Putting together a collection of artwork based on the loves and interests of collector Chris Ingram must have been a hard one for the curators involved in pulling together the current exhibition at the Abbot Hall.
There are so many paintings and sculptures in ‘Land, Sea, Life’ that combine both representational and abstract work which can sometimes be a difficult one to reconcile but as I wandered around the exhibition I was mesmerised by the quotes dictated on the gallery walls.
“I’m fascinated by the way sculptors draw.
Its absolutely three dimensional.”
Providing resonance and feeling to the paintings by Terry Frost, Barbara Hepworth and John Piper its interesting to view a collection actually bought by someone. Having originally been curated according to their taste and only then specially curated for individual exhibitions. Its a real insight into the passions and love of art by this millionaire media entrepreneur. There are brilliant examples of art by Graham Sutherland, Laura Knight and Edward Burra (to name a few) which sit near to the sculptural drawings of Henry Moore and bronze sculptures by Kenneth Armitage and Eduardo Paolozzi. This in itself belies an intriguing dynamic of line, form, material and space.
“I buy stuff I want to look at again and again.”
They are all connected to the Land and Sea in some way and the people encapsulated in the paintings range from miners, kids playing in the streets, shipbuilders to nudes and still life. There either seems to be lots of people in the paintings or none at all. Art that responded to the influence of the two World Wars is the exhibitions main focus. There also seems to be a strong cubist element as I view them, even in the more representational pantings and especially in the Edward Burra pieces who painted visually strong depictions of urban life and landscape. Perhaps this is an indicator of a preference from Ingram.
Exploring this notion of collecting, Ingram has been described as “one of the most active and thoughtful collectors of Modern British Art today” who originally chose art that was a little different and challenged the usual norms. So as a selection of one the country’s most significant collections of Modern British artworks, there’s definitely enough to wet your appetite… particularly if you like St Ives painters and sculptors as I do.
|Terry Frost ‘Suspended Red, Black & Ochre’ 1974|
|Barbara Hepworth ‘Sculpture with Colour & String’ 1939/1961 (centre bottom in glass case)|
|Kenneth Armitage ‘Pandarus: Variation’ 1962|
|William Scott ‘Standing Nude’ 1956|
|Edward Burra sketch (left)|