Tag: Tate St Ives

The end of summer

As the summer draws towards a close so does the astounding Groundworks Art programme and the end of my time as a volunteer.

It was a sad moment for me as I have revelled in the opportunity to engage with this outstanding art programme of installation art. The gift of spending time immersed in the same space as such great pieces of art has been priceless. From Christina Mackie’s intriguing contemporary sculptural installation at Godolphin House, Helston. To the inspiring immersive films of Steve McQueen, Francis Alÿs & Laureana Toledo, and the highly emotive Forty-Part Motet by Janet Cardiff. I have loved them all.

 As an avid filmgoer and aspiring scriptwriter, I have been captured by the power of filmmaking as an artwork, enough to be inspired to dabble in the genre. But the biggest surprise to me was my response to the Janet Cardiff sound installation in the revitalised Richmond Chapel, Penzance. Not a religious person and definitely not a fan of 16th-century choral music, I found myself never tiring of the Thomas Tallis piece she had so cleverly manipulated. It wasn’t just me either. Time and time again local residents returned for their ‘daily fix’. Whilst visitors from further afield cajoled their nearest and dearest into experiencing the piece first hand. I did the same to mine too, and they loved it too.

Volunteering is such an uplifting way of lending your support to something you believe in. And the Groundwork Art programme message of ‘Art for All’ was definitely worth spreading. The opportunities the programme has presented for the general public to experience work of internationally recognised artists, curators and producers have been enthusiastically grabbed with both hands by everyone I met during my onsite sessions. And I sincerely hope there will be many more similar well-curated programmes, in such inspiring locations, to come in the future.

So I would like to say a huge THANK YOU to all of the funding bodies who helped make this art programme possible and an even bigger THANK YOU to all the organisers, staff and fellow volunteers who gave up so much of their personal time and without whom this programme would not have succeeded and touched so many people’s lives.

 

Virginia Woolf – To the LIghthouse

Divine, is the only way to describe my total absorption into the world of Virginia Woolf recently.

Not only was I privileged to explore the recently opened Virginia Woolf inspired exhibition at the Tate St Ives on a personalised tour with director Anne Barlow. But I also spent a whole day at Porthmeor Studios with two renowned Virginia Woolf experts.

The intriguing new Woolf exhibition, housed in the new extension is inspired by her writing. It offers a narrative with a feminist perspective on landscape, domesticity and identity through modern and contemporary artwork. The exhibition includes some outstanding work by  Laura KnightGwen JohnVanessa BellWinifred NicholsonSandra BlowBarbara HepworthClaude Cahun and Dora Carrington.

Inspired by the premise of the exhibition I then joined a small group of twenty on a windy but bright study day, in St Ives. Sarah Phillips and Claire Nicholson, our Masters on Woolf for the day, bestowed on us a deeper insight into the Virginia life. Focussing particularly on her St Ives inspired novel To the Lighthouse, one of my particular favourites, the study day further opened my eyes to the influence of her childhood in Cornwall on her writing.  Symbolically the rare glorious sunshine illuminated the stunning seascape beyond the studio window’s, making it easy to understand how Woolf had been so taken with the landscape that surrounded her during her early years.

Claire Nicholson, is a specialist in Modernism, the history of women’s writing and Virginia Woolf who frequently lectures in Cambridge.  Sarah Phillips, who has made a career of studying the Bloomsbury art and literature has more recently focused her attention on Woolf as a Cubist Writer. Both knowledgeable speakers on all things Woolf, they are naturally also Executive members of the Virginia Woolf Society.

Unfortunately, I shall miss the Virginia Woolf: Art and Ideas conference, scheduled at the Tate St Ives on the weekend of the 2-4 March. Delivered by a huge collection of highly respected speakers and focusing on Landscape & Place, Performing Identity, Still Life, the Home & The Private Self, the conference will no doubt offer further in-depth insight into Woolf’s personal life and writing.