St Ives Society of Artists Exhibition & Salthouse Gallery, St Ives, Cornwall

St Ives Sunny, Stephen Newton July 2005. An image of St Ives in the style of the St Ives Society of ArtistsApart from being a stunningly beautiful part of the world with great beaches, good pubs and restaurants et cetera, St Ives is famous for art. It’s a phenomenon the St Ives Society of Artists traces back to 1811 and Turner, but which really took off in 1928. It was then that proper theory and unique practice began and a significant body of artists arrived. While they had more than one schism St Ives can be said to lose its artistic significance with the death of Barbara Hepworth in 1975.

That’s not to say you won’t find lots of artists in St Ives, but as the St Ives Society of Artists shows, there’s nothing of interest being created at the moment. (Tate St Ives is, of course, another story to be covered later.) The town is full of people following a very simple formula to produce idealised landscapes and seascapes. I’ve produced an abstract image in the style here. It’s called ‘St Ives: Sunny’. To qualify as a St Ives artist, simply paint the top third of your canvass sky-blue, the bottom third sea-blue and the middle sand. My colours have been sampled from an actual photograph of St Ives and so are most authentic. As you can image I was forced to write ‘mediocre’ in the exhibition visitors’ book.

With time to spare, we turned our attention to the most bizarre Salthouse Gallery, which is strategically located next door to the Society. The art was no better, but they had a CD of the artist’s poetry playing with the man himself wondering about and obviously keen that we should recognise him from the photo on said CD. ‘The ornamental truncheon hung from grandma’s bed,’ he intoned. There was some more dodgy phallic symbolism and each verse ended, ‘And I’m alone now.’ Avoid.
Uploaded: 22 July 2005

6 thoughts on “St Ives Society of Artists Exhibition & Salthouse Gallery, St Ives, Cornwall

  1. loving the ‘usual stuff’ compartment on your page!
    great caption! if i ever create my own website i will be sure to steal this magnificant and superb slogan! congrats to ever who thought of it! i am most jelous! bravo!
    yours forever, cornwall companion!

  2. My husband has run the Salthouse Gallery St.Ives for almost thirty years during which time he has launched the careers of many artists and run the St.Ives literature festival with appearances by poets and writers such as Alisdair Gray, U.A.Fanthorpe and Simon Armitage. Eccentric he may be, sometimes even bizarre, but Bob Devereux’s belief in art and in literature has inspired thousands of visitors to his gallery over the years. If you are as mean spirited and ignorant as Stephen Newton by all means avoid the Salthouse.

  3. just back from a fabulous visit to bob and the lovely Salthouse….along with a beautiful painting taken all the way back to Scotland.My girlfriend lived above the Salthouse and Bob remembered Caroline from 20yrs back!
    We had a glorious poetry reading and came away with the most amazing feeling of well being…We will be back in summer to sample the Salthouse
    aura…..unique….thanks Bob
    Iain Mackintosh and Caroline Tulloch

  4. Caroline and Iain here again!!
    Just back from another lovely visit
    to Bob and the glorious Salthouse…with another of Bobs paintings back home in Scotland…
    Lovely to see you Bob and maybe see you before the years finished
    Caroline Tulloch
    Iain Mackintosh

  5. Your formula has a basic mistake -the sky is at the top -then should be the sea -and then the sand -have you never been to a beach?

  6. Not my experience. Yes there’s a lot of picture-postcards and junk art in St Ives, the town where I have worked this last ten years, but Salthouse Gallery is a central encouragement for poetry. True that the paintings and poetry and happenings etc there might be of uneven quality; so? but the proposition that there has to be ‘proper theory’ before there can be [worthwhile] practice hardly leaves me with confidence in this blogger’s judgement!

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