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All inspired by The Art of Cornwall on BBC4, I went over to the Tate St Ives to check out the Peter Lanyon exhib, his first retrospective in 40 years – now showing for an extended period until 23 Jan.
Lanyon’s works occupy a zone between out-and-out abstraction and realism that makes for rewarding viewing, I think. I prefer starting out with at least a hint of recognition when it comes to paintings, which is probably why the first room of the exhibition was my favourite, with wonderful representations of Porthleven (pictured above), Coverack and West Penwith. Click here for the curator of the Tate talking through the exhibition.
On the way out, I took this picture of the open-air atrium by the entrance – looked like a widescreen telly.
I also stopped off at the Barnoon Cemetery on the way back to find Alfred Wallis’s grave. It took quite a lot of finding in the fading winter light – as you might expect, it’s not an ostentatious tribute. It is simple, unpretentious but nonetheless charming – decorated with tiles by Bernard Leach.
If you missed the documentary on BBC4 the other night entitled ‘The Art of Cornwall’, fret not – you can still catch it on iPlayer here for another four days.
It is well worth watching, energetically narrating the remarkable story of how St Ives came to be one of the Britain’s most important art colonies, and generously seasoned with anecdotes and background about the lives of the main players (Ben Nicholson, Babs Hepworth, Wallis, Frost, Heron…).
Even if I did find the commentary by Dr James Fox a little over-dramatised and breathless at points, his levels of enthusiasm and depth of knowledge won me over (and helped me overlook the wearing of a suit on windswept Cornish cliffs in the opening frame and the glossy sports car ;-)). Apart from anything else, there is some truly inspiring footage of West Penwith. Take a look.
Here’s the Beeb outline:
“For a period in the 20th century, Cornwall was the home of the avant garde, eclipsing Read the rest of this entry »