Past Events

Cross Paths and Currents: Cubist and Constructive work in wartime St Ives

Research Lunch – Rachel Rose Smith

  • 15 January 2016
  • 12:30 – 2:00 pm
  • Lecture Room, Paul Mellon Centre

This talk explores the history of modern art in St Ives during the Second World War as a history of two developing art movements: Cubism and Constructivism. The narratives intertwine and show how artists who fled to West Cornwall on the outbreak of war continued to participate in ambitious and wide-reaching artistic projects while dealing with the practical and ideological uncertainties of wartime life. Works of art and archive materials also show how both Cubism and Constructivism provided important temporal scales through which artists considered the changing role of art in the past, present and future, thus becoming reference points for wider debates as the war progressed and the prospects for art and artists changed.

An abstract metal sculpture

John Wells, Construction, 1940-1

Digital image courtesy of Tate

All are welcome! However, places are limited, so if you would like to attend please contact our Events Manager, Ella Fleming on [email protected]

This is a free event and lunch is provided.

About the speaker

  • Head and shoulder portrait of a woman in an urban setting

    Rachel Rose Smith has submitted her doctoral thesis titled ‘Modern Art Movements and St Ives, 1939-49’, which focuses on the use and development of Cubist and Constructivist lineages of art in West Cornwall during and immediately after the Second World War. With Sara Matson and Chris Stephens, she co-curated the 2014 Tate St Ives exhibition International Exchanges 1915-65: Modern Art and St Ives. She is now working with Downing College, Cambridge on a new art gallery which opens in February 2016. She is curator of the first exhibition, Generation Painting 1955-65, which will display the private collection of previous Tate Director Sir Alan Bowness.