Archives for posts with tag: Wilhelmina Barns-Graham

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Sunday 8th March is International Women’s Day 2015, when thousands of events occur across the world to mark the social, political and economic achievements of women. This year’s theme is ‘Make It Happen’ and is aimed at encouraging action for advancing women’s opportunities. The idea is that different organisations celebrate within their own specific context, and as such we want to mention some of Cornwall’s leading women artists, whose work is celebrated as amongst the most influential in British art.

It hardly needs saying that when you think of St Ives, you think of Barbara Hepworth, one of the world’s most important Modernists artists. Her sculpture garden is a stone’s throw from NCs door, and you can see castings of her sculptures Dual Form outside the Guildhall and Epidauros II up at the spectacular viewing area of The Malakoff. The studio of pioneering abstract painter Sandra Blow is also right here in St Ives, and West Cornwall can lay claim to being the inspiration and the home of so many more great women artists including landscape painter Margo Mackelburg, printmaker Wilhelmina Barns-Graham, colourist Margaret Mellis (who mentored the young Damien Hirst), sculptor Barbara Tribe and Newlyn School painters Dod Procter and Dame Laura Knight.

Here at NC we are proud to show the work of St Ives Modernism’s leading women artists, and represent some of Cornwall and the UKs leading contemporary women painters, sculptors and craftspeople. Art-critical discourse rages on about the contribution of women artist, the ‘feminine’ in art and the ways in which history has written out the role of women artists in favour of their male counterparts, but whatever the debates, St Ives continues to cultivate a steady stream of powerfully important women artists. So – how can New Craftsman celebrate the artistic achievements of women? Watch this space for news of our 2016 exhibition of World Class Women artists past and present.

Image: Celebration at 90, Wilhelmina Barns-Graham

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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.