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BT: Bringing Innovation & Technology Together
Art Now Cornwall, 3 February - 13 May 2007

The artists

Harriet Bell

Harriet Bell, Six Black Objects 2005

Harriet Bell
Six Black Objects 2005
Wood and wax
Overall dimensions 52 x 70 x 6 cm
© the Artist
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Harriet Bell has lived and worked in Cornwall since 1996, but has carried her sensibility with her across a number of oceans and several cultures. The ability to notice things in the interstices of the day-to-day, is the hallmark of a poet-artist. That her objects and texts resonate in the memory with such poignancy is testament to the quality of her noticing.

Neil Canning

Neil Canning, Shine 2006

Neil Canning
Shine 2006
Oil on canvas
76 x 91 cm
Collection Mr and Mrs A W Wright
© the Artist
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The paintings of Neil Canning seem to be evolving somewhere in that area of tension between figurative and abstract art. Gestural abstraction in the sweeps and swathes of thick, smudged and glazed patches of colour often have an urgent, expressive quality. These strokes of colour are not only evidence of the action of the material on the canvas, but the paint appears to evoke the pictorial techniques used by artists to describe the powerful aspects of the natural world and its weather systems which we can find in the epic narrative paintings of the late nineteenth century.

Richard Cook

Richard Cook, Boat Cove 2006

Richard Cook
Boat Cove 2006
152.4 x 182.8 cm
Oil on canvas
© the Artist
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In his recent paintings Richard Cook evokes a drama of epic proportions to create a memory of nature in a chaotic and untamed state. Walking and drawing on a daily basis are central and the lifeblood of his practice. Several studies are often passed into use for the same painting. Since he began living in Cornwall in 1985, Cook has repeatedly visited the maritime landscapes of Newlyn, Penzance and Lelant and the wild heathlands of Dartmoor. The poetry in Cook’s work reveals his passion for nature in its most dangerous state – wild, mystical and filled with impending tragedy.

Jessica Cooper

Jessica Cooper, All the things I should have said but didn’t 2006

Jessica Cooper
All the things I should have said but didn’t 2006
Acrylic and pencil on canvas
97 x 92 cm
© the Artist
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Brought up in Trevowan near Morvah and now living in Pendeen, Jessica Cooper's works seem to contain within them all the spare, wind-blasted and gloriously weather-worn aspects of those ancient landscapes, down to the simplest of forms. That they do not appear to be paintings about the Cornish landscape but more an idea of still life is both surprising and mysterious.

Cooper has a strong, almost sculptural sense of design, reminiscent particularly of William Scott with whom she shares an affinity for line and categorisation, a graphic feeling for rightness of placement on the canvas surface.

Andy Currie

Andy Currie, My Lucky Star is a rubbish Scorpion 2004

Andy Currie
My Lucky Star is a rubbish Scorpion 2004
Mixed media
23 x 35 x 23 cm
© the Artist
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The makeshift and dexterous improvisation of materials we would not normally associate with art belies this artist’s skill in animating the everyday, to touch our imagination and give pleasure in his tricks for the eye. My Lucky Star is a Rubbish Scorpion 2004, is a mere strip of black plastic which dances randomly in a breeze generated by one fan recycled from a computer hard drive. This animated scrap momentarily poses in the form of said creature about once a minute, causing fascination for viewers of any age and highlights the lyrical possibilities in the most banal circumstances, if we have the wit to spot it.

Naomi Frears

Naomi Frears, Wish you were here 2006

Naomi Frears
Wish you were here 2006
Acrylic on board
25 x 51 cm
© the Artist
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In her monochromatic paintings of figures lost in thought in an internal landscape, the lightness and open-endedness conventionally associated with drawing (as opposed to painting) is evident. For Naomi Frears, the intuitive journey of making involves repeatedly ‘burying’ an emerging image under a new surface of paint if it does not have the necessary sense of ‘rightness ’ that she is looking for. Consequently, some paintings may have numerous versions beneath the surface we see.

Anthony Frost

Anthony Frost, Surface Noise (when it blows it stacks) 2006

Anthony Frost
Surface Noise (when it blows it stacks) 2006
Acrylic and collage on canvas
121.9 x 210.8 cm
© the Artist
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The collage paintings of Anthony Frost have compositional tension; texture, form and colour are held in a balanced relationship of abstract shapes. Frost speaks of the need to be in a state of mind where opportunities of fered by chance, coincidence and intuition can be taken advantage of, where a sense of ‘rightness’ may be achieved. What he is speaking of is a sense of ‘flow’, a mood induced by deep internal concentration – often aided by listening to music – whereby the intuitive processes of the brain become dominant over the rational and predictive.

Luke Frost

Luke Frost, Volts No 7 2006

Luke Frost
Volts No 7 2006
Acrylic on canvas
152.5 x 152.5 cm
On loan Somerville Gallery, Plymouth
© the Artist
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The pristine surfaces of these architectonic paintings bear the hallmarks of American post-Abstraction and conceptual practice as they nod in the direction of Barnett Newman and the Minimalist sculptor Dan Flavin; but there the affinity with both artists ends. Up to ten layers of paint – dependent upon Luke Frost’s selection of colour or tone – result in a surface that recedes into sometimes deep, sometimes shallow, recessive space. These abstract paintings imply space rather than define it through their mass and surface. The juxtaposition of contrasting colour hints at a relationship with nature. Working within the legacy of the St Ives School of Modernists, Frost is attempting to relate colour and form to create a space sensation that conveys a representational experience devoid of gesture and authorship.

Delpha Hudson

Delpha Hudson uses performance and video in her work, which focuses on the idea of re-representing ‘female’. Hudson is interested in the potential dialogue that may ensue through the interplay between performance, video, documentation and archive material. Her context-specific performances have been presented in a variety of public places including streets, shopping arcades and shop windows where there is a dialogue and interaction with an audience beyond the convention of the gallery. Her video work is often combined with performance where she explores her experience as a designated female and mother. Much of her work examines feminism, particularly in relation to women and the objects they value.

Andy Hughes

Andy Hughes, Gwithian Beach 2005

Andy Hughes
Gwithian Beach 2005
Photograph
51 x 51 cm
© the Artist
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The images in this exhibition come from Dominant Wave Theory, a recently published book of photographs made on various beaches around West Cornwall, Scotland and the USA over the last six years. An active member of Surfers Against Sewage, his photographs consider the epic and the everyday in the detritus washed up on the region’s shorelines. These are not ordinary photographs but express the latest twenty-first century developments in mass market colour photography – plastic on plastic you might say.

Sax Impey

Sax Impey, Event 9 2005

Sax Impey
Event 9 2005
Mixed media on wood
204 x 204 cm
© the Artist
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Sax Impey has described the process of making his paintings as a synthesis of mapping or charting the territory of his thoughts, never knowing exactly where he will end up. During the past six years he has been interested in lottery data, sub-nuclear physics and the decay of sub-atomic particles, aerial reconnaissance charts, medieval maps, mathematics, and interpretative strategies. His paintings have often presented an image concealed within an image, as if he preferred not to embrace an austere interpretation of mathematical data and instead, chose to frame it within an imaginative and mysterious non-place.

Matthew Lanyon

Matthew Lanyon, Highground III 2006

Matthew Lanyon
Highground III 2006
Oil on canvas
168.9 x 168.9 cm
© the Artist
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A self-taught artist, Matthew Lanyon bears the trademarks of a natural painter who continues to evolve. He has as much rigour and self-doubt as any artist who has been trained – perhaps even more than those who have formally studied how to be articulate about their work. In the last five years he has made two hundred and fifty paintings – mainly for a commercial context – and success has raised his game to make paintings of scale that may reach, eventually, beyond the commercial gallery context.

Jonty Lees

Jonty Lees, Skimming Stones 2005

Jonty Lees
Skimming Stones 2005
Video
© the Artist
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Jonty Lees, Skimming Stones 2005

Painting by Andrew Palmer
Skimming Stones 2005
Oil on Linen
41 x 59 cm
© the Artist
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Lees’ unpretentious production methods incorporate poetic moments in their realisation and gravity appears to be a recurring theme in his work. To accompany the video of Skimming Stones, the artist commissioned Andrew Palmer to make a romantic representation of a stone skimming the surface of water. The work in its final state now includes a video representation of the action of the machine shown alongside the painting of the final aspect of the action, making a neat circular reference to representation in two contexts; the cinema-verite of the film and video which always attracts our attention because it seems ‘real’ to us and the romantic artifice that is the painting.

Amanda Lorens

Amanda Lorens, Tango Privado 2007

Amanda Lorens
Tango Privado
2007
Photograph © the Artist
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Amanda Lorens works in the space between particular social situations and live art. Incorporating video and audio installation with live art, her current work uses tango to reveal the intimacy of human inter-relationships. She has exhibited nationally and internationally and has been engaged in international research in India, Australia, Italy, Albania and South America. Much of her recent work is inspired by these travels, from filming laundry being washed on the banks of the River Ganges to tango in the atmospheric dance halls of Buenos Aries.

Philip Medley

Philip Medley, Calvary 2003

Philip Medley
Calvary 2003
Steel
194 x 131 x 146 cm
© the Artist
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Philip Medley asserts that the best sculpture demands re-examination. It leads the eye; it forces you to think as well as to feel. It elicits questions and contradictions but through its malleability allows physical intimacy combined with monumentality. Its maturity gives the audience information – but not too much. The complexities within the sculptures reflect a human nature.

Richard Nott

Richard Nott, Striation (A) 2005

Richard Nott
Striation (A) 2005
Mixed media on panel
153 x 153 x 6 cm
© the Artist
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Richard Nott has a sculptural preoccupation with the material world. He draws his inspiration not from nature but from utilitarian industrial materials tha would constitute a rather dull aesthetic reality, such as building work and house renovation.

Hadrian Pigott

Hadrian Pigott, Rifiuti 2005

Hadrian Pigott
Rifiuti 2005
Video
© the Artist
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The video Rifiuti 2005, is mesmeric, kaleidoscopic, hypnotic and relaxing. We can enjoy the constant dance of these objects as if they had a life and intent of their own. The images of the bottles and footballs are vibrant and positive, but nagging questions occur too.The video describes a modern phenomena of plastic detritus cast adrift by the inhabitants of Rome into a weir with a strong backwash that traps all the objects.This phenomena was observed on the River Tiber’s journey through the city. Jars, bottles, blocks of polystyrene, footballs and bottle tops dance and jostle in a ceaseless self-cleansing turmoil, a turbulent but rich tide of colour and form.

Michael Porter

Michael Porter, Issel Road 2005

Michael Porter
Issel Road 2005
Acrylic and oil on canvas
121 x 111 cm
Purdy Hicks Gallery, London
© the Artist
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There are two ways that photographic vision enters Porter’s paintings. The first might be the way that the camera portrays everything within the frame in similar focus (a feat that the human eye cannot achieve). The second is the objective distancing that the camera always achieves and which has the effect of an alienation of the image or a removal of the ‘real’.

Ged Quinn

Ged Quinn, Asleep by the Light of Glow-worms 2005

Ged Quinn
Asleep by the Light of Glow-worms 2005
Oil on linen
183 x 220 cm
Private collection
© the Artist Courtesy Wilkinson Gallery, London
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In Asleep by the Light of Glow-worms 2005, Quinn samples a work by the German artist Caspar David Friedrich titled Sea of Ice 1823–5. The image, an imagined real event, sees the ‘wreck’ as a Romantic symbol, but a secondary symbol. This is incidental to the over-wrought and fractured landscape into which Quinn places the cinematic version of HG Wells’ novel The Time Machine. This time machine is occupied by the German artist Joseph Beuys (1921–86). Beuys was most famous for his public performances and championing a universal sense of human creativity. His face is covered in honey and gold leaf, an iron slab attached to his boot. Quinn, in his inimitable fashion plays with the codified meanings of everyday objects ‘made strange’ and the symbols of both a Romantic and post-modern European culture to bathetic effect.

Ged Quinn was Artist in Residence at Tate St Ives, 2003-4

Iain Robertson

Iain Robertson, Poet's Love Series II No I 2006

Iain Robertson
Poet's Love Series II No I 2006
Oil on canvas
90 x 90 cm
© the Artist
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Iain Robertson has been living and working in Cornwall since 1999, having spent the greater part of his life in Edinburgh. Over the past thirteen years, Robertson has been evolving his vocabulary of abstract symbols and in early 2006 made a pivotal multiple painting which set out to show something of his lexicon of individual forms. Mega-Jazzy 2006, consists of fifty paintings which are one foot square. Unlike his individual paintings which owe a debt to chance and coincidence, where the paint (and motifs) collide and overlap on a rich and heavily worked surface, these small, individual works have a distinctive and jewel-like quality.

Jesse Leroy Smith

Jesse Leroy Smith, Leopard 2006

Jesse Leroy Smith
Leopard 2006
Oil on canvas
178 x 140 cm
© the Artist
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Jesse Leroy Smith's paintings explore the subtlety of colour and touch produced by the application of thin washes of oil paint to the canvas surface, giving the fluid spontaneity of watercolour paint. Smith trained at the Royal Academy Schools, London and since moving to Cornwall has explored different forms of mark making such as pouring, burning, sanding, carving and staining. Having decided to use oil paint with a similar economy and urgency to watercolour, he has used his family – particularly his six year old son – as subject matter. His paintings develop through a process of building up and stripping down the relationship between image and surface, resulting in an enigmatic trace that has something of an historic atmosphere.

Mark Surridge

Mark Surridge, Storm Glow 2004

Mark Surridge
Storm Glow 2004
Oil on canvas
158 x 182 cm
© the Artist
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Mark Surridge’s paintings have a lyrical and ephemeral quality of light and form that immediately engages the eye. The Cornish landscape and its weather systems is one subject of interest, but this is only a starting point. Surridge studies the landscape not for its own sake as a retrogressive representational source, but sets out to look beyond it to elicit a simplification of form, resulting in the creation of a painting which lives as an object in its own right.

Clare Wardman

Clare Wardman, Prima Vista 25 August 2005 (Light Tracking) 2005

Clare Wardman
Prima Vista 25 August 2005 (Light Tracking)
2005
Oil on canvas
76 x 91 cm
© the Artist
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Clare Wardman's new work was inspired by the quality of light in St Ives where she has had a studio since 1999. Prima Vista 25 August 2005, evolved from a series of works on paper (Light Drawings 2003) which tracked the movement of daylight in her St Ives. Her motivation for the work was to discover how the movement of sunlight and the transformation of the surface it came into contact with, could be expressed in the media of drawing and painting. She is fascinated by the 100 minutes of external sunlight which passes through the skylight of her studio and in observing and recording its subtle or dramatic changes (always variable due to the weather systems which affect it).

Cathy Watkins

Cathy Watkins, Head First 2006

Cathy Watkins
Head First 2006
Charcoal and oil paint on cardboard
33 x 54 cm
© the Artist
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In order to escape the weighty artistic legacy of St Ives and the seductive landscapes of Cornwall, Catharine Watkins has been studying childrens’ toys. In particular, females from the Bratz series of sexualised dolls, masks of the Overlord, weapons of the Underworld, toys produced with a theme for Halloween and the ubiquitous Barbie. In Head First 2006 Watkins is playing on the originality and power of a cultural brand image as well as pondering the post modern status of American culture (from where Barbie originates). In choosing to paint Barbie, she has realised the medium’s unique potential to fashion a new version of reality without the need for props.

Andy Whall

Andy Whall, In An Atlantic Wave 2006

Andy Whall
In An Atlantic Wave 2006
Video
© the Artist
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Andy Whall is a founder of Art Surgery, an organisation which initiates artists’ projects, often with collaborating organisations, to be presented in locations beyond the gallery walls. His current practice is performance-based with drawing and time-based media – mainly video – used as an accompaniment. Often the performance is action-based; for example, in a recent work, he was blindfolded and whilst kneeling, licked a granite pillar for four hours. The use of the blindfold was to enhance his sense of vulnerability whilst carrying out a ritualistic sequence of actions in a Cornish landscape setting which had previously been mined. His works are often about the mind and body’s physical propensity for endurance under extreme conditions, such as running continuously or climbing (or licking).

Lucy Willow

Lucy Willow is drawn repeatedly to questions and ideas that reflect love, loss and the profound level of beauty that can be sourced from them. She is fascinated by the poetry of certain materials such as house and marble dust, both of which link with her thoughts on memory and history. This new work Celestial Dust Rug 2007 comes from a series of prayer rugs that explore ideas relating to the impermanence of everything in life.

Lisa Wright

Lisa Wright, Shadow Branches 2006

Lisa Wright
Shadow Branches 2006
Oil on canvas
152.5 x 152.5 cm
© the Artist
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Since moving to Cornwall in the mid 1990s, Lisa Wright has been exploring the depiction of children – using her family as a source – to realise a rigorous body of figurative paintings. Trained in the classic tradition at the Royal Academy Schools, she is grounded in the daily discipline of drawing and emotional engagement with her subject. Wright luxuriates in the colour, texture and fluidity of her medium. Inscribing the paintings’ surfaces and using her brush as a drawing instrument, she heightens this energetic contrast with more thickly painted and textured areas.

Partou Zia

Partou Zia, The Burning Bush 2006

Partou Zia
The Burning Bush 2006
Oil on canvas
152 x 183 cm
Private collection
© the Artist
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Partou Zia has lived and worked in Cornwall since 1993. Iranian by birth, her sensibilities have been influenced by the icons of that culture, in particular exquisitely illustrated manuscripts, historical paintings and the traditional forms used in Persian textiles. As a poet-painter who works intuitively to keep her paintings open to chance and coincidence, her subject matter has moved between interiors, the still life and – more recently – a narrative exploring love and death through lovers’ experiencing happiness, fear and tenderness in their lives.Highly skilful in the manipulation of the material qualities of paint, her subtle tones and gentle colour also echo the ancient landscapes of Cornwall and Wales.

Partou Zia was Artist in Residence at Tate St Ives, 2003-4