Letters Volume 30 no 2 October / November 2015
Although I found the content of NAE of June 1st serious and weighty, it was mainly depressing in terms of the present state of our culture; based as it was on yesterday’s well worn philosophies and art practices, most of which are already much written about and known. It focused on presenting us with a rear view mirror on history, which is now questionably of little use to us, since that door was effectively closed in 2012 (ed. Mayan Teleology), that is if one is facing forward.
Three years on from the close of the time cycle known as history, we already have one foot in tomorrow, although not yet fully in past history.
Just as all the rules of art were changed from Impressionism onwards, we now stand on a similar transitional time bridge, that will lead to the new post historic situation in 2032.
Only those with imagination and vision can sense the hints on how we are to proceed; maybe by that time we will have become simplified.
John Charles Clark
A talk to discuss the question of: ‘The Future of the Arts in Cornwall’ at Redwing Gallery, Penzance.
The panel introduced themselves but failed to answer their own question! Instead the talk was opened to the floor too soon and the audience were left to try and define who or what exactly the panel were talking about.
Vaughan Warren (PAINT) asked ‘Who is Art for’? The Rich or the Poor? This was an important stance as the discussion led mainly by DG was a tirade against Nick Serota (Tate) retiring to Cornwall and cohorts of manufactured artists following him to flood the tourist art market. He accused the people of not reading criticism and that people only saw with their ears, yet Patrick Heron stated that the English ask what does Art mean, and when he (PH) says this or that they say of course, but nothing could be further from the truth!
DG should also be aware of ‘visual language’ in this Cultural Political argument. The people may not read but they see and some think and act! The global community has come from bathing in the light of stained glass to wonder at the message, to consider ‘the medium as the message’ in the cyber world of social media and the mobile tablet.
Two weeks previously VW had given a talk entitled ‘The Art Business or the ‘business; of Art’ exploring the conflict in Art between interpretations of its use by the ‘State’ and the cost to the individual. From Courbet being politically exiled from France to Greenberg and Rothko visiting St Ives to the more recent phenomena of approved and disapproved artists from the regime in China. The talk highlighted the work of Robert Hughes and his ‘Mona Lisa curse’ and the Kennedy dynasty – very appropriate! An image of the Mona Lisa in a veil was one of beauty and potency, demonstrating how art is absorbed by all the people.
So If Art is for the Rich then it did produce an interesting statement from a representative of Falmouth University who did not wish to give his name: “Falmouth and the system produce ‘Fake Professionals’” for the new production values of flooding world markets with ‘bulk werk’ rather than works of spontaneous individuality on a smaller scale
If there is an Art for the Poor then as one artist put it; it is “… instinctive and magical, akin to a primitive experience”.
To conclude; the question was never answered but it is good to talk, listen, hear, meet and see with Redwing on the rise as a free space for discussion, exhibition and debate whether the message is understood or misunderstood, either way leads to new meaning.
Vaughan Warren (PAINT: Painters Against Negative Institutionalised Thinking) from notes taken during the NAE talk.
It was a rare pleasure indeed for me to attend the gathering at Redwing Gallery on the evening 13th to introduce us to The NAE and to listen to you and Daniel speak and to buy the 2 issues available.
I briefly mentioned to you that between 2007-09 I co-edited with Lisa Stewart, and wrote some articles for Artichoke magazine. Our mission was to help marginalised and unknown artists/creatives in Cornwall to find a voice.
In 2013 I worked as a volunteer at Redwing Gallery but gradually became disillusioned with the dictates and inclusion in every exhibition of work by one of the directors, who seemed intent on their own self-promotion rather than that of ‘outsiders’. Since then I have moved on from promoting marginalised artists/creatives through the magazine and by curating exhibitions, to concentrate on my own work. To make ‘proper’ art (Cornish use of proper).
Briefly: I have been living in West Cornwall since 1987 and returned to painting in 1990 whilst working for Lyn le Grice (the doyenne of decorative stencilling) whose reputation helped me to find decorating work for among others Rose Hilton and Monica Wynter, it was whilst working for Rose in her home at Botallack that I was shown Roger Hilton’s ‘Night Letters’ and saw some of his paintings in situ, including a rare mural which I photographed before covering it in tongue & grooved panelling. Inspired I sought out his whole body of work in books catalogues and exhibitions. At that time I had little awareness of the burgeoning creative community in Cornwall and in particular the so called St.Ives School, so it was with great pleasure that I ‘discovered’ Peter Lanyon, Bryan Wynter et al.
These past 25 years I have painted in exclusion in Mousehole,exhibiting occasionally and have some work in private collections but have never received any constructive criticism at all, other than from Frank Ruhrmund who rather than reproduce the notes handed to him prior to a show as he usually does, once wrote that“*Roger Davison’s use of line to delineate a space is striking.”* brief but flattering and not very helpful really.