Unbounded: Contemporary Art Practices in Cornwall
Unbounded is an exhibition of contemporary art exploring some of the many layers of Cornwall’s social and environmental landscapes. It showcases work by 15 artists, each working in or deeply connected to Cornwall. We are also running a special event at St Ives' Porthmeor Studios on 24 January.
Signs of human activity and industry are becoming evident in even the most natural environments. The Eden Project, itself the transformation of a barren landscape into a haven for plant life and community, provides the perfect setting for an exhibition of works exploring our connection to Cornish landscapes; our human relationship with and impact on it.
The artists in Unbounded each take different approaches to uncovering and investigating aspects of this rich and diverse county, with some inevitably drawn to the least accessible locations. These range from the unreal landscape of a neighbouring disused clay pit, the setting for a journey by a solitary figure encased in a plastic bubble in Laura Hopes’ Lacuna, to a game of chess played precariously perched on the cliffs for James Hankey’s In search of the ‘Immortal Game’.
Many of the artists collaborate with experts from other fields including scientists, geologists, social geographers, historians, folklorists and musicians to expand their understanding and in some cases to create their works. It is an approach championed by recent artist-led project Goonhilly Village Green; a gathering of people and knowledge connected to a site with extraordinary layers of history and scientific interest. Conversations about that project provided one of the starting points for Unbounded and some of the artworks commissioned for it will be on show. These include Beth Emily Richards’ Welcome (Sent Forever) - a choral performance, of a piece drawn together, with the help of local singers, from texts about Helston Flora Day and the words of personal messages sent into space by satellites at Goonhilly Earth Station.
Residencies have played an important role in connecting some of the artists to different fields of knowledge and place. Ben Sanderson’s paintings have been influenced by a year spent observing the change of seasons in the sub-tropical gardens of Trebah on the Helford River. Dr Bram Thomas Arnold’s Transect for Trelowarren draws together ideas about re/wilding, land ownership and the non-human explored with researchers at Exeter University’s Environment and Sustainability Institute in Penryn. The historic Porthmeor Studios in St Ives also provided two of the artists in the exhibition with formative opportunities to explore different aspects of Cornish heritage, with the history of Cresta (or Crysede) Silk providing the subject matter for Katie Schwab’s Quilts, and Cornish stone in the forms of menhirs, quoits, way markers and memorials, taking centre stage in works by Jonathan Michael Ray.
Unbounded reflects on the landscape of Cornwall from social, agricultural, post-industrial and geological perspectives, prompting questions on subjects from land-ownership and mineral rights to our individual relationships and responsibilities to nature.
Special event at Porthmeor Studios, 24 Jan
Traces of Unbounded, a short talk and performance lecture
Join us at St Ives' Porthmeor Studios on 24 January 2020 (12–1.30pm) for Traces of Unbounded, a short talk and performance lecture by two artists featured in Eden’s Unbounded exhibition.
The event is free and there is no need to book.
Unbounded features 15 artists whose work explores some of the many layers of Cornwall’s social and environmental landscapes. Ahead of the final weekend of the exhibition, Cat Bagg of Field Notes CIC who co-curated the show with Misha Curson and Céline Holman of Eden Project will introduce two of these artists, Rosanna Martin and Laura Hopes.
Rosanna Martin will talk about her interest in and explorations of the post-industrial landscapes of clay country, and the new works she made for Unbounded following a period as artist-in-residence at Eden.
Laura Hopes will present Marginalia, a performance lecture which explores both the physical edgelands of Quickie’s farm and the more metaphysical ones of Virgil’s poem Georgics. Although written nearly two millennia ago Georgics prefigures contemporary ideas about biodiversity, crop rotation, and the dangers of monocultures, globalisation, colonisation and nationalism.
Laura Hopes is an artist and researcher, based in Plymouth. She works with digital sound and film. Laura’s work uses stories and playful interventions to illuminate terrifying themes and radical and provocative re-interpretations of place. Her work has been exhibited at KARST, Peninsula Arts Gallery and SpaceX.
Rosanna Martin is an artist whose practice explores our relationship to landscape, materials and geology through sculpture and participatory events. In 2016 she opened Brickworks, an open-access ceramic workshop in Penryn. Recent work includes Brickfield, an experimental brickworks set in Cornwall’s clay country for Whitegold, St. Austell’s ceramic festival.
Cat Bagg runs Field Notes CIC with her curatorial partner Rosie Allen, together they explore the relationship between art, artists and communities, creating access for artists and audiences to ideas they wouldn’t often encounter. Field Notes is an itinerant contemporary art projects organisation based in Cornwall that develops and produces live events, exhibitions and commissions in unusual locations across the South West.
This event is presented in partnership with the Eden Project, with the support of public funding by Arts Council England.
Dr Gemma Anderson
Dr Gemma Anderson is an artist and researcher, currently co-investigator on the art/science/philosophy AHRC funded project ‘Representing Biology as Process’ (2017-2020) at the University of Exeter and associate Lecturer in Drawing at Falmouth University. Her book Drawing as a Way of Knowing in Art and Science (Intellect Press) launched in October 2017.
Dr Bram Thomas Arnold
Dr Bram Thomas Arnold is an artist who started with walking and kept going, into performance; installation; drawing; academia; broadcasting and writing. He is currently Creative Fellow at Exeter University and Associate Lecturer in Fine Art at Falmouth.
Phyllida Bluemel is an artist, writer, illustrator and lecturer working from Falmouth, Cornwall. She is interested in the philosophy of language, logic and structures of thought - especially as related to nature. She is a recipient of the Print Futures Award and has undertaken residencies at the Womens’ Studio Workshop and Residency 108, New York.
Georgia Gendall is an artist whose multidisciplinary practice examines our empirical relationship with the immediate environment often creating poetic and futile solutions to hypothetical problems. Georgia lives and works in Penryn, Cornwall, her recent shows include: In Other Words, Darling, Auction House, Redruth (2019), and also also also, Whitstable Biennale (2018).
James Hankey is an artist whose practice develops through photographic, performative and often absurdist processes of production that reflect on and conflate local histories and wider ecologies. He has recently exhibited at Goonhilly Village Green, Hardwick Gallery and Newlyn Art Gallery.
Laura Hopes is an artist and researcher working with digital sound and film. Interested in the use of stories to activate place, she generates playful interventions to illuminate terrifying themes and radical and provocative re-interpretations of place. Her work has been exhibited at KARST, Peninsula Arts Gallery and SpaceX.
Alastair Mackie is an artist who lives and works in North Cornwall. He explores the limits between nature and culture using sculptural interventions. He has shown extensively in the UK and internationally, including exhibitions at the Saatchi Gallery London, the Venice Biennale and the Reykjavik Art Museum.
Rosanna Martin is an artist living and working in Cornwall. Her practice explores our relationship to landscape, materials and geology; through sculpture and participatory events. In 2016 she opened Brickworks, an open access ceramic workshop in Penryn. Recent work includes Brickfield, an experimental brickworks set within Cornwall’s clay country for Whitegold, St. Austell’s ceramic festival.
Elizabeth Masterton s an artist living and working in Falmouth, Cornwall. Her fascination with fallibility, time and decay are explored through encounters with people, places, objects and archives. She is co-director of Goonhilly Village Green and in 2018, was commissioned for the 14-18 NOW project Processions, commemorating the centenary of women’s right to vote in the UK.
Jonathan Michael Ray
Jonathan Michael Ray is an artist whose practice largely comprises of works in video, photography, installation, print and drawing. He lives and works in Penzance, Cornwall. In 2018 he was awarded the Porthmeor Studios Graduate Workspace Award and he has recently exhibited at Newlyn Gallery and White Crypt Gallery.
Abigail Reynolds is an artist based in West Cornwall, whose work explores time and group identity through representation and its technologies. In works specific to Cornwall she interrogates the land as it is narrated through everyday life and shaped by social change. In 2016, she was awarded the BMW Art Journey prize at Art Basel. Her works feature in the collections of the Government Art Collection, Yale University, and New York Public Library.
Beth Emily Richards
Beth Emily Richards is an artist-researcher whose work investigates contemporary myth making, often exploring aspects of popular culture and idiosyncratic subcultures. She is completing a practice-research PhD at Plymouth University, is a co-director of producers’ cooperative Flock South West CIC and a creative producer for socially engaged arts organisation Take A Part.
Nina Royle is an artist whose practice includes painting, creative writing and performance. Her work explores relationships between body, land and language. She lives and works in West Cornwall. Her recent exhibitions include; Listen to the Hum, Alice Black, London; Global Cows, Damien and the Love Guru, Brussels; and Glaucous a performance commissioned by Tate St Ives.
Ben Sanderson is a painter based at CAST studios in Helston, Cornwall. His current work explores relationships with plants and cyclical processes. Recent exhibitions include What Is This place?, Newlyn Art Gallery; Smile Orange, Cubitt Gallery, London and Testing Tropes, Kestle Barton, Cornwall.
Katie Schwab is an artist whose practice interweaves personal, social, and craft-based histories. She works across the arts, exploring critical forms of hand-production within shared social spaces. In 2017, she was awarded the Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Residency at Porthmeor Studios, St Ives. Her work has been exhibited at Jerwood Space, London; Glasgow Sculpture Studios and Serpentine Galleries.