Art in Focus: St Ives Abstraction


April 12, 2013– September 29, 2013, at the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven.

Curated by Yale undergraduate students, this exhibition explores the work of artists living in St Ives, Cornwall, during the twentieth century. With its striking coastal landscape, St Ives inspired and influenced the artists who visited and made it their home. These artists played a key role in defining British abstraction and landscape painting in the mid-twentieth century. Despite their remote place of residence, the artists maintained and cultivated links with international artistic networks.

Drawing on the Center’s remarkable collections of paintings and sculptures by St Ives artists, the students have investigated the concept of abstraction and its connections to landscape painting, the influence of World War II on artistic expression, and the artistic implications of living and working in a colony away from large urban centers. A total of nineteen works are on display by ten artists including Trevor Bell, Sandra Blow, Terry Frost, Barbara Hepworth, Patrick Heron, Roger Hilton, Peter Lanyon, John Minton, Ben Nicholson, and John Wells.

Art in Focus, now in its seventh year, is an academic initiative for members of the Student Guide Program of the Yale Center for British Art. Introduced to every aspect of exhibition practice, the students intensify their engagement with the Center’s collections, strengthen their research skills, and practice writing in new formats. Student curators select objects for exhibition, write text panels and object labels, and make decisions about installation under the mentorship of Center curators and staff.

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