We recently travelled to the West Country, visiting artists who we currently represent and meeting new artists, visiting galleries and the iconic places in Cornwall.
The first stop was to meet with the painter Mike Bernard in his studio near Coombe Martin. Mike has a unique and highly individual technique which has been explained in detail in his book ‘Collage, Texture and Colour in Painting’, published by Batsford. You can see the book here . You can get get an insight into Mike’s working method in the images below.
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From Coombe Martin we headed for Blandine Anderson’s studio near Illfracombe. Blandine’s unique ceramic sculptures are a captivating dialogue between fine art, ceramics and sculpture. Each unique work is individually hand-built in either porcelain or stoneware clay.The subject matter for Blandine’s ceramic sculpture is drawn mainly from the fauna and flora of the British Isles – many of her works are enriched by her interest in folklore, myth and fable.Blandine has exhibited her ceramics and paintings throughout the British Isles in many solo and group exhibitions. Her work is held in collections world-wide. We were able to select work for our Christmas exhibition ‘Present Perfect’ and finalise arrangements for the ‘FAUNA’ exhibition in February 2012.
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From Illfracombe we went to Truro to visit the inspirational Lemon Street Gallery and then to the centre of St Ives to meet up with Louise Thompson at the Goalyard Studios.
Louise joined Gaolyard Studios in March 2001, having graduated the previous summer from the Studio Ceramics course at Falmouth College of Art. Louise grew up in Cornwall but has also lived in North Devon, London and Bristol and has previously worked within commercial photography and cabinet making. “I have always been fascinated by the way that he colours within the landscape can be framed within natural or man-made windows. I often capture these images using photography and painting and in my ceramic work I love to explore these abstract qualities of landscape within a 3D context. I am particularly interested in the spatial and recessive qualities that can be achieved when two or more colours are placed next to each other. This interest, combined with Louise’s great appreciation of the work of traditional potters such as E. B. Fishley and Michael Cardew has evolved into her current work, which sees windows of colour as decoration on functional forms including large bowls, jugs and lidded jars.
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Just outside of St Ives is the tiny hamlet of Hellesveor where we met up with the painter Neil Davies. Neil is a well known artist on the cornwall art scene, having been painting and exhibiting there for the last ten years. Earlier this year he had a sell out exhibition at the New Craftsman Gallery.
“These paintings are the result of my emotional reaction to the distinctive nature of the Penwith landscape, in particular the sudden shifts in the elements and the transient seasons. I have attempted to capture a sense of passing time and to interpret the essence of my observations by producing a corresponding metaphor in paint.”
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Sennen Cove is a few miles south of St ives and we went there to meet the painter John brenton, who exhibited with us this summer (2011). John has just been featured in a book on Cornish artists and we are looking forward to showing his work again. you can see his book here. John is an artist who prefers to paint from life using oils, the subject matter is the motivation of painting for most artists and the principal aim in each work is to express a personal response to a landscape. His work is directed towards meeting the challenge of painting the awe-inspiring beauty of the Cornish coastline where he was born and raised.
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Then the Tate, the beach, the Westcott Gallery, the Porthminster Gallery, blues band in the pub ….and on to John Maltby near Crediton…
Born in Lincolnshire, John Maltby studied sculpture at Leicester and at Goldsmiths’ College, London. He taught painting for two and half years before working with David Leach at Bovey Tracey (1962-64). In 1964 he started his own workshop at Stoneshill, near Credition, Devon. Maltby is a prolific maker and has exhibited in numerous galleries in Britain and Europe. His work is represented in public and private collections worldwide, including the collections of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, the Museum für Kunstegewerbe, Hamburg and the Royal Scottish Museum, Edinburgh.
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Our final visit was to Jenny Southam in Exeter and her remarkable ceramic sculptures:
‘There is a strand of work in contemporary craft (as well as in animation) in Britain that accentuates the eccentric through the use of figures: not quite satiric and not quite cartoon. The metal and found object sculptures of Mike Abbott and Ken Ellwood come to mind, as do the ceramics of Jane Muir and to some degree the symbolic work of John Maltby. Jenny Southam’s ceramic sculptures occupy this same territory. her figures poised between a gentle reflective gravity and an approachable. quirky humour. They are figures with more than a smile on their faces.’ (Simon Olding – Ceramic Review)
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