To celebrate the publication of a new edition of The St Ives Artists: A Biography of Place and Time, Michael Bird takes a fresh look at the modern art coming out of St Ives between the 1930s and 1970s. He reveals how artists at the far end of Britain were surprisingly closely connected to wider cultural changes in the post-war era.
Michael Bird highlights the interplay between modernism’s large-scale ambitions and the effect of particular places and personal experiences. The story ranges from the tense, idealistic years between the two world wars through the birth of the Welfare State and the Cold War, to the space race of the 1960s – all of which found echoes in artists’ work. Do Alfred Wallis, Naum Gabo, Bernard Leach and Roger Hilton really have anything in common? The answers Michael Bird uncovers add up to a fascinating account of the St Ives phenomenon.
Redfern Gallery will be mounting a St Ives show in the near future and is featuring works by St Ives artists such as Paul Feiler, Margaret Mellis, Francis Davison and Alexander Mackenzie on its stand at Olympia.
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Places are still available so please arrive 10 minutes before the event to secure your seat.
Michael Bird is a writer and art historian. He has written and broadcast widely on modern British art, in particular on the St Ives modernists. His publications include monographs on Sandra Blow, Lynn Chadwick and Bryan Wynter, and essays on Peter Lanyon, Alexander Mackenzie, Margaret Mellis and Alfred Wallis. His study of the sculptor George Fullard and his first book for children, Vincent’s Starry Night and Other Stories: A Children’s History of Art, are due out later this year. Michael Bird is currently Goodison Fellow at the British Library, where he is researching the Artists’ Lives archive of oral history recordings.