Belgrave St Ives - Modern & Contemporary Art

Alice Mumford RWA

Alice Mumford RWA (b.1965)

Born: Columbia

Studied: Falmouth College of Art 1995, Camberwell School of Art 1984-1987, Southwark College of Art and Design 1982-1984, Dartington Hall 1979-1982

Teaches life drawing and painting at St. Ives School of Painting 2001-
.

One person exhibitions:

2015
'Colour from Coast to Coast' Belgrave St Ives

2013

'First Light', Belgrave St Ives

2011

'Taste It', Belgrave St Ives2008
'Jumpy Yellow', Badcocks Gallery, Newlyn

2007
'Big Family - Still Life', Belgrave Gallery St. Ives

2006
Featured Artist, Caroline Wiseman, London
Recent Work, The Great Atlantic Map Works, Falmouth

2005
Belgrave Gallery, London
'Summer and Autumn', Badcocks Gallery, Newlyn

2004
Badcocks Gallery, Newlyn

'Intimate Interiors & Favourite Objects', Julian Lax, London

2001
Cobra and Bellamy, London
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Selected mixed exhibitions:

2015
Summer Exhibition, Belgrave St Ives

2014
Summer Exhibition, Belgrave St Ives

2013
Yuletide: Modern & Contemporary Art & Design, St Ives
Summer Exhibition, Belgrave St Ives

2011

Winter Exhibition: Paintings and 3D Works by Fifty Contemporary Artists', Belgrave St Ives
Stoneman Gallery, Penzance, Cornwall

2010

MMXMAS', Belgrave St Ives

2009
'Three Representational Painters', Belgrave Gallery St. Ives2008
'Cornish Painting - A Family Quartert', Piers Feetham Gallery, London
Josie Eastwood Fine Art, Winchester

2007
'St. Ives - Selected Artists', Belgrave Gallery St. Ives
'A Postcard From St Ives', Belgrave Gallery St. Ives
Badcocks at Easter, Badcocks Gallery, Newlyn

2006
New English Art Club Annual Open Exhibition, The Mall Galleries, London
'The Cornish Connection', Belgrave Gallery London
'Places and Spaces', Belgrave Gallery St. Ives
Christmas Exhibition, Belgrave Gallery St. Ives

2005
'From St. Ives To Newlyn', Caroline Wiseman, London
'Inner Light', The Great Atlantic Map Works, St. Just
Badcocks Gallery, Newlyn

2004
The New English Art Club Annual Open Exhibition, Mall Galleries, London
'St. Ives, The Human Figure and Landscape', Julian Lax, London

2003
'Winter Miscellany', Julian Lax, London
Rainyday Gallery, Penzance

2002
Aldborough Festival, Piers Feetham Gallery
Rainyday Gallery, Penzance

2001
Cobra and Bellamy, London
.

Overview of Coast to Coast exhibiition 2015
Soft edges shimmer, yet the object remains defined and tactile. All these elements are infused with seductive Cornish light.'


Following a hugely successful exhibition 'First Light' at Belgrave St Ives in 2013 this new exhibition in September is the culmination of two year's work made in three studios used by the artist. Most important amongst these is Mumford's main studio, located at her home on an old farm half way between St Ives and Penzance. Other paintings derive from an occasional studio in Portscatho on the south coast of Cornwall, and a room at the St Ives School of Painting on the north coast, where she is a highly respected teacher. As cited above by Richard Selby, Director Redfern Gallery, London, the Cornish light infuses objects and so the paintings and 'vibrant colour is balanced and composition considered, but not forced. Strong abstract qualities within the negative space suggest intrigue'.
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Introduction to 'First Light' exhibition catalogue (2013):

I have known Alice since the early eighties when we both studied painting at Camberwell School of Art and Crafts in South London. She has retained those qualities I always remember about her work, right from the early days: raw and honest responses to what she sees with a determined and passionate eagerness to paint.

Life drawing was still considered important during our time at Camberwell. And certainly for the first year we enjoyed that discipline without question. Training your eye to analyse the subject and the space it occupies is an essential part of working from life. This has always been the bedrock of Alice's painting. And her intuitive understanding of colour breathes life into the new work.

Alice's paintings are characterised by lively and immediate surfaces. Vibrant colour is balanced an composition considered, but not forced. Strong abstract qualities within the negative space suggest intrigue. Soft edges shimmer, yet the object remains defined and tactile. All these elements are infused with seductive Cornish light.

There is a sense of discovery in her paintings which has evolved and is a reflection of her life. Alice is clearly aware of many traditions in painting through the ages, and echoes of Bonnard, Morandi, Winifred Nicholson and Matisse resonate. However there are definite Cornish roots and it will be interesting to watch which way they continue to grow.

The works have a dreamlike, almost ghostly quality to them as they evoke a connection with memories and past lives. People have either just left or are out of sight. The feeling of a moment interrupted.
Tantalising views through windows which are the source of an ethereal light.

I am lucky enough to live with several of Alice's paintings at home in London. Their intimate warmth emits a light of pleasure, intrigue and hope.

'I like that harmony to be expressed in colour. For colour is one of the surest means of expressing joy - the joy that resides in a happy home ' Winfred Nicholson (from Unknown Colour - Paintings, Letters, Writings by Winifred Nicholson an anthology compiled by Andrew Nicholson, Faber & Faber, 1989)

Richard Selby, Director, The Redfern Gallery

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Introduction to 'Big family - Still LIfe' exhibition catalogue (2007):

Alice Mumford is fast becoming a pre-eminent still life painter with a proven market for her exquisitely nuanced and impressionistically modelled light-filled interiors. These are inhabited with posed or randomly cluttered tabletops behind which lie windows onto the outside world. The interface between domestic and exterior becomes, in her own words, an analogy for our inner and outer worlds. This posits an introspective and pantheistic mood that gives depth, empathy and heightened appreciation to the most ordinary and commonly encountered scenarios.

Compositions like 'Flowers on the Studio Table' and 'The Yellow Jug', with their beautifully pitched tonality, churned painterliness and relaxed but sensitised paint handling, also contain a human drama in absentia. Richard Demarco's estimation that they symbolise the presence of human beings points not only to the obvious social functionalism of teapot, flower vase, jug, beaker or fruit bowl, but to the fact that for this artist such reassuringly familiar objects contain what she again describes as something of the warmth of the family. This exhibition's title 'Still Life - Big Family' refers obliquely to her large, old and rooted Cornish family. Yet her brand of painting eschews social narrative and psychological disruption for a beautiful quietism where the play of light on silverware, lustrous ceramic, patterned tablecloth or wallpaper imparts a soulful mood of self-containment, restful reverie and repose from the hustle and bustle of human interaction.

Mumford's heritage is therefore rich on the social and cultural front; as one of the last Camberwell students during the 1980s Mumford showed respect for the grand painting tradition, looking beyond the Euston Road, Sickert and the English impressionists to the great Dutch and Italian traditions of still life. She negotiated these traditions not through rhetoric, strident gesture or bogus cutting edge iconoclasm but rather through an intimacy with the language of paint perceived as more than a mere descriptive vehicle. No wonder a former tutor Anthony Eyton told Mumford that they had quite a lot in common. And other former tutors like Sargy Mann and Phil Amey would attest to the fact that Camberwell's atmosphere of seriousness about painting had rubbed off on her.

A certain humility accompanies Mumford's approach in which the futile cult of the new is sidelined for a constant and refreshing re-invention of the fundamental and timeless language of painting. Like Morandi, Vuillard, Gwen John and the Intimistes, Alice Mumford is an artist for all seasons who can animate an ordinary corner of a room with the full presence of the here and now.

Peter Davies, October 2007