Andy Currie (b.1977), My Lucky Star is a Rubbish Scorpion, 2004. © the artist. Photo: Ross Sanderson
A diverse selection of contemporary works from artists based in Cornwall is one of the shows at Tate St Ives in the gallery’s Spring Season.
The display of paintings, sculpture, photography, drawing and films in Art Now Cornwall, running until May 13 2007, has already sparked a debate locally (see the 24 Hour Museum report from January 25 here).
Nearly 30 artists are represented in the exhibition, which focuses on those working in the Penwith area. One of the trends evident in many of their works is the legacy of late English Modernism – no surprise given the region’s connection with the movement.
Naomi Frears, Wish you were here, 2006. © the artist. Photo: Vince Bevan
In contrast, much of the work departs from the 20th century tendency to reflect the light and landscape of Cornwall. Instead, there is a concentration on autobiographical, gothic and whimsical gestures. Curators Susan Daniel-McElroy (the gallery’s director) and Sara Hughes hope their choices will provoke thought about how these local trends relate to wider contemporary art practice.
Featured artists include Richard Cook, Andy Currie, Naomi Frears, Luke Frost and Ged Quinn, Mark Surridge, Cathy Watkins and Lucy Willow.
Landscape painter Richard Cook had a solo show at Tate St Ives in 2001. His style is impressionistic, airy and soothing, concentrating on expanses of gentle, brushed colours. Mark Surridge’s abstracts often verge on being landscapes, with their muted colours also showing the influence of the Cornish surroundings.
Ged Quinn (b.1963), Asleep by the Light of Glow-Worms,2005. © the artist. Courtesy the Wilkinson Gallery, London
Andy Currie, in direct contrast, has produced a kinetic sculpture entitled My Lucky Star is a Rubbish Scorpion, comprised of an animated black ‘creature’ within a plastic container. Luke Frost’s hard urban paintings of clinical blocks and stripes also go against how visitors may well think of scenic, painterly Cornish art.
Mistily-defined figures emerge from Naomi Frears’ canvases, while anachronistic objects and uncomfortable ideas intrude on Ged Quinn’s picturesque pastiches.
Cathy Watkins has made an unusual portrait of Barbie, which is juxtaposed with a ‘rug’ formed of fine marble dust, by Lucy Willow.
This surprising collection of Cornish art is the first of what Tate St Ives hope to be a new series celebrating the distinctive visual arts of the county.