Our move to Cornwall in 1986 and again in 2015 were both partially motivated by the need to be near the sea. It has provided a place of solace and inspiration in both periods of our lives.
We are not alone in our adoration of water. Most Cornish artists have captured the sea as sketch or painting at some point in their career. In fact, our current exhibitor Ella Carty decided to dedicate her whole show to the rockpools at St Ives and the Scilly isles. And our next exhibitor Jon White has documented his memories of the sea as a creative response to his recently enforced exile in lockdown.
What is our fascination with this ever-changing body of water that gives us sustenance, heals our soul and occasionally takes lives? Psychologists will take you back to the womb and an affinity with the tranquillity that comes from being immersed in the silent world of water. Health professionals will praise its benefits to improve circulation and increase your immune system function as an attraction. Artists will tell of the ever-changing form and atmosphere. It's ambiguity and anonymity despite its familiarity. It's vastness and sense of opportunity. It's reflections and shapes. A source of inspiration that can be appreciated as a mass or in the detail of its sea life, reefs, and shoreline.
As an island, the sea has influenced some of Britain's best-known artists. Great impressionist masters such as Turner and Monet were renowned for their obsession with water and made a living from it. Closer to home, Tuke, Hemy, Nicholson and Wallis were obsessed with the life and industry centred around the sea. But they weren't the only ones. Representations of the sea are one of the most developed genres within the creative arts. Cornish makers have taken inspiration from the coastline for decades to create textile prints, collage, jewellery, photography, pottery, tapestry and film making in abstract, painterly, or wholly representative forms. And we are lucky enough to welcome just a fraction of these gifted creators to the gallery...
Ella Carty's exhibition - Drawing from rocks - will be available online until the 16th September.
Jon White's exhibition - Memories of the sea - will be on show in the gallery from the 11th June to 5th July and online until the 11th December.