The Saturday Guardian – Food & drink Get-togethers.
The fine art of good food
At Penzance’s Cornwall Contemporary art gallery, owner Sarah Brittain-Mansbridge celebrates each new exhibition with a “world tapas” party for her artists and friends.”

 

Read the full article (and get some tasty recipes!) here.

Jessica Cooper studio visit | 31 March 2016

Jessica Cooper

Yesterday I took some people over to see Jessica Cooper in her light-filled studio in Newlyn. They have long been admirers of Jess’s work and we spent a wonderful afternoon hearing Jess talk about her painting practice. Especially heart warming was to see 12 year old Alec’s reaction to Jess’ beautifully balanced and quietly and deceptively simple compositions – upon leaving, Alec turned to Jess and said “I love your paintings and I hope you never, ever stop painting.”

I’ve personally known Jess for 20 years and have watched her paintings grow in confidence and her career blossom and thrive. It’s still a thrill to be able to visit an artist’s studio and to see where ideas become paintings.

Daphne McClure & Janet Lynch | 15 March 2016

I recently visited the artist Daphne McClure to pick up paintings for our current Spring Exhibition. Daphne is an inspiration and is still producing some of her finest work ever. It’s a real privilege to work alongside her and to have been exhibiting her wonderful paintings for the past 10 years.

Daphne McClure

I also visited Janet Lynch in her beautiful studio tucked away in the Cornish countryside on the north coast between St. Just and St. Ives. It’s always wonderful to see Janet and to view her work in situ. Her current work is linked to poetry that has inspired Janet in some way and her lyrical and narrative figurative paintings are always visually exciting and dynamic. I’m so excited about her exhibition at the gallery this year in June – her last solo show at the gallery was practically a sell-out.

Janet Lynch

 

 

New Year studio visits | 12 January 2016

Throughout January 2016 I am visiting my artists in their studios and also visiting other artistic institutions and venues to learn more about how my artists work and to gain further insight in how best to support them. The new year is a time to step back from the daily running of the gallery, and to get a broader understanding of where my artists are with their working practice and to see if they need any support, help or just general cheerleading in the run up to their exhibitions.

Ken. spooner at work in his studio

My first five days were spent with Ken Spooner in his ceramics studio. Ken is a multi disciplinary artist with separate studios for painting, ceramics, welding and sculpture. Ken is a true creative visionary and it was a joy and a privilege to see the processes behind his work. Maggie Matthews

Then came a day spent with Maggie Matthews and a sneak preview of the stunning canvases that she has started work on in preparation for her show in summer 2016. I have worked with Maggie for 18 years now and it’s wonderful to see her produce her finest work yet – a true marriage of colour, balance, form and mark making – simply superb. Leach Pottery

I am now two days into a week long stay at Leach Pottery, St. Ives, learning more about the Leach legacy and contemporary ceramics. It’s a fascinating and inspiring environment and I am learning a great deal. Next week I will visit Janet Lynch in her studio to see her wonderful narrative and lyrical paintings – can’t wait!

Sarah Brittain-Mansbridge Director, Cornwall Contemporary

Simeon Stafford in Cornwall Today magazine | 30 August 2015

simeon-stafford-pdf

Read Cornwall Today article on Simeon Stafford

Ken Spooner in Cornwall Today magazine | 29 August 2015

ken-spooner-pdf

Read article on Ken Spooner in Cornwall Today magazine.

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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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