Archives for posts with tag: Cornwall art gallery

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Landscape has always been an abiding theme in the arts, in painting most obviously, but in today’s art world previously divergent ideas and disciplines now merge with increasing confidence in the making of new works.

This month artist Adam Buick, on show as part of our spring exhibition, brings ceramics and landscape together in a ‘Cornish Series’ of spellbindingly lovely pieces which demonstrate this disconcerting mix of subject and medium. Exploring ideas around the resource heritage of Cornwall’s rich landscape, his works incorporate minerals, rocks and clay from the Cornish countryside using ‘a single pure jar form as a canvas to map my observations’. Reflecting both visual and tactile ideas of ‘place’, Buick’s work is strongly embedded in the subjective study of landscape and for this exhibition each piece draws upon the geological drama of West Cornwall and St.Ives.

In his large scale Moonjars, sheer weight combines with endless spherical surface and dark inner depth to evoke the sure and boundless breadth of the Cornish landscape. They are reassuringly strong and peaceful, like the earth beneath our feet, like a moment alone and at one with the great outdoors. By contrast, his elegant miniature works, held roundly in the palm of your hand, evoke the light solidity of a beach pebble, the playful weight of a skimming stone, in colours and textures that speak of shifting, prettily patterned sand, of grit and ore and the clean cut of industry through solid rock. Each a self-contained experience of landscape on multiple levels, as a collection they tell the story of Cornwall at its very core.

Image: Adam Buick, Cornish Series miniatures

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COLIN ORCHARD Jane's Studio_ _ for NC homepage

Of the many tools at an artist’s disposal, strength of composition must surely be the most important. Without first class composition, even the most skilfully painted canvas, or powerfully constructed sculpture will fail to reach its full potential, and interestingly, any artwork can be pared down to the bare minimum providing its composition remains flawless. (See Donald Judd and other leading minimalists for irrefutable evidence of this!)

This October our Colin Orchard exhibition, which celebrates the artist’s 80th birthday, is a masterclass in compositional punch. And that’s no surprise: Colin spent much of his career as a layout artist for The Times newspaper, and was later Art Director for Letraset International, so clarity of composition and slick, suspenseful use of space are in his creative DNA.

Colin will also tell you that he has a preference for square format works, since the purity of the square maximises compositional power. In his work, less is more – so much more – than you will see in the work of his contemporaries. Subject, which in this collection includes landscapes and scenes of women in studio interiors, is irrelevant to compositional considerations. Composition is an art form all of its own.

But what if your artwork area is not as large, your format not as flexible as the endless range of dimensions afforded by canvas? What if exquisite detail and fine craftsmanship need to be contained within the edges of a tiny box? Or in a piece small enough to pin to your lapel?

Alongside Colin’s work this month, you can see a towering talent for miniature composition in the beautiful work of jeweller and metalsmith Cornelius Jakob Van Dop. Each of Van Dop’s works is small enough to fit into the palm of your hand, yet within every piece you will see a perfect balance of space and subject. Each of his works, either by way of detail or, in the case of his single entity brooches, by omission, tells a story of wild nature, moonlit nights and our countryside’s rich abundance of small creatures.

Bee and butterfly brooches rest lightly in perfect equilibrium, and boxes detailed with wide fields full of summer flowers and buzzing insects are as focused and composed as any painting.

Colin Orchard at 80, with Cornelius Jakob Van Dop is on show from 10th to 31st October.

Images – Top: Jane’s Studio, oil on board, Colin Orchard | Bottom: Moths and Crescent Moon, Cornelius Jakob Van Dop

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Guest blog by exhibiting artist Hilary Mayo

A teenage boy with a beautiful, beaming face approached me. He had a board hung round his neck on which was a collection of earrings, none of them matching. Each was made from found objects, which he sold to scrape together a living on the streets of Vidigal, one of the many favelas (shanty towns) that clings to a steep hillside in Rio de Janeiro, where life is tough and the cycle of poverty is hard to break. The feather earring I bought is the inspiration behind several vessels in my exhibition at The New Craftsman Gallery.

I met this boy whilst volunteering at the Street Child World Cup in Rio de Janeiro ( http://www.streetchildunited.org ) a charity that uses sport and art to change the lives of street children.

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This body of work comes from the heart. I returned from Rio very affected by my experience working with street children and I put this into my making. Each vessel tells a story and reflects the landscape of the favelas. I work from photographs and memory. The hand built abstracted forms began life as domestic vessels; pots, pans, jugs; symbolic of home; many show traces of broken handles. Fine rims and cracked glazes suggest fragility, and each is hand painted with many layers of slip, glaze, oxide and stain.

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My interest in the plight of street children began in Durban, South Africa, in 2007 when visiting Umthombo, a local street child charity founded by inspirational couple, Tom Hewitt, MBE, and his wife Mandi, an ex street child with an extraordinary story who grew up on a rubbish dump in South Africa.  Tom’s current project is Surfers Not Street Children a charity that uses surfing to get children off the streets. You can read some of their stories at  http://tomhewitt.org/surfing/

See Hilary Mayo’s work at New Craftsman now and until 27th June.

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As 2014 draws to a close here at New Craftsman and the New Year is upon us, we have fired up the Hotpod and are taking stock of a year of fantastic exhibitions. It’s been pretty peaceful along Fore Street in December, and now there is a rich purple light from the sweeping Atlantic sky that makes the sand of St Ives Bay glow and the rolling sea turn a vibrant aquamarine. In lots of ways it’s our favourite time of year, when West Cornwall is as dazzlingly colourful as it is in mid-summer, and the beaches and streets are empty and all our own.

This time of year also inspires many of our best New Craftsman artists: in the paintings of NC favourite Neil Davies you can see the awesome energy of winter in Cornwall, with its ominous clouds, blinding shafts of light and wind battered heath land. Painter Emma Jeffryes’ sellout 2014 show was inspired by last winter’s powerful storms, a series of breathtaking weather events that gave a thrilling new feel to her work.

In winter we wait, and watch and enjoy the ice cold beauty of this remote peninsula. Christmas lights sway back and forth above our heads along pretty, cobbled streets and reflect in the harbour at night. Smeaton’s Pier is swallowed by pounding walls of salt water and the higher parts of town take the force of a brutal north wind. To quote Neil Davies on the pleasures of living in Cornwall, ‘there is a sense of timelessness, and of nature being, as it should be, very much in charge.’

It is a time to enjoy the calm, because before long we’ll start looking forward to the warmth and the hustle and bustle that comes with spring and the happy energy of St Ives’ many visitors.

Keeping us company over the next few weeks is a beautiful exhibition of contemporary jewellery by Guy Royle, Breon O’Casey and Paul Preston, and a unique collection of one-off works by the Leach Pottery’s talented studio team. Most fitting for the season are Jenny Ayrton’s icey blocks of contemporary glass, with their precious scenes of homely domesticity, perfect for us as we cosy on down for New Year.

Image: Jenny Ayrton, Campsite Washday (wire and metal in molten glass)

lowres Workshop Fireplace 1946 PHOTO CREDIT LEACH ARCHIVE

Think craft. Think pottery. It’s a no brainer of course, but craft has come such a long way over the last hundred years. A quick glance at finger-on-the-pulse publications like Crafts Magazine demonstrates that the contemporary incarnation of craft now stretches to knitted clocks, automata, and elaborate polyamide vessels. And our culture is all the richer for it.

But always, throughout the pages of every cutting edge magazine and on show at the world’s leading craft shows, ceramics – and pottery in particular – exudes an integrity that other crafts can only dream of.

Here in St Ives we are lucky enough to have one of the most respected and influential studio potteries in the world. Over the last hundred years the Leach Pottery has forged the shape of studio pottery production in the UK and beyond, and today their newly restored studio, museum and gallery are continuing the development of Bernard Leach’s historic legacy, to the very great benefit of 21st Century British ceramics. The Leach Pottery has also played a key role in the history of our own gallery: New Craftsman was originally established by Janet Leach, wife of Bernard Leach, here at 24 Fore Street in 1962, and today these two historically important venues maintain a close working relationship. We are incredibly proud to remain the only St Ives centre stockists of the gorgeous new Leach Tableware, which continues to draw in the pottery faithful from across the world and is the catalyst for so many wonderful conversations with visitors to New Craftsman.

We are also proud to be the main contributor to the Leach Pottery’s recent campaign to bring their historic fireplace back into use, alongside everyone who has pledged funds to relight the Leach fire and put the heart back into the old pottery workshop. The fireplace, which appears in many old photographs, was where Bernard Leach would traditionally sit with his potters, students and apprentices each morning to share ‘crib’ and discuss the finer points of pottery making. As such, it is truly a place of historic importance to the development of 20th Century studio pottery. Who knows where future discussions around that same fireplace will lead us…..

The Leach Pottery fire will finally be relit as part of a celebratory gathering on Friday 24th October, and we will be there to show our support. Watch this space for news and photos from the event.

Image: Bernard Leach (second from left) at the Leach Pottery workshop fireplace 1946, photo courtesy of the Leach Archive

M CHAMBERS works at NC for blog

Shape. Space. Rhythm. These are the key factor in some of the world’s most beautiful objects: the Sydney Opera House; the Aztec Calendar Stone; the breathtakingly beautiful Francoise vase. The power of Op artist Bridget Riley’s work lies in her skilful ordering and distortion of simple shapes. Mondrian’s passion for the dynamic rhythm and disrupted beat of American jazz was the inspiration behind much of his work. Barbara Hepworth’s distinctive sculptures are a perfect balance of positive flowing form and negative central space.

These concepts, and these artists have motivated the work of Royal College of Art graduate Matthew Chambers, whose sculptural ceramics are currently on show here at the gallery. Matthew’s works are created out of a real love of the making process. Apart from astonishing onlookers with the complexity of their construction, they have a look and feel that is entirely unique in contemporary ceramics. Simplicity and complexity, solidity and fragmentation, interior and exterior space, rhythm and the pattern of construction are all explored in Matthew’s work.

Fanform 32cmH £2200

“How on earth does he make them?” is a question we are often asked, and truthfully we’ve absolutely no idea. Do we want to know how these unique pieces come to existence? Well – would you want to disseminate the mechanics of cloud-drift? Or watch Grace Kelly set her hair and rouge her cheeks? No neither would we. In cases like this, awe is everything and ignorance is most certainly bliss. We just prefer to absorb the elegance and artistry of Matthew’s work, and if you feel like joining us come on down to NC and experience something you have never seen before.

 

Weave 33cmH £2200Revolution Blue 46cm H £3000

Matthew Chambers trained at the Bath School of Art and later the Royal College of Art. He was awarded the Ceramic Review Prize at Ceramic Art London in 2006 and is a Professional Member of Contemporary Applied Arts, London and the CPA of Great Britain. He has shown regularly at New Craftsman St Ives since 2010 and is on show now, throughout the St Ives September Festival and until 12 October.

Matt Chambers at NC for blog

Image top: A few of the works now on show at New Craftsman

Image above: Ceramic artist Matthew Chambers at New Craftsman August 2014

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This weekend we open our early summer show ‘A Celebration of the Work of Lucie Bray (1974 – 2014)’ and will be welcoming the great and the good of the St Ives arts community to see her beautiful paintings and read the words of all those who have contributed written pieces to the exhibition. We are also pretty excited to be showing new work by Japanese ceramicist Akiko Hirai, who has been so well received at each of her previous exhibition here.

Champagne and conversation will flow as we celebrate both Lucie’s unique talent and the warmly inclusive art community of St Ives, which nurtured and recognised the importance of her work. Among the many things that makes this town so special are its sense of history, its vibrant art scene and the wonderfully diverse group of artists, and art advocates, which populate it. It’s a thrill to be part of St Ives, and never more so than on those Private View nights when everyone turns out to see the latest show.

‘A Celebration of the Work of Lucie Bray (1974 – 2014) with an exhibition of work by Akiko Hirai’ will be on show until 28th June.

You can also read more about Lucie in the feature article An Artist Of Merit in the June edition of Cornwall Life magazine.

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Image: Untitled work by Lucie Bray

For more information go to http://www.newcraftsmanstives.com

L STYLES Edgy LR for WDpress

Now that the onset of spring is beginning to splash St Ives with colour we are keeping in time with the seasons with a dazzling show of work by one of Cornwall’s best loved and most recognisable ceramic artists. ‘Down by the Sea’ is a new collection of work by Linda Styles, whose practice relates to the exploration of the instinctive and expressive and our endless immersion in the colourful chaos of real life.

West Cornwall has a long and prestigious history in the field of both ceramics and abstract painting, but rarely do you see the two combined; Styles’ gorgeous, quirkily constructed pots and ceramic objects act as canvas for a delightful display of uplifting, energised colour, dramatic mark-making and irreverent imagery.

Several of us here at NC own a Linda Styles pot and have come to regard them as a sort of ‘must have’ contemporary Cornish art collector’s piece. To own one is to give yourself up to Cornwall’s extravagant, visually thrilling side, with all its glittering sunlight, hot white sand, striped awnings and chaotic summer beach life. In the depths of winter these works mark time until the wind changes and warm air pours over us from the south, and in the summer they urge us to ditch the laptop and rush down to the beach in our brightest sun dress to buy ice cream from a palette of mint green, raspberry red and golden vanilla.

In short, Styles work is life affirming stuff. Her joyful ceramics exude a genuine character and warmth that proves, in support of Alain de Botton’s convincing 2013 essay, that Art Can Be (really really) Good For You! Linda has been especially generous with her happy vibe in this show, by creating a collection of uniquely oversize pieces which are currently filling our gallery window with a riot of colour.

‘Down by The Sea’ includes new pots and ceramic wall pieces, and will be on show throughout March.

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We wish to open our 2014 blog with a tribute to outstanding St Ives painter Lucie Bray who, on 2nd January this year, tragically lost her life to the sea she loved to paint.

We had the very great pleasure of hosting Lucie’s first ever solo exhibition at The New Craftsman in 2008, and have held annual, highly acclaimed exhibitions of her work ever since.

Born and raised in our beautiful county, Lucie studied at the Falmouth School of Art and then Wimbledon School of Art, and became one of only a few dedicated, contemporary plein air painters in Cornwall. Her work tent was a regular feature on Porthmeor beach, where she captured the sweeping energy of sea and sky in vibrant, oil on board works.

Lucie’s talent brought her very great success, and in December 2012 she was given a studio at the prestigious Porthmeor Studios, where leading British artists Patrick Heron, Ben Nicholson, Wilhelmina Barns-Graham and Sir Terry Frost all worked before her. Because of this, we take comfort from the fact that her loss, at the age of only 39, cannot now remove her name from the roll call of influential St Ives artists.

We shall miss Lucie’s visits to The New Craftsman, and the thrill of her bringing new works to unwrap, consign and hang. We are proud to have worked with an artist who so greatly enriched the contemporary art scene of St Ives. Lucie was a lovely young woman. Her death is a very great loss to us and to St Ives, and her paintings a very great gift to the history of art in Cornwall.

Headland St Ives by Lucie Bray

Images / Top: Lucie at work in her Bivouac on Porthmeor Beach. Bottom: Headland St Ives, oil on board.