AN exhibition featuring the work of three leading artists from the West of Cornwall, Philip Booth, Matthew Lanyon and Tony Lattimer, will launch at the West Cork Arts Centre on Friday, June 2nd and it is the opening event in an initiative which will explore the historic links, and similarities, between Cornwall and West Cork.
Both the Newlyn and St Ives artists colonies in Cornwall are well documented: the Newlyn artists arrived in the 1880s, the St Ives artists came later.
They were attracted to the area by the quality and clarity of light and by the perceived rural idyll of life on these remote western shores. The founder of the Newlyn school was Irishman, Alexander Stanhope Forbes, and in 1901 he painted a large canvas titled “Goodbye – Off to Skibbereen” showing the fishing fleet about to cast off in Newlyn Harbour, bound for the West of Ireland.
Because of the historical importance of art in Cornwall, the Tate Gallery opened a building in St Ives in 1993 and there are numerous private galleries thriving in the town, which is busy throughout the year. Art tourism is the major industry bringing substantial investment and funding to the local economy and this can also happen in the West of Ireland and in particular, in West Cork.
In the middle of the 20th Century, West Cork experienced a similar insurgence of artists, also seeking a simple life, close to nature, in a perceived rural idyll. It’s now time for a two way flow and the West meets West programme in Uillinn will be followed by artists from West Cork visiting galleries in Cornwall with their work.