Pushing boundaries and revisiting the Cornish Art Scene

New drawings. They are jumping between delicate pencil subtleties and bold dark charcoal drawings. Both are a response to the same journey, between Ballinskelligs Beach and Bolus Head, but are responding to different times of day, different weather conditions, the drama of dark clouds in a threatening storm-tossed sky as opposed to a gentle reverie.




On Friday I went to the launch of the Revolver book at PZAG (Penzance Art gallery). There is some interesting work in this very beautifully produced book which I am already delving into. It was the brainchild of Jesse Leroy Smith and Volke Stox, two artists who seem to be making things happen outside of the box of what is conventionally accepted as ‘Cornish art’.

There was a challenging show at Tate St Ives of work by Austrian artist, Heimo Zobernigan. Installations of eye-searingly coloured fabric, electric blue, red and a green which was literally dazzling. Gold chairs standing in for visitors were juxtaposed with works from the Tate’s collection. In a book about his work alongside the exhibition there was an image of gold chairs alone as an installation which I preferred to their intervention here. Was this an experiment in installation or curation, most of his work is untitled so not much help there, and just as I though I was getting to grips with what it was about the goal posts seemed to move? Zobernigan says of his work:‘With art I would like to raise questions and as a result produce things that put themselves in question.’ There was some great work there which I hadn’t seen before, a Frink bronze of a dead chicken lying on its side, a Picasso Cock and a wire mesh Barbara Hepworth.

At Newlyn Art gallery there were two video installations by Nick Crow and Ian Rawlinson which were spectacular. It is difficult to describe them in a way which shows their impact. The first one, Carriers’ Prayer, was 11 minutes long and started with a low lit shot of a church interior with what looked liked a forest of stakes in the middle ground. The stakes were wrapped in plastic bags so they were uneven and knobbly and not at all beautiful. It was very still then the top of one of the stakes burst into flames followed by another and then another. As they burnt, periodically globules of flame broke off and sparks of light shot upwards. It was accompanied by a sound track of hisses and small bangs as these small explosions were choreographed in this quiet space. Finally when all of the individual little fires went out there was just one left, burnt to the ground which just faded away and went out. It was very beautiful. The second Video was more spectacular in a way. It was the interior of a gallery space in which fireworks were set off. The rockets and bangers ricocheted off the walls and at times the noise was deafening but the lines and dots and streaks of light were very much drawing with light so it was powerful in a different way from the first one. I liked the first one best though.

The link below is to an image of Carriers’ Prayer on the Newlyn Art Gallery site.



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