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Natalia Hamon ‘Bridges’ at Daisy Laing in Penzance

Looking to Pass
Photography by Simon Cook

This exhibition was in sharp contrast to many such exhibitions held in Metropolitan galleries, where an artificial atmosphere and air of pseudo-sophistication of aesthetic interest and social prestige, often prevails.

This small exhibition, in Penzance in southwest Cornwall, of ten paintings of bridges on paper in an upstairs gallery, was vital and alive. The gallery had a warm feeling; the lighting was soft and delicate, like the paintings. No one had carefully considered their outfit for the show because this was Penzance, where people can meet senza fronzoli (without frills). People came to see the paintings, not to exhibit themselves. Natalia Hamon herself is from Newlyn, an important name in Cornwall and international art history

She paints connections or the loss of them, bridges that also go nowhere, while others that do. She creates an imaginary narrative in which the protagonist crosses various conjured bridges. Some of her bridges are dilapidated and provide a fragile crossing; others are web-like; requiring dexterity of eye to overcome the puzzle of crossing. Her bridges are a symbolic mid-point, a structure designed to create and to answer some of life’s questions. How do we link a past to a future? A piece of land to another piece of land? One community to another? Her message is straightforward, a bridge is a vital transitional place in all journeys.

This thought-provoking exhibition also exposed the need we have for more bridges in every sense, with some bridges having more stability than others that can last centuries like the Roman bridges, or even the Iron Bridge over the Severn River, now nearly 250 years old. Artists act as bridges who can help overcome the differences that divide us; thanks to their uncanny vision. They are engineers of colour.
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Pendery Weekes, Managing Editor UK

Volume 32 no 4 March/April 2018 p 36

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Cammie Stover

This might be Hamon’s message: “….our job is to tear down walls and build bridges.” (Richard Rohr) Her painting could be showing the connections or broken connections that we have in life and in the world. I noticed this also regarding the exhibition the artist, Donna Festa who advertises in the magazine – her exhibition is entitled “Broken” and made me think of the bridges Hamon paints. She made an eerie statement, found in her website, “Smile. You have to.. You wish you didn’t have to hide behind it. You are emotionally exhausted. This life has broken you.” Perhaps we… Read more »

Pamela Copland

Your magazine focuses a lot on artists from Cornwall, making me wonder why Cornwall is so interesting to the New Art Examiner. Is there something particular there? Why Cornwall?

Pendery Weekes

Hi Pamela, Yes, there is something particular in southwest Cornwall. Due to the exceptional beauty of the area it has long been a magnet for artists, writers, philosophers and all kinds of crazy individuals with a different outlook on life than is found elsewhere. Cornwall truly has a magical atmosphere with its spectacular coasts and countryside; the ever-changing and unpredictable weather is a big influence on everyday life due to devastating storms on the coast, days of torrential rain and others of mizzle (mist and drizzle), and even some spectacular sunny days. There is also a high level of acceptance… Read more »

Nanako Murakami

Hasn’t anyone been to Naoshima, the beautiful island in the Seto Inland Sea? It has modern art museums, architecture and sculptures, which make it an amazing place to visit with a Mediterranean atmosphere. There’s also the Setouchi Triennale Art Festival. Why doesn’t the New Art Examiner write something about the artists in Naoshima?

Star Oakley

Written by Daniel Nanavati 2 years ago in the New Art Examiner, Volume 30 number 4 March / April 2016 p 4 is a spectacular piece on this very topic. It is very apropos to the ongoing conversation on why Cornwall is so important to the art world. “It is one of the facts of Cornwall that it is home to the largest number of self-employed artists and craftsmen / women in the United Kingdom. Drawn to Cornwall for the magic of the landscape, inspiration, healing, and its own history. Manifested amongst the villages and towns scattered on the landscape.… Read more »

Carli Mutai

After reading this review and the recent articles on the new 12 mile Kerch Bridge built between Russia and Crimea, I started to think how some bridges are more stable than others. Some bridges are quite politically connected and represent risk or opportunities for relationships, for connections. No bridge is insignificant because it is always a link between one or more pieces of land, people, ideas, or things.

Park Jin

Reading this article made me wonder how the artist came to painting bridges, why another paints only the sea, nudes, the elderly, scenes from the kitchen or cuts on canvases? What leads them to follow or identify with a particular topic or issue almost to the point of obsession? I am not an artist, so I don’t know, but this repetition of painting the same thing over and over again in different ways makes me ask how their brains are wired so that they can do this.

natalia hamon

hi park jin,
interesting question raised. I can only speak for me . how ever I think perhaps its the same as anyone with a deep interest , there is a thirst for exploring and acquiring knowledge of perhaps a narrow field , hence a person becomes a bit of an expert. i suppose we artists are doing the same but visually

Steve Bradshaw

Hi Park,
It would be interesting if somebody who writes for the New Art Examiner wrote an article on the brain or thought and image processing of the artist in general, though you can never generalize with artists; they get offended because they are unique, just as their minds are. How they express themselves with their palettes or their chisels or other means without the use of words is what never ceases to amaze me.

Crystal Reed

Hi Takahiro,
No pyjamas at openings, but just easy-going – the way life should be.

Takahiro Akiyama

What goes on in Penzance? Do people go to openings in their pyjamas?

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