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.
Price range from £180 to £375
Pendery Weekes, Managing Editor UK
Volume 32 no 4 March/April 2018 p 36