Art Exhibition Reviews Uncategorized

Christmas at Krowji Open Studios

Driving back through the darkening countryside, the hillsides and hedges are deepening shades of willow and viridian. The sky to the west is overcast in varying and subtle shades of violet which clear and allow a penetration of light onto the motorway. Yet I find myself recalling a dream of a thousand roses. A few minutes before I had been looking at the bright and bountiful pictures of Siobhan Purdy, housed in an outbuilding of the complex of buildings at Krowji, which as is well known by locals, Redruth Grammar School. The bright interior contrasts with the dilapidated exterior of this marooned classroom exposed on three sides to the cold December winds just mounting in strength as the light fell.This is room W35 and her delightful pictures including “One Thousand Roses” may be seen at

Painting by Siobhan Purdy

Throughout the early December Sunday afternoon the corridors and stairways resonated with melodies, airs, wassails and the sublime singing of Thomas Merrit’s Cornish carols by the Riverside Singers. This choir called visitors, artists and children from the studios to hear again the inspiring words:-

“He comes the broken heart to bind,
The bleeding soul to cure;
And with the treasures of His grace
To enrich the humble poor.”

The choir energetically led by their Musical Director and composer, Claire Ingleheart, who describes herself as a musical magpie, can be heard at

Riverside Singers led by
Claire Ingleheart

Part of the pleasure of a visit to an Open Studios event at the OldGrammar Schoolis a visit to the Melting Pot café where the sandwiches are stylish and the soup outstanding. The atmosphere is great, this could be out of a novel by Hermann Hesse and the proscenium arch of the gilded theatre provides a grand background to enjoy the accordion. Father Christmas and his wife in striped scarlet and emerald green make their entrance to the masque.

More of the excitement about visiting Krowji derives from the opportunity of viewing such a wide variety of work. The large and dramatic portraits by Chris Anthem repay close consideration. His colourful paintings are executed with oil graphite on dress pattern demand such attention. These are serious and intriguing and questioning works that derive their psychological depth from Anthem’s experience and concerns in Addis Ababa, and elsewhere, together with his interest, along with Jean Baudrillard, in the relationship between the” carnivalesque and cannibalistic”. This is indicated on his website at

focus-baby-one-more-time by Chris Anthem

Wandering along the main corridor, I came across a wall of illustrations by Anna Cattermole. These were delicate, attractive sketches mostly of boat construction with annotated information. Her work may be seen at where I also discovered her series, Fish Tales based on her work at Newlyn.Of the series on display she writes there,” These drawings are a visual diary documenting the building of Freja, a 42ft wooden pilot cutter, by Luke Powell of Working Sail. “In relation to her own observational drawings she quotes Rodin in support of her style of reportage;” It is the artist who is truthful, while the photograph is mendacious; for, in reality, time never stops cold.”

Fitting-the-Garboard-Plank by Anna Cattermole

By penwithlit

Freelance writer and radio presenter

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