A YEAR AT CAPE CORNWALL: Neil Pinkett’s Show at Cornwall Contemporary Gallery, Penzance, Cornwall, UK May 2017.
It is the privilege of the artist to create a world that no-one has ever seen before. If the work is weak we are not convinced, it is arbitrary, trivial. If the artist is good, however, there is that amazed or delighted shock of recognition however far the work of art is from our usual way of seeing. This is the effect created by Neil Pinkett’s show of landscape paintings of the Cape Cornwall, St Just area.
We have 31 very free, atmospheric paintings, painted largely with the knife by a well established, traditional painter in Cornwall. There is the moody, muted colouring of “Cape Evening” with its falling sun, for example, or the umbers, ochres and blue-grey greens of “Wave After Wave”, painted from sea level so that the cliffs tower above you, their tops out of sight.
In “Haze and Sun, Cape Cornwall” with its green-gold tones, the fishing boats pulled up on the slip are almost swallowed by the haze. Again the works of Man are dwarfed by those of Nature. In “Heavy Cloud and Sun, Cape Cornwall” this sense of Nature’s power is especially obvious in the painting’s sweeping palette knife exuberance.
And in the hazy, wonderfully Turneresque light of “Botallack Sun” the world of Man might never have existed, so powerfully evolved are the forces of Nature,
Then suddenly sharper, smaller, as if to remind us that as a species we do still exist, we see the close-up detail of “Nets and Boxes”. Here, fishing gear stands out against the rocks. But mostly in these works, nature is definitely in charge.
We can see a clear line of descent here from the so-called new Golden Age of landscape and seascape painting in Cornwall in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century – Adrian Stokes, Algernon Talmage, Paul Dougherty, Julius Olsson etc – via Sir Alfred Munnings in his Lamorna days and the vigorous, outdoors-in-all-weathers work of Peter Lanyon in the 1950s and 60’s. Pinkett, like Lanyon a native Cornishman, shares the latter’s intense concern with specific places and their history, not just landscape. Less technically experimental than such prominent landscape contemporaries as Kurt Jackson, he is far more personal. His Cape Cornwall series represents a triumph of powerful personal vision.
Prices range from £995 to £3,950.
Jane Sand is an artist living in Penzance.
Volume 31 no.6 July / August 2017 p 36