Reflective Journal Week 26, 22 Mar – 28 Mar 2020

I took an experimental step in this week’s physical practice. I destroy one of the previous work after recognising “outsider’s perspective” may have a substantial impact on Cornwall’s landscape. It is quite logical to maintain what attracted those up-country artists and visitors if the county has the interest to keep its third industry healthy. I cut the “formal one” in half, over-painted landscape onto parts of the figure, implying the key factors that influence the position of Cornwall.

Similar techniques utilised on Marazion’s Mirror were adopted as well. I intend to display the north Penwith in bird view while creating a thick surface like oil painting that audience can “feel the soil by touching its surface”. The painting was inspired by a trip to Cornwall in 2015. I was on a bus from Minack Theatre back to Penzance. There was a slope, where on the top of that tiny hill uncountable urban lights that shine along the shore can be seen. The bus drove in incredibly heavy rain, which blurred the country road to the Mousehole. The land between Penzance and me was rendered into the same colour as the sky and gradually merge into the rain. It remained me of the animation The Snowman, and its famous episode Walking in the Air. Another inspiration was from a documentary of BBC 4, the Art of Cornwall (2015), in which introduced Peter Lanyon’s perspective of viewing the nature from a detached position but still attached spiritually with the true essence of the Cornish landscape. That, sadly, led to his tragic death of plane crash.

In 2019, film Bait directed by Mark Jenkins had demonstrated the awkward position where the county of Cornwall trying to salvage its regional lifestyle in the decline of traditional industry and the impact of massive tourism. The movie was highly complimented and soon became an icon of Cornish voice, indicating the rapidly developing social dilemma in Cornwall has caused resonance. The movie powerfully pictures the county’s uncertain future as one of the least-developed regions of western Europe, trying to keep up the pace of a rapidly modernising society.
Mark Jenkin has been experimenting with landscape and similar themes for years. The Essential Cornishman (2016) has been described as an image of the connections between local fishers and the landscape, which discusses the touristic impact on this traditional industry also. (Moseley. R., 2019. Picturing Cornwall: Landscape, Region and the Moving Image. Exeter: University of Exeter Press. pp.196-198. )

Cornish Landscape artist, Kurt Jackson, has been highlighting the preciousness of the county’s natural heritage, warning there are a considerable amount of people have not pay enough awareness to it.
I was advised to compare Cornwall with other regions of the United Kingdom to get a comprehensive perspective regarding reactions against British post-colonialism in the field of art. Iwan Bala, whose name has been mentioned repeatedly, produced many essays relevant to this topic. Researches about North Ireland and Scotland have not been conducted yet.

I received replies after attempting to contact David Tovey regarding the reliability of my statement of the proposal. He pointed out I have not obtained a solid knowledge foundation yet, which I cannot agree more. I only found a new perspective to challenge the way people depict Cornish Landscape, mastering this subject undoubtedly requires years of hard-working.
He pointed out quite a lot of interesting points for me to study the art history of Cornwall more comprehensively. But it was supported by him that before Farington, Daniell and Turner Cornwall was little known to the public. Due to a variety of reasons, the depiction of Cornish life/landscape was dominated by the working manner of these travelling artists, which eventually turned west Cornwall into an art colony. Not until the highest of St Ives school, which turned that little fishing village to a centre of art as bright as London, Bristol and Glasgow (maybe even more reputable in that time), there have seldom been artists exploring the true essence of the Cornish landscape.

Ben Nicholson

Christopher Wood

Alfred Wallies

Barbara Hepworth

I also looked into Barbara Hepworth, who was substantially inspired by pre-history stone circles around Penwith peninsula; Ben Nicholson, who brought Cubism to St Ives’s art society; Christopher Wood and Alfred Wallies, whom I may boldly suggest as “the first of few indigenous artists who picture the Cornish landscape with an indigenous understanding” (Perhaps it is not completely precise when it comes to Kit, for his travel and adventures in Paris); Naum Gabo, who innovatively sublimed the shapes he observed in Penwith. Fortunately, without knowing it, I randomly ran into the constructivism exhibition in Tate St Ives at the beginning of February.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s