Continuing our travels around the UK, whilst most of the country saw heavy downpours, parts of Cornwall were spared sufficiently to allow my wife and I to visit St. Ives.
Tate St Ives is a clever building which makes excellent use of natural light and proximity to the sea to present art in a stunning way. The current exhibition (until 21 September) brings together over 30 canvasses by Alex Katz, one of the most important and respected living American artists. The works cover the full breadth of his career from the 1950s to date but with special emphasis on his seascapes and beach scenes – naturally given the location. To quote the Tate guide; “Katz’s paintings are defined by their flatness of colour and form, their economy of line and their cool but seductive emotional detachment.” They are visually very attractive and evocative of a certain era yet at the same time ‘timeless’.
Katz also selected some works from the Tate collection to be shown alongside his own work including two works by the great Jewish artist, Chaim Soutine.
Nearby is Barbara Hepworth’s house and sculpture garden. This museum was opened in 1976, a year after she died in a fire on the premises. It contains the largest group of Hepworth’s works, permanently on display in the house and garden and is fitting testament into the work and outlook of one of Britain’s most important 20th Century artists. The garden itself is magical, all the more so because it was a living-working environment.
You can buy a combined ticket for both Tate and Hepworth and they are well-worth a visit.