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Martin Holman responds to 'Gathering' at Gray's Wharf, Penryn, 28.5.21 - 13.6.21


The word ‘Gathering’ is an unlikely provocation. In normal times a gathering is a common event, often with specific intentions, a family celebration maybe or an assembly with religious or political purposes. And it is an occasion usually looked forward to with pleasure.

But that is in normal times. In the inescapable context of the global health pandemic, however, the invitation for people and objects to come together in one place and share an experience collectively is greeted with alarm, certainly with apprehension. After all, for months just about every inter-personal activity outside the family has been restricted by a non-coercive democratic state exercising the force of law. Only subversives challenge that state of affairs.


The people behind this exhibition with a title that makes the heart race might fit the description of a subversive, at least generically. They are, after all, artists, members of a community of habitual social inquisitors in any context at any time. The ten participating artists, all based in west Cornwall, responded to the invitation from two of their number, Verity Birt and Jonathan Michael Ray, to ‘explore the act of gathering and its value today after a year of travel restrictions and social isolation’. Art does not thrive in a bubble or what is known in COVID times as a 'minimised risk environment'. So, the opening of this show’s fortnight run in Penryn marked the arrival of that point on the government’s road map out of lockdown when mixing in England was cautiously relaxed. Non-commercial galleries had re-opened, and guests needed bring nothing but themselves and being prepared to interrogate. And, of course, they needed a face covering.

The organisers provided the nourishment. Not only did the show succeed in hydrating the spirit after a drought in the galleries of the south-west, 'Gathering' also wove its theme in and around the gallery through individual works laid out with care and intelligence. Relationships arose in formal associations as well as via cultural coincidences, with the area’s folkloric traditions a common allusion. Each artist made a single contribution so that the works felt in touch with the time and in touch with each other. Each piece was an offering in mind and body to the visitor who could walk away physically refreshed and mentally reanimated.

Ilker Cinarel: Honesty Box (detail)

Ilker Cinarel’s 'Honesty Box' captured the theme directly with a wooden stall of the type encountered on roadsides and at farm gates, stocked with fresh produce on sale to every passer-by. When much art reflects the cynicism rife in the commodification of increasing amounts of contemporary life, Cinarel latches on to the trust that holds society together, a quality that has been affirmed, tried and tested (but not tracked) during the era of the virus. Unlike the sober reality of farm shops, Cinarel’s stock lines ran beyond the culinary staples of cucumbers, potatoes, courgettes and local home-made jam. Those rural essentials were all there but so too were items that pointed hopefully towards future, undistanced liaisons: artist-rolled cigarettes, exotically branded condoms and a selection of bottled amyl nitrates. Where does a stall with such good-natured intention and festive demeanour deserve to be sited? Fronted by the eponymous honesty box itself, painted pink and embellished with glitter and disco balls, it should establish a new norm of pop-up retail. This was remote selling at its most affable, with discretion not entirely assured.

Matching Cinarel’s warmth and humour was Georgia Gendall who foresaw popular anticipation of the return to outdoor pastimes by proposing participation in the 'Penryn Worm Charming Championship'. ‘Worm charming’ is a recognised competitive sport – at least in east Texas, according to Wikipedia. The same source also divulges that homo sapiens is not the only species to ‘grunt’ or ‘fiddle’ the worm. Gulls do it and even wood turtles stamp their feet while doing it. But among humans the skill is at risk of dying: that creative being has developed easier and more industrial methods of coaxing earthworms destined for the fisherman’s hook out of the ground. Nonetheless, festivals in Devon and Canada attest to the survival of the ‘stob’ and ‘rooping iron’ to ‘twang’ the soil, if only in the cause of entertainment. Penryn can be added to the roll call because Gendell was promoting a gathering of her own, scheduled for a rural location a fortnight after the show’s closure. This thoughtful gesture to keep the communal spirit glowing projected the visitor’s widening horizons towards another place in the near future to banish the worst of lockdown woe into memory. The artist connected the visitor with the event through a QR code to scan: a virtual space tacked on to the real one of the gallery. The incentive? If the prospect of gathering was not enough, the glazed ceramic objects in the gallery itself, palm-sized and worm-like, were offered as trophies on their slow approach to the winning competitors.

Georgia Gendall: Penryn Worm Charming Championships  (foreground) Simon Bayliss: WS Graham Bounce Mix (background)

Both Cinarel and Gendall anticipate directly people getting together; the presence of unseen others is clearly implied by their work, their absence only temporary but almost palpably sensed. The same is felt in Simon Bayliss’s installation, which is also opened up by QR code from a wall of posters into an additional space accessed through headphones. And as with the previous two artists, whose work is wide-ranging in media and embraces the absurd and the communal, Bayliss’s mix of print and music here reflected his established practice, one which also extends into pottery and performance. All the contributions to the show can be considered typical of what the artists do or, more accurately, the idioms they engage with as part of several parallel and linked strands that make up their careers. With Bayliss, that spread of activity is the material that builds bridges between ways of making. A common feature is the word, spoken, written and sung, as substitute for, and in juxtaposition with, the image. The textural variety is conceptual and material, from bulky clay to spikey, linear soundscapes in a redrawn artfulness. His choice of mixing W S Graham, the Scottish-born poet who settled in St Ives, with modern dance music tracks effectively recasts the context in which the poet’s work is usually encountered. Bayliss also draws on a creative figure from the recent past who complements this artist’s own co-operative spirit. Graham’s output flowed between idioms, seeking to make bridges between poetry and painting, for instance.

Admired by Dylan Thomas and T.S. Eliot, Graham was a point of contact between neo-Romantic and modernist currents in mid-century British art. On one occasion Graham asked fellow diners at the Gurnard’s Head in Zennor to mimic the sound of a raging gale. Indeed, metaphors for weather often drive his narrative poetry, which gains momentum like the onset of a storm at sea, then slows the way a storm subsides. For 'W S Graham Bounce Mix', Bayliss punctuates the mixed tape of dance music tracks with the words of Graham’s poems which he speaks against a background of sound, like the ghost of Graham’s impromptu choir. One poem is titled ‘Five Visitors to Madron’, a COVID bubble ahead of its time. In ‘Two Poems on Zennor Hill’ Graham exhibited an interest in wordsmithing as rich as contemporary DJs’ explorations of fresh sounds and mixes. And location as a subject was as important to Graham as it seems to be to Bayliss, although with different outcomes. For Bayliss the spiritually unifying urban arena of the techno dancefloor is as energising as the wilderness of the Penwithian moors, heritage of stone quoits and turbulence of air, land and sea.

Music and language are about communication. Graham enjoyed being ‘assailed by our acquaintances and a friend here and there’ among St Ives artists once he moved to Cornwall in his twenties; he thrived in the company of others and, one senses, he would have enjoyed the dynamism and passion of the rave scene. For perhaps his most famous work, 'The Nightfishing' (1955), a night in a herring boat out on the North Sea, Graham made use of the ancient musical rhythms in bardic poetry. At any time, he revelled in a sea of words, in rackety phrases and concatenating combinations of adjectives. Above all he primed metaphors where the appearance of reality is turned with craftsmanship into the sweeping arc of the imagination.

As in Verity Birt’s 'Brackish Rite (votive offerings to the Penryn River)' which manifests itself in the gallery as a coracle beached on the gallery floor. Long coloured ribbons tied around the wildflower bouquet sprouting at the apex of willow rods arching over the boat’s interior, stream out over the concrete floor in imitation of ripples on water that have caught the light. Birt constructed the single-person vessel using traditional techniques so that, as with Gendall and her worming event, the work assumed an element of preservationist zeal. As an object out of place, the coracle resonated with its temporary siting in an intriguing fashion that amplified its presence from dark-coloured woven basket into a single relic snatched from its context to stand for an entire cultural system in a museum.

At first it appeared beautifully melancholic as the gift brought to the party and soon abandoned. Because mystery gathered round its presence, its components percolated into several consecutive narratives before brewing into its actual purpose, prompted by the reference in its title, to the ‘Brackish rite’ itself, another performance planned for the last day of the show at the point on the Penryn river, where fresh water meets the sea.


Verity Birt: Brackish Rite (votive offerings to the Penryn River) (detail)

Birt’s contribution fulfilled two briefs running through the show. The first spanned definitions of gathering, to which Birt applied the ritual significance. The second related to a pre-existing text available to visitors in a bespoke edition at the entrance. This risographed booklet reproduced the essay that offered a redefinition of human evolution, first published in 1986 by the American master of speculative fiction, Ursula K. Le Guin. Called ‘The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction’, this story supposes that before the human species made sticks into swords to hunt with and kill, ‘the tool that forces energy outward’, ‘we made the tool that brings energy home’. Thus, the ancient ancestors of today’s populations first of all invented the container, a constructive tool that brought beneficial items to the home or the shrine, that is, the setting for whatever is sacred. The forerunner of the modern utilitarian carrier is exalted, in Le Guin’s words, as ‘the bag of stars’.

Le Guin’s proposition had most relevance to Birt. Visitors were invited to model votive objects of their own with the materials that the artist provided. They were then asked to consign their creations to the boat’s interior as it sat in the gallery like a large basket in order for them to be incorporated into the rite performed on the river when the coracle set out on the water. But Le Guin’s text has a wider meaning: it formulates a metaphor for the act of storytelling. Not only is the pursuit of narrative integral to the critical process of interpretation of art works, it is also the product of imagination, the faculty at the core of being human. Le Guin meditates on a vision of the evolutionary sequence that places collective holding and sharing before aggressive dominance. Storytelling is a communal act of sharing. As such it sits well within this exhibition; to a lesser or greater degree, all artists figure out different realities through making, paralleling Le Guin whose constructive medium was writing.

Lucy Stein: Becoming Boscawen Un (detail)

The figures, palette and compressed space of 'Becoming Boscawen Un' negotiates several mythic storylines consecutively. The large-scale painting by Lucy Stein relates to her long-standing interest in the sacred sites of West Cornwall and their ancient origins. Stein also works with ceramics, film and performance in a manner that relates her sources to the present and to contemporary artistic and political themes. Most clearly cited in the present work is the so-called primitivism in Picasso’s images from that period of his career around 1907 when he revolutionised western painting by discarding traditions of beauty and compositional unity and importing conventions from Asian and African art, that is, from cultures then regarded as colonised and inferior. Within that language Stein presents a confrontation with assured but only half-recognised female figures who look confidently out of the picture’s space and into the gallery, namely the visitor’s domain. The congested atmosphere is almost incantatory; bodies weave in and around the interior space as if summoned by an unseen narrator. Stein draws upon Penwith’s pagan heritage of matriarchal religion in which goddesses of the moon, fertility, the setting sun were worshipped.

Boscawen-un is a Bronze Age stone circle near the town of St Buryan associated with the bard, or storytelling tradition in Cornwall, and mentioned as an arena for poetry in early medieval Welsh texts. On its arrival Christianity subsumed these legends into its own hierarchy of the virtuous, merging goddesses with its saints in a celestial order dominated by a single godhead revealed as three divine personalities, two of which are assumed male (and the third might be) below whom ranks its own Mother Goddess figure, Mary, the mother of Jesus. Not that Cornish regard for the pagan past was entirely overturned; rather, its beliefs were concretised in myths about the origins of standing stones, for instance, and folklore about the transgressive force attached to witches and the occult.

The gathering depicted by Jonathan Michael Ray is, by its title, a 'Holy Reunion'. Since the time of Rembrandt and Hals, reunions have been commemorated by group portrayals, the arrangement of which grew steadily more formalised once the medium of depiction was assumed by photography. The Victorians perfected the stiff poses of unrelaxed faces turned to the front, united in common purpose; and it went without saying in those days that the faces were most often male. The assembly in Ray’s composition, by contrast, conveys an atmosphere of doubt or urgent confusion. Do the participants know why they are gathered in that place? Or, having accepted the invitation, have they missed the point of it? Heads look this way and that, and sightlines cross. They look everywhere except upwards to the pair of feet just visible at the image’s topmost edge. The detail is easily missed but appears significant. Do those feet precipitate a landing or the owner’s ascent, or a third possibility which is the execution of a truly spectacular feat of self-levitation and hover to be followed by a return to earth?

Jonathan Michael Ray: Holy Reunion (detail)

Ray’s route to possible meanings assumes the language of ecclesiastical stained or coloured glass. Every part of the composition is anchored into place by lead seams, an historicism that arrests the frisson of alarm in the viewer of early summer 2021 who is by now drilled into the discipline of two-metre distancing. The immediate association of the image is with Biblical illustration, the holy communion of souls, of hosts in Heaven and the community of saints. But that does quite fulfill the possibilities in this case, in spite of the proliferation of halo-like headwear among the men. The stained-glass medium has acquired increasingly secular uses over the centuries and perhaps is most often seen, religious buildings aside, in homes and offices. Ray rescues old glass; he sources examples online that come from all types of place but most comes from chapels and churches. He acquires the glass as raw material, giving it new purposes by mixing fragments in need of restoration into a story of his own. The potential is obvious and the directions it can take, formally and conceptually, are numerous even within the limitations that so many superannuated saint figures create. The audience’s collective assumptions might tend towards the obvious interpretation of a faith-based narrative – and Ray, interestingly, applies the adjective ‘holy’ to the title. But even that word has gained a richness of usage that is not entirely devotional, as Batman’s Robin can attest. So Ray responds with a question to the viewer about how far assumptions can be trusted.

Narrative is not exempt from any part of this exhibition; no artwork relies entirely on non-objective attributes of line, form, colour, space and time. The wall-mounted works by Tom Sewell and Dan Howard Birt gather elements into assembled compositions in rebus fashion to unlock narratives of meaning to a visitor investing time to achieve an interpretation. Sewell’s 'Sunrise ’21 (Deep Field)' is the most cohesive. In a sense, it resembles a traveller’s record of place and experience triggered by tokens. The type of transit, however, is left sufficiently open within the work itself for an onlooker to fill gaps. (The free gallery guide offers the artist’s viewpoint although compliance is not mandatory.) This work picks up from Birt’s coracle situated next to it, since both call upon associations with folk art as the genre chosen by highly skilled people wishing to express their creative urges, for whatever reason, outside artistic conventions. The diaristic feel of Sewell’s collage of disparate finds in the landscape, from shoreline driftwood, rope, shells and stones to pewter objects and an onion, is pulled together with graphic clarity on a rectangle of meshed fencing placed over a sky-blue ground applied to the wall. The mesh is stretched between willow poles: the imitation of painting, the historic portal to illusion, might be coincidental, just as the suggestion of a page seems apt, for literary overtones exist here.

As they do in Howard Birt polyptych of painted supports – canvas, calico and wood panel: a brief history of painting. The surfaces carry emblems and lettering, from the largest which spells ‘H’m’ to a side column of legible phrases derived from writings by artists and poets to which the gallery guide provides a quick key. It mentions Graham Sutherland writing about Picasso, a line from T.S. Eliot’s stream-of-conscious early poetry, and an expression coined by the Welsh priest and poet R.M. Thomas. Finally, Giotto is the source of flaming rock on the big canvas and, conceivably, the title, 'Trial by Fire'. Actually, the work brings to mind the recurrent history of making any painting; the deliberation and doubt, the borrowings (unattributed offerings?) and pilfering from other artists that go into the creative ‘mulch’ that Howard Birt refers to in a statement. From that compost springs another picture in the author’s inimitable style, one that balances precariously between adequacy and, as epitomised by the allusion to Eliot’s arguably love-struck J. Alfred Prufrock, fear, failure and the false start, even before it goes out into the world. As Howard Birt implies, every artwork is a gathering in itself, a socially undistanced cross-referencing of influences and ideas. At its centre is hesitancy, if that is the condition suggested by the largest element in the painting, the phrase ‘H’m’, ensconced in a burnished oval where, in certain religious imagery, the name of God might appear like writing on the wall.

(On wall) Work by Tom Sewell and Dan Howard-Birt, and (on floor) Steven Claydon


Every part of Abigail Reynolds’s contribution seems to have had a life elsewhere before being brought into the conceptual space of 'The Maidens'. Put differently, the piece is a composite of objects manufactured by others with no thought of being in this artwork. Several decades ago, such a manoeuvre by the artist would have been transgressive; further back in the last century, it would have been deemed unacceptable behaviour. The world has moved on and art with it so that Reynolds’s method is as mainstream as the current heterogeneous art world can manage. That opinion does not express scepticism because every element, imported though it is, is integral to this artwork’s being. It is another form of repurposing. From first encounter the collection of geometric shapes – books, tabletop, table stand; two interconnected rectangular frames, a perforated metal grille and the neat that keeps the open pages of one book from folding shut – emits significance that requires investigation. Firstly, the assemblage feels modern, in that mid-last century way of Isokon Flats architecture and Mies’s furniture. Then that sensation carries on to the rectangular reproductions in the book pages opened to view; they are not colour photographs but elderly monochrome. The books themselves are not new but date back at least forty years. Yet the images the artist directs attention the viewer to are, in some way, what is now called ‘iconic’.


Abigail Reynolds: The Maidens (detail)


They depict gatherings of one sort or another. Reading from the left, as people tend to do, the anoraked and booted women lining a tall perimeter fence instantly mean Greenham Common to viewers of a certain age. The location defined an era of division in British history. The next image has morris men dancing for an audience which sits atop a wall fronting a pub, a thatched building with a steep gable below which its name plus ‘inn’ is legible, all symbolic details of an image England has cultivated about its stability - traditions that have leeched into a nation’s vision of itself of settled social structures, leavened by innocent good humour and untainted by dissent. Reynolds also gives exposure to the cover of the book in which this picture appears. Round the back, blocked in red capitals on the solid grey cloth of its stout binding, is one word, ‘England’, spelled out in red characters with Biblical assurance.

Next to the morris men, on the facing page, is the lighthouse at Beachy Head. It may or may not be part of this work but an accident of publishing that could not be hidden. To assess this possibility is also to realise how politicised England’s image of itself has become. The lighthouse can be interpreted as another symbol of island identity, the stoic guardian of life and shore alert to threats that come from across the sea, from ‘out there’. Moreover, that structure is as erect as a bear-skinned guardsman on duty with more than a little phallic swagger. Turning corner of the table, reveals the last of the images, on a page open from another book, a mid last-century guidebook to Cornwall. The caption identifies the stone circle as The Merry Maidens, the Bronze Age site at Boleigh.

There is seriousness about this grouping of objects and images. The general tone is a sober cream and black, with colour muted into discrete patches - the outline of cherry red in the guidebook’s binding, the block of oatmealy grey from the other hardback cover and a shard of mustard yellow supplied by a roughly shaped piece of glass. It is propped up against the first two images, bridging them; it is the kind of glass that distorts appearances. The profile of the ensemble is noticeably angular, even edgy: it sets the tone for its reception. The Maidens could almost be a maquette for a modernist memorial, raised up on a plinth for easier viewing but with its purpose undisclosed. Stringing elements together, therefore, is the core of the narrative process. The women’s peaceful and defiant action at Greenham, which was to continue for 19 years until it became a symbol of its own dedication, was routinely belittled by the right-wing press, as much for daring to disrupt the cherished image of women as homemakers and mothers as for opposing the controversial government policy to site US cruise missiles at airbases during one of the chilliest periods of the Cold War.

The Greenham women held hands to link themselves together as a human blockade preventing the weapons from being driven into the base. (As a result, they had to be airlifted at great cost.) Hands link and circles form in morris dancing, an activity that defends another symbol, the male preserve. Though that citadel is slowly crumbling, to purists, the involvement of women is sacrilege, as a report in the Guardian newspaper made plain as recently as 2019. The final paragraph of this tale is supplied by the stone circle, to which all manner of fables have been concocted about its origin, mostly by Victorians who were masters of invented history and instant moralising folklore. From that time rose the story that the stones were local girls who defied the Sabbath by dancing and were punished by being turned to stone.

The myth survives, built on a characteristic misunderstanding of the site’s Cornish name, ‘Dans Meyn’. Academics claim the words refer not to dancing but only to the place being sacred for its pagan builders. Still, the image closes a circle of meaning: the pervasive denigration of women by authority, political, cultural or social, that is dominated by men as their preserve. Is misunderstanding itself a credible theme of this work? Or the need for vigilance? The work was completed in 2012 (and the oldest piece in this show; the others date from 2020-1) and seems to be ahead of events. Brexit with that aspect of harking back to a past that never quite was, had yet to happen and the #MeToo movement was still to coalesce.

The value of this work, and the others in this show, is that they mine our current reality as raw material for imaginary world building. In Steven Claydon’s 'Playerless Games (Kamidana)', that world resembles the scene after a gathering, the remains of a swanky party involving pills at a place where the furniture has the finish of a well-maintained holiday tan. The trigger for any interpretation is the glass-topped structure under and over which the other elements are arranged. The open-sided low metal base could be the height-challenged cousin of Reynolds’s nearby construction. Rising no more than shin height, it resembles an urban coffee table with carpet neatly contained beneath; on top is a circular, broad-waisted earthenware jar containing dried flowers. The glass top also harbours blister packs of the type immediately associated with pharmaceuticals: many of the thermoformed plastic pillows have been pushed through and emptied. A dusting of pollen-fine powder, also golden, frames the table’s perimeter. Illuminating this display is the strong bulb in the overhead lamp, slung low by cables hanging from the ceiling.

Steven Claydon: Playerless Games

The scene could also be a pictogram for the word ‘aftermath’: after an event, after people (sensed as having been present) have gone, after a crime, even. The onlooker’s eyes dust the evidence for clues to the story. While sifting the evidence, the basis of this initial, cynical assessment starts to crumble. Or alternative routes open that introduce unsuspected multivalence to this concentrated, intense scenario. The assumption, fuelled by the high-roller gilding of the sitting-room apparel, is that the packs, which the gallery notes list as ‘nine carat gold plated copper’, may have dispensed psychoactive substance that transported their consumers into an alternative headspace nirvana. Was the aim of the ‘game’ in the title to satisfy needs unmet by material excess? What is cultivated in the jar that calls for hydroponic light still lit in daytime? The mind begins to inhale notions of modern equivalents of the island lotus-eaters of classical mythology, indulging in pleasure and luxury as an escape from practical concerns. The setting of this peaceful apathy, however, is more like Canary Wharf than Grays Wharf.

As with the other participants in 'Gathering', Claydon has provided a work that articulates continuing themes in his practice. The clash of artefacts and the diverse eras they come from has established itself as a theme in his sculpture. Time and origin are bent almost to the point of irrelevance, stripping an object back to its banal thingness – a fact made up of properties: shape, scale, colour, surface. These details are put on display and assessed as commodities of meaning and nothingness at the same time. The combination, however, asks many questions: about the nature of the dust, the reason for the packs, the jute of the matting and the language of the title. At which point, Claydon appears drawn to the risk of obscurity with the perceived demand his installations make for specialist knowledge. The viewer feels pulled beyond that barrier of difficulty by the natural desire to comprehend, to construct a credible picture of overall significance, to resolve the dilemma. Claydon infers the truism that full ‘understanding’ is an unattainable in artwork; even its creator is denied it. As in everyday life, the gaps in certainty are either acceptable or bridged by speculation, which is where narrative arises.

‘Kamidana’ is not a word known to many in the west but is familiar in Shinto households. As the indoor shrine, it is home to the ‘kami’, spiritual holy powers. Ancient community ancestors are among these deities, and because they co-exist with living in nature, they might embody the values and virtues that those ancestors exhibited when living ranging from good to evil. Knowledge assembled elsewhere in this show throws a line to anyone beginning to thrash about for relevance in these esoterica. The supposed presence of deities has been encountered often enough already to apply that dimension here, even if help in making good of it is less forthcoming. The gallery notes refer to the jar as ‘Momayama period’, which is the Japanese equivalent of late medieval in European terms and to ‘tufts or flames from Tregeseal stone circle’ (as well as to shredded money in resin’) among the components of this work. Tregeseal belongs to yet another time: it is another ancient site in west Cornwall, not far from St Just. Some academics claim that these circles were devoted to the dead, like a sort of monolithic, open, outdoor ‘kamidana’ or shrine. That view is disputed but consensus appears to exist that the stones were reserved for supernatural entities.

The formal cohesion of 'Playerless Games (Kamidana)' is matched by its tactically diffuse references. The route into this captivating conundrum arises solely from the artist’s choice of objects to put in one place and held in that place by light (with all its connotations) and the invitation to view the piece in whole and part. The piece exudes confidence in itself and its inscrutability, factors evident elsewhere in Gathering which contribute to the show’s admirable openness to the viewer’s imagination. Another feature of the show is the relationship between unconnected works by 10 artists known to the selectors and who share Cornwall as a common denominator. Birt and Sewell are the newest arrivals in the predominantly rural west of the county and their work is no less representative of a collective fascination with the specific topography of the region. To a fair extent, this group came together because of that shared interest. Along with its recent art history, the Cornish heritage of myths and rituals has for decades been a mixed blessing, and almost a prerequisite, for artists working locally, providing the groundwork for and handicap to their serious progression beyond a stifling parochialism to higher levels of dialogue. The artists gathered here appear to have survived its worst aspects, linking with its broader cultural and social importance in the interconnecting energy of the universe.



'Gathering' at Grays Wharf, Penryn, 28 May-13 June 2021, was organised by Jonathan Michael Ray and Verity Birt.

© Martin Holman 2021. The author is a writer based in Penzance and a regular contributor to Art Monthly and the Burlington Magazine.

See http://www.artcornwall.org/exhibitions/Grays_Wharf/Gathering.htm for more installation shots.