Anima Mundi now has an attendant near the door who turns out to be one of the exhibitors, greets me, offers the information sheets and price list and is willing to discuss the work.
The information is extensive and in rather small grey print. The blurb strikes me as contending for pseuds’ corner. At the bottom of page one a line has been accidentally omitted. Please proof read and print larger and blacker.
The big name is Trevor Bell, with the biggest price at £24,000 for ‘Gust’, a title which helpfully guides me into understanding the gestural marks as relating to the wind, maybe a response to an experience or maybe the experience of using the paint reminding the artist of the weather.
My favourite work is ‘Dreaming of another world’ by Rebecca Harper. It shows a group of young men emerging from a tube train. It’s a large painting done in a lively way. Here the title again adds something.
Without it would there be any reference to possible migration to a new city or country? The beautiful coastal scene painted on the side of the train could make us in Cornwall think of the way people leave their lovely surroundings here to seek fame and fortune via the smoky- smelling underground beneath the crowded capital.
Carlos Zapata lives in Cornwall ‘currently’. His ‘Son, you still alive’ is a small scale wooden carving.
The child has a gun. The mother and son meet. The artist is Colombian. The meaning comes over, the concern, the dangers in the world. The style is low key, the carving skillful and spare.
There is a lot more to see, including photography from ‘troubled and turbulent places’ by Abbie Taylor Smith, and a fanciful video of Angel images by Roger Thorp, inventively presented in an old gesso frame. There is a sound piece by Jamie Mills, an ominous high droning on the top floor.
At the Crypt Marie Keeling is invigilating a show which is presented cheerfully with music playing and prices often under £100. These are artists who live in St.Ives, not about to jet off round the world you might think but in fact Zoe Eaton is in Gujerat on an artist’s residency.
Bobby Whatnot shows his obsessional dotted compositions which evolve in various directions from a limited scope.
I like Marie Keeling’s extraordinary use of wires with coloured discs emerging from some pictures. A sort of irrepressible energy and whimsical notions (of a flight down to Rio perhaps) There isn’t oodles of information or persuasion of the important ‘emerging’ fame of the artists.
Anima Mundi aspires to, and is, the more cutting edge galleries in St.Ives, with artists mysteriously selected by Joseph Clarke to secure a place as commanding respect in the crazy art world. Capitalism insists on a hierarchy controlled to maximise profit at the top. There is first division football versus friends kicking a ball on the rec: there’s busking in the street versus celebrity names at the most\expensive venues.
The Crypt show is without kudos yet presents three inventive artists who all live here not just ‘currently’, although of course they could also move. Their unusual works are also within the budget of many of their visitors.
Interestingly the gallery names indicate a division – The Crypt referring simply to where it is, the basement of a church long changed in use to house art, whilst Anima Mundi, which used to be The New Millennium, shows a desire to encompass in both its namings, a contemporary global range.
To the cognoscenti, The Crypt, a five minute walk from Anima Mundi, recalls the early shows by St. Ives modernists who are now famous names and the reason we have a Tate in St. Ives. So it’s worth considering the Do it yourself collective shows there alongside the select list at Anima Mundi.
Whites Old Studios, Porthmeor Road, St Ives, Cornwall
Dec 2018 – St.Ives, Cornwall
Volume 33 no 4 March / April 2019