Thursday, 30 January 2014

A Year in My Studio, exhibition at St.Ives Arts Club

  'A year in my studio'
  A solo art exhibition at St.Ives Arts Club , Dec 28 to Jan 3rd, 11 - 4 daily, free admission.


This is the first year that I have had a studio outside my house. 
It is at White's Old Workshops, Porthmeor Rd.,St.Ives, twenty minutes walk down the hill , past the sea and Tate St.Ives.
There is a group of studios there and the public can drop in to see our work.

When I was at college at Nottingham in the sixties personal space had been abolished, although you could work where you found a temporary space, and when I did my MA in contemporary art, in 2006 at Falmouth, part-timers were given no space there to work in, so perhaps I felt a bit deprived of a personal space, a room of my own as Virginia Woolf said.

At first I began to be influenced by the seascape but I don't think I have become seduced into commercial tourist imagery. I go on as a flaneur drawing people I see , working quickly to capture their movement as they pass. I also draw at performances of music and dance, most  recently of the Moscow City Ballet.

Moscow City Ballet

15 people I saw in the harbour

New this year has been enlarging the original drawings and collaging these onto canvas to keep the spontaneity of them rather than trying to recreate it

I have liked being out in the town, feeling more part of the community of artists, going out to work. I have painted more but done less film - making.  (See Vimeo for examples)

There have been various political themes that I have used. 
Umanets imprisoned in Rothko

I started an online petition to ask for Umanet's two year sentence for scribbling on a Rothko to be altered, and 129 people signed, one of them Katya from Pussy Riot. 

Paintings about this followed, using Rothko-esque rectangles, which then cropped up as windows, relating to a visit to Sitges near Barcelona, and abstract canvasses, which were an experimental surprise.  Then I used this shape again as  grave shapes in the 104 women piece, 'in sorrow and in rage', which I have shown now as a model shrine in memory of the killing of 104 women in 2012 by their partners or ex-partners, inviting people to place a candle, in this case a symbolic one as St.Ives Arts Club is a wooden 
building in which no naked flames are allowed.

Spare room:spare house

The bedroom tax also demanded some response from me and eventually I used the contrast between Van Gogh with his spare room for Gauguin to visit, and our Tory PM, David Cameron with a spare house. It's a sensitive subject here in a seaside town where there are a lot of second homes, empty much of the year and a lot of poor people unable to buy a first home.

Above us only sky 

As a humanist I wanted to also do something about not believing in God and I used some lines from Ono/Lennon as inspiration and figures I had observed either in town or from drawing from tv when they have discussion programmes.

Exhibiting with Taking Space at Helston Museum, I found four people mentioned there from two hundred years ago and made some pictures, copies of which the museum may use in educational work. The most interesting to me is Joseph  Emidy, a freed black slave, who became leader of Truro Philharmonic and wrote music, now sadly lost.

Joseph Emidy

Also a first was getting a ceramic figure cast in resin and iron. I liked this finish better than the bronze.


I have exhibited several times in Redwing Gallery shows in Penzance, which specialise in work outside the mainstream. St. Ives is still dominated by what I call 'Penwithy ' abstraction, a lot of atmospheric texture and marks which allude very loosely to the landscape and seascape of Penwith. There aren't many artists here drawing contemporary people or referencing politics or ideas. There is quite a bit of what I find rather flaky symbolism and myth. So I stand out as different.


I want to see Cornwall as a hub for art, not a satellite of London, but I also want to exhibit outside Cornwall.

I have an idea for a sort of humanist tabernacle made in a wigwam, to celebrate creation without believing in a creator and to be a space for reflection.

I have some film clips waiting to be used.

I keep drawing and observing, influenced by feminism, socialism and psychotherapy, and encouraged when some people really respond to my work.

I painted round the corner of this small canvas partly as a joke about the way some artists continue their landscapes round the sides.

5 on the beach

Art needs to be seen or it's like a TV set waiting to be switched on.


Camilla contemplates the scope of youth work

Timothy Spall and Whoopi Goldberg at Sennen cove



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