I have seen the New Tate St Ives in all its glory. And I do really mean glory. From the moment I went through the main door I felt a completely different atmosphere in the gallery. It seemed much more open and warm, colourful and inclusive and, happily, it appears not to have dumbed down – which has often been the fate of so many re-vamped institutions. The Tate St Ives had to tunnel through one of the hardest stones on the planet, Blue Alvin, to create this new gallery space and the sense of welcome and friendliness I received certainly proves that they have got rid of the hard core!
It is a long climb up to the new galleries but one should suffer for one’s art and this climb is so very well worth it. The Modern Art and St Ives section is an utter joy. We have been waiting years for this sort of tribute and celebration of many local artists’ work and now we have something that is damn near perfect.
There is so much wonderful work here by so many fabulous painters and sculptors that it would be insidious to pick out favourites, so here goes. Kenneth Armitage’s sculpture – People in the wind; Graham Sutherland – Miner probing a drill hole; John A Park – Snow Falls on Exmoor and my own personal ‘I want to take this one home’ is Henry Moore’s tiny sculpture Helmet head and shoulders.
On the other hand, the VAST New, New Gallery space is going to be an interesting challenge. It is, at the moment, simply an available and virtually empty space and we wait with slowly misting exhalations to see what develops within and how it can be adapted to suit many different types of exhibitions in the future.
The present exhibition shivering inside this vast whiteness is All that Heaven Allows, by Rebecca Warren. I really thought we had got past the ‘is that an art work or an unfinished plinth’, and as far as emaciated figures go, Giacometti really did do it better, best and superlative.
Volume 32 no 3 Jan/Feb 2018 p 35