Having just returned from the International Art Fair http://www.20-21intartfair.com/ in Kensington Gore, where I was particularly taken, indeed entranced by the Artists of Russia stand, it was great to see the quality exhibition of Nancy Pickard’s work together with that of Simon Turner at the Cornwall Contemporary here in Penzance. The Art Fair in London was great fun where I not only saw for the first time work of the German Expressionist, Käthe Kollwitz (July 8, 1867 – April 22, 1945) but also discovered the lovely paintings of Olga Oreshnikov. (http://www.artistsofrussia.com/olga-oreshnikov)
As Julian Ravest has written, “In 1990, Olga immigrated to Israel. She works in oil, tempera, watercolour, and gouache in a unique style. Her paintings are humorous, symbolic, and yet serious in content, meticulously executed and with a fresh and dreamlike quality. Her assured drawing, elaborate composition and rich use of colour are in the tradition of European painting. Her images and landscapes seem to be from a different timeless world, telling stories that are tender, dreamy, overpowering and seductive.” I was particularly taken by a work, an acrylic, called “Whispered Aside” which has a theatrical and magical quality about it. The expression on the face of the aging sailor and the slightly astonished young actress transported me to some imaginary dramatic venue in St Petersburg. The quality of execution in this painting too was quite extraordinary and delightful.
In “Garden Light”, Orishnikov has depicted an ingenue, endearingly innocent amongst a cavern of leaves, peering into the distance under her straw bonnet and surrounded by blossoming mauve flowerheads. She clasps her hands in a gesture that reinforces her distance as an observer and suggests her naivety. Tragicomedy, flora and contemplation combine in her work to embody an elegant exuberance. This is repeated in “Country Girl” where the girl cherishes a crimson sweet pea and beholds the blossom on the spindling stem.
Arriving this sunny morning at Sarah Brittain’s delightful gallery in Parade Street Penzance, my attention was drawn to Simon Turner’s bearded “Landlady” painted on found panel. Many of these pictures seem to have a Victorian or Edwardian quality, perhaps a little reminiscent of Monty Python. These reminded me a little of Adam Birtwistle’s portraits which I had recently seen displayed at King’s Place, http://whosjack.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/adam.png especially in relation to the horizontal structuring of the composition. Simon’s surreal playfulness shown in several zany mosaics are a nostalgic investigation into time, dream and reminiscence. I particularly liked “Man sending an e-mail”.
The exuberant compositions of Nancy Pickard, however, made the visit. Nancy, who has been in Cornwall for over ten years now is clearly influenced by the landscape and the sea. It is the blue luminescence of her inspiring canvases that drew my attention. It is the domestic peace of these compositions which attract the eye, which is echoed in her ceramics. Her delightful work may be viewed at http://www.nancypickard.co.uk/gallery.html