Visuals: Reviews

Review - Spotlight on St Ives


Wood on Wallis


Scarborough Art Gallery has been on a bit of a roll recently. The excellent Fredric, Lord Leighton exhibition was followed by the Jan Niedojadlo - the day I went being thoroughly enjoyed by kids - and now a little gem of a touring exhibition from the Hayward Gallery.

The 25 pieces of work on show range from a very fine Christopher Wood pencil on paper Boat at Concarmeau drawn in the last year of his life (1930) to a Denis Mitchell bronze Porthcressa (1967), my least favourite.

This is an exhibition which wonderfully captures the spirit of how St Ives inspired so many different artists between roughly 1930 and 1970 (the sixties being a really prolific period) - there's nothing later than 1974 here.


John Tunnard


Look at Alfred Wallis' Trawler (c1925), then turn round and take in Ben Nicholson's May 1956: both working in St Ives and so different.

There is a very striking monoprint Opus Eight, by Naum Gabo, perhaps the most internationally renowned artist of his period. I particularly liked the two Peter Lanyon works Bicyclist in Penwith (1952) and Soaring Flight (1960). He is the only artist on show who was actually born in St Ives, I think.

For me though, the highlights are the two by Alfred Wallis, Trawler (c1925) and Ship in Rough Sea. 'Discovered' by Christopher Wood and Ben Nicholson, Wallis didn't start painting properly until he was 70! For me they are masterly, raw technique, funny and moving. Matthew Gale's book on Alfred Wallis in the Tate Series St Ives Artists will show you more of his great work or better still, go to St Ives and see why it inspired so many artists and continues to do so.

Go to the Tate there, you might catch some Adrian Heaths, Victor Parmores or Bryan Pearces.

In the meantime, spend some time catching this little gem in Scarborough.

Spotlight on St Ives continues to 4 November.

Exhibition Review - roscoe/x

Work by eight artists from the Roscoe Artspace will be on show (and for sale) at the YMCA from 4 to 8 December. Roscoe Artspace is one of Scarborough's best-kept secrets.

An open studio above a car showroom is shared by artists with a variety of styles and interests, ranging from the figurative work of Donna Gaddass through collages and prints by Katie Gill, Kerry McCormick and Phil Bott, to David White's more experimental combination of 3-D structures with aboriginal graphics. Prepare to be captivated too by Eileen Heaton's mesmeric images of a young girl staring quizzically out from a variety of brilliantly imagined settings.

Review - An Unfamiliar Place

The climb up the art gallery stairs always fills you with anticipation. All those immense Victorian views of Scarborough in their heavy guilt frames, lowering down as if to say 'Where do you think you're going? It's only some modern stuff up there; stick with us lad, it's safer.'

And then suddenly you're out of the cloying, gloomy comfort zone and into rooms full of light and contrast and experiment. In David Chalmers' photographs the sea is made into a black, smoky blanket, draping itself over walls and jetties and beaches; beautifully capturing its softness and danger. Julie Gatie's wall of kisses looks like a homage to Warhol's Marilyn, but this time with a myriad of different mouths. Most surprising, just for sheer variety, is Jane Poulton's work. The insides of shells showing mother of pearl, snakes crawling across olives, three generations of women from one family, and a sampler-style souvenir of France are among the visual delights. Red, white and blue shows a spill of pins on a red cloth, and strands of blonde hair on a blue panel, separated by an extraordinary photograph of white roses on salt. This is a room to linger in and savour - even those straight-laced Victorians might have felt its powerful attraction. 

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