The Nine British Art is delighted to be re-opening the gallery with our forthcoming exhibition St Ives, Modern British, Contemporary - featuring important and hugely sought-after work from Alfred Wallis, Terry Frost, Graham Sutherland and many more.
The St Ives section of the show in particular merits close consideration. Aptly, it begins with St Ives school progenitor Alfred Wallis and his naive art masterpiece Steamer Coming Into Harbour. This energetic and emotive depiction of maritime life could perhaps only have been produced by a man of the sea. As Ben Nicholson put it, Wallis’ progressive work showed, “something that has grown out of the Cornish seas and earth and which will endure.” Wallis was a major influence on Nicholson, who owned this very painting for a time.
Terry Frost’s enveloping Standard Banbury (1965) is one of the largest and most important paintings Frost produced in the 1960s. In it, Frost combines his admiration for iconic heraldic banners found near his Oxfordshire home with the deeply evocative colours and shades of Cornwall. The result is a fascinatingly complex expression of all his abstract interests.
In the very same year, and with similar joy in the expressive and emotive possibilities of colour, Patrick Heron produced May 1965. This remarkable piece perhaps goes one step further than Frost’s into abstraction - with its large areas and shapes, this is a work untethered from specific provenance, rooted in a deep belief that colour was the single direction left for painting.
Among the Modern British works, Alfred Daniels’ General Ironworks, Earls Court (1955) is a masterful narrative oil exploring Britain’s post-war industrial culture. The painting placed second out of 1,200 entries in a competition judged by LS Lowry - indeed, Daniels was described as a “Lowry for Londoners”. Daniels told stories of people, places and work, making General Ironworks an evocative snapshot of a moment in time.
Keith Vaughan’s Figures and Boats (1954) is an exceptional example of mid-century gouache. His later work focused on the male nude in a landscape setting and moved towards abstraction, a theme which this piece - created in the midst of his most auspicious years - perfectly exemplifies.
As one might expect from an exhibition by The Nine British Art, we have also selected examples of works from all the contemporary artists we represent, including rich abstract landscapes by Jeremy Gardiner, Tim Woolcock, Jonathan S Hooper and Leigh Davis. Among the contemporary sculpture included, Robert Fogell’s and Richard Fox’s elegant, rhythmical pieces offer a sense of solace, wonder and perspective in uneasy times.
We’re very pleased, too, to introduce you to contemporary artist Peter Joyce, and his new work Salt Marsh (2020). Inspired by the French Atlantic coast, Joyce charmingly captures the fluid, changing vistas and colours of the tidal flatlands.