Newlyn Today & Modern British work from Newlyn and St Ives

8th April 2016

Ten artist tutors from the acclaimed Newlyn School of Art will show their work at the Moncrieff-Bray Gallery together with works by 20th-century masters of the St Ives School.

EXHIBITION DATES: Saturday 14 May — Saturday 11 June 2016

PRIVATE VIEW: Saturday 14 May, 2pm—8pm

The gallery is privileged to present an exhibition by tutors from Newlyn School of Art. While individually, the artists have a reputation on a national stage, this is their first group exhibition to be held outside Cornwall. The works share a commitment to the artistic heritage and landscape of West Cornwall and echo one another in their treatment of paint, space, atmosphere, light and their preoccupation with man’s relationship with nature. Several of the artists in this exhibition were included in the landmark Tate St Ives exhibition, Art Now Cornwall in 2007.

Works by famous names from the 20th Century in Cornwall such as Sir Terry Frost, Ben Nicholson, Roger Hilton and John Wells will be shown alongside these contemporary works. They provide an historical context and demonstrate how Modern British and Contemporary work complement one another.

Newlyn and its neighbour St Ives have played an important role in British art since the 1880’s. Arguably the most significant period was the 1950’s and 60’s when international artists such as Rothko visited the area to meet the leading British artists of the day. Sir Terry Frost, Roger Hilton and John Wells, exponents of what broadly became known as the St Ives School, actually lived and worked on the south coast at Newlyn. The area is still home to a current generation of innovative and successful artists whose influence extends far beyond the Cornish peninsular.

Paul Lewin’s knowledge of the cliffs and paths combined with his unique mixed media techniques have made him one of the leading coastal artists of the South West. Anthony Garratt’s work is more about the dramatic effects of the weather than the actual topography; the thick impasto layered and scraped on the canvas reflects his experience of extreme weather conditions and the wilderness of some of the remotest parts of the coastline.

Recent highly successful shows at both the Lemon Street Gallery in Truro and London’s Jill George Gallery saw Gareth Edwards create a new body of semi-abstract work. His multi-layered canvases dissolve in an atmosphere of mists and luminous moonlight. Mark Surridge’s often large-scale paintings move from the landscape to a poetic abstraction meditating on man’s role in the universe.

Jessica Cooper has lived all her life in West Penwith where the spare and weatherworn landscape inspires her work, with its paired down graphic quality. Memory and imagination combine in Maggie O’Brien’s work, she is concerned with vanishing wild life and uses images of the natural world as a metaphor for life’s journey.

Other artists in the exhibition include Jesse Leroy Smith, Hannah Woodman and Rachel Reeves. Jesse is both an artist and curator, his work is based on experience and memory. The portraits exhibited here evolve from his relationship with his children. He uses lines and washes to evoke a sense of trace and memory. Together the art of Newlyn seems to delve deep into our collective memory. In a world that seems increasingly chaotic and unbalanced, this exhibition celebrates the beauty of the natural world and a sense of man in harmony with his environment.

Jessica Cooper, Gareth Edwards, Anthony Garratt, Paul Lewin, Maggie O’Brien, Rachel Reeves, Jesse Leroy Smith, Mark Surridge and Hannah Woodman
Ben Nicholson, Sir Terry Frost, Roger Hilton and John Wells


Since the 1880s artists have been attracted to Newlyn, drawn by the landscape, cheap studios and convivial artistic community. Newlyn flourished in the 1880s with the social realist painters led by Stanhope Forbes and later with the British Impressionists, notably Dame Laura Knight and Sir Alfred Munnings. During the Second World War, the neighbouring, internationally orientated St Ives colony projected both Newlyn and St Ives onto the world stage.


Artist Henry Garfit harnessed the current wealth of artistic creativity to found the not-for-profit, Newlyn School of Art with the help of an Arts Council Grant in 2011. It is only yards from the historic art school established by Stanhope and Elizabeth Forbes in 1899.
Newlyn School of Art has attracted the most talented artists in the area. There is a yearly programme of two and three day courses as well as part-time courses for mentoring artists from all over the country held every eight weeks as weekends. By giving well paid but occasional work to over thirty five leading artists they are able continue with their own practice while bringing a freshness and vigour to their teaching. Last year the school taught more than 1,000 students from all over the world and this year it is running over thirty courses ranging from Expressive Landscape Painting to Experimental Painting and The Feminine in Art.


THE MONCRIEFF-BRAY GALLERY is based in a group of 18th-century former farm buildings on the edge of the Petworth estate and holds regular exhibitions of contemporary art and sculpture. A spectacular oak framed barn houses the interior gallery space, and the surrounding landscaped gardens are an ideal setting for domestic sculpture. The gallery is committed to showing both established artists and those who are not widely represented elsewhere. Just over an hour’s drive from central London, the gallery is located in the heart of the South Downs National Park, enjoying spectacular views over the Rother Valley and up to the South Downs.


Former curator and arts writer Elspeth Moncrieff set up the Moncrieff-Bray Gallery in 2005. An experienced curator, she started her career at the V&A; as a former art market correspondent for The Art Newspaper and Deputy Editor of Apollo magazine, she applies her experience of the international art world to her South Downs gallery.