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Modernism in St Ives, 24 May - 21 September 2008
Patrick Heron, Scarlet, Lemon and Ultramarine: March 1957
Patrick Heron 1920-1999
Scarlet, Lemon and Ultramarine: March 1957 1957
© The estate of Patrick Heron

A new selection of works, drawn from the Tate Collection, which explores the influence of constructivism and the development of abstraction in St Ives during the middle of the last century. It includes works by Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson, Naum Gabo, Patrick Heron, Peter Lanyon, Wilhelmina Barns-Graham and Terry Frost.

Ben Nicholson and Barbara Hepworth came to St Ives in 1939, introducing new ideas about painting and sculpture inspired by their contact with leading modern artists such as Piet Mondrian and, later, Mark Rothko. Russian born artist, Naum Gabo also lived in Cornwall at this time, joining his close friends Hepworth and Nicholson for the duration of the Second World War.

Gabo's radical approach to sculpture, known as constructivism, was based on the reduction of form to its geometric essentials. Gabo was an inspiration to younger artists such as John Wells, Peter Lanyon and Wilhelmina Barns-Graham. They applied constructivist ideas to their experience of life in Penwith, producing a distinctive body of work that placed St Ives at the cutting edge of post-war British modernism.