Not the Tate, nor the Porthminster, the Penwith Gallery has more of the air of the original St Ives artists movement who established their own styles of abstraction in workshops along Porthmeor beach under the name of the Penwith Society of Arts.
We particularly enjoyed the Peter Morrell Retrospective, his paintings and sculptures playing with so many aspects of abstract composition. Then the Associates’ Summer Exhibition in the main exhibition area, lit by mostly natural light reflected in off the slate roof tiles and the white rendering . Much to enjoy and think about here and an interestingly wide variety of objects (that I would naively call “sculptures”) as well as flat media.
And elsewhere, fascinating semi-abstract works by Wilhemina Barns-Graham and fully abstract work by Bryan Wynter, both artists who still seem under-represented in surveys of the canon of the St. Ives movement.
Inspired and visually stimulated, we walked out in to the distinctive light quality of the West Penwith sunshine to enjoy the sights and shapes of St. Ives with renewed vigour.
Further west along Porthmeor beach, the imposing facade of the Tate St. Ives gallery stares out towards the Atlantic, spookily reminiscent of an Atlantic Wall blockhouse from World War 2; the conventional explanation is that the architecture of the Tate St. Ives echoes the town gas holder that was formerly on this site. I see alternative, subversive, interpretations of the architecture along the lines of avant-garde artwork becoming adopted by the mainstream and defended with the closed mentality of the blockhouse.
Other galleries are available in St. Ives... approaching four dozen according to a recent count. How wonderful that the artistic tradition appears to continue and flourish, how unlike the French Riviera where the heyday of break-away art seems to have long since passed..
Block house on Cap Ferrat - Sentier Littoral
Four views of St. Ives, Cornwall; the tidal reach is dramatic here, revealing the sandy floor of the harbour, which is protected from the Atlantic Ocean by its sheltered position and Smeaton’s Pier.
My hike along a section of the North Cornwall Coast Path between Zennor and St. Ives
Bishopstone railway station in Sussex looks like Arnos Grove tube station in London but its main building includes a pair of military pillboxes: these are observation posts or blockhouses from which light weapons could be fired. The architects added these in 1940 but made them integral to the design. Although the site commands the beach, the arcs of fire from the pillboxes only point landwards.
Colourful, exuberant and loud: I’ve been the afternoon performance of this one of the most popular of all of this year’s Prom concerts, there are two performances of the same programme; not many programmes get a second airing. The broad audience for musical theatre queued in their droves, this a clearly a bargain for the many tourists who come to London for the musicals. and I am told that the queue for day tickets was already long at 9am. A predominantly girlie audience amongst the promenaders down at the front of the arena. And the concert performance was great fun with lots of exuberant energy. Orchestra and singers with amplification, which is required for the style of musical theatre but does reduce the subtlety of the sound.
Dawn at the péage at La Ciotat, sunlight streaming through the cork oak trees and then morning sunshine for breakfast in St. Tropez
We’ve been enjoying a variety of Rosso wines whilst touring Tuscany. This style of Italian red wine is capable of the finest, most smooth and most complex experience. Rosso is always 100% Sangiovese grape varietal. Variously cherry red or slightly tawny in the glass, Rosso wine ages relatively swiftly so the differences between a 2016 and 2013 are quite noticeable: the older wines being more rounded and less tannic with more complexity; left too long then the colour and aromas pale. Rosso wines also change rapidly, almost alarmingly, after being uncorked in the heat of a Tuscan evening; we have several times had the impression that the fantastic wine is deteriorating in front of us whilst the rural Italian kitchen struggles to supply its clientele.
Just now, May 2018, we found that Rosso 2016 is ready to drink, an “ordinary” 2015 is likely to be at its height whilst older bottles should be treated with suspicion except from a trusted cellar, in which case the bottle may be exceptionally fine, well in to the stratospheric class.