Archive for category Publisher: Tate Gallery

St Ives- the art and the artists || Chris Stephens

Published in conjunction with the Tate, who very much have skin in this game, this thorough but eminently accessible volume presents an overview of the artists who have worked in St Ives.

The approach is broadly chronological, but is not so rigid that schools, groupings and movements cannot be accommodated. There is, inevitably, a lot of information and this is not something for those who would prefer a coffee table book concentrating on the works themselves, although it is comprehensively illustrated. At the same time, it is not so academic as to be of interest only to the dedicated historian of the period. This is a difficult balance to achieve, but something Chris Stephens has pulled off really rather admirably.

Although the main period of the St Ives school covered only some twenty-five years, the story continues into the 1960s and concludes with the opening of Tate St Ives in 1993. The names you’d expect to find are all here: Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson, Peter Lanyon and Patrick Heron, but so too are less well-known names as well as sources of influence from Europe and elsewhere.

This is a story worth telling and, although much has been written about the art of St Ives, none of it has quite encompassed the arc of history that is contained here.

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Patrick Heron || Andrew Wilson & Sarah Matson

This guide to the life and work of Patrick Heron – regarded by many as one of the Twentieth Century’s greatest artists – has been published to coincide with what the blurb describes as a major retrospective at Tate St Ives and the Turner Contemporary, Margate. Having seen the exhibition, I’d say it’s more of an easily-manageable introduction to the artist’s work but that it is, in many ways, all the better for it.

Patrick Heron can be a bit of a challenge for the newcomer. Look for objects and themes and you won’t necessarily find them. I was immensely aided by the show’s notes, which helpfully tell us that, for Heron, the image was the image and that shapes and edges are not just more important than representation, but the work’s raison d’être itself. Knowing that provides an instant way in and it becomes possible to appreciate Heron’s use of format and colour as well as his method of application, often involving small brushes on large canvasses. Splashing paint around, this is not.

I’ve had this book sitting on the shelf for rather longer than I intended, but I’m glad of that because it means I can now say that it’s a fantastic introduction to Patrick Heron’s work as well as his place in relation to the French and American painting that strongly influenced him.

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