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Lemon Street Gallery 27/1/08 - 16/2/08
'Exacting Standards' at Lemon Street Gallery, described as a tribute to Hugh Stoneman, was timed to coincide with the St Ives Tate show that took the same theme. Whilst the Tate show was exclusively of prints, the LSG show also included some substantial paintings by artists that worked with the printmaker after he relocated from London to Madron near Penzance.
Some of the best art shows are unthemed, or at least comprise work by artists who only have an incidental relationship to one another. In this case Stoneman himself was the only conspicuous link for an exhibition that brought together an otherwise disparate group of artists. Familiar Cornish names like Breon O'Casey, Sandra Blow, Kurt Jackson, Terry Frost, Michael Porter and Patrick Heron were shown alongside Christopher LeBrun, Arturo Di Stefano, Eileen Cooper, Gary Hume, John Hoyland, Maurice Cockrill and Tess Jaray.
The juxtaposition created a refreshing frisson, emphasised by dramatic shifts in scale and mood between the works. For example upstairs a large and typically confident abstract by Cockrill, was shown alongside a cuter more discrete, Durer-like painting of a rhinoceros by Di Stefano (below). There was also space for the elegant and almost monochrome works of Tess Jaray, which displayed a level of restraint and understatement not often seen in Cornish abstract art. Work by Bob Law, Fay Godwin, Peter Randall-Page and Hamish Fulton were also added to this rather cosmopolitan mix, and taken together the exhibition was like a mini-survey of post-war British Art.
L-R Le Brun, Di Stefano and Cockrill
L-R Jaray, Hoyland and Cockrill
L-R Michael Porter and Eileen Cooper
Breon O'Casey, Maurice Cockrill and Michael Porter