Rex Dixon, Adrian Frost, Vivian Pedley ‘As I Was Going to St Ives’

13th September 2022 - 24th September 2022

Preview: Tuesday 13th September: start time 17:30, all welcome!

There are thousands of miles between them and they haven’t all met, but this hasn’t stopped a trio of artists from joining forces and creating a new collaborative artwork. As part of the St Ives Festival, the Penwith gallery will be showing the premiere of a short documentary made in three countries involving three visual artists who all share an association with Cornwall. ‘As I Was Going to St Ives’ focusses on the work of Rex Dixon, Adrian Frost and Vivian Pedley. The private view will include a talk from the directors followed by a Q&A session with the directors and artists. Alongside the film, there is an accompanying exhibition of examples of the three artists’ work.


Rex Dixon – Text and Working Practice in Jane Eyre: Caribbean Drawings

As a painter there is nothing obvious in my work that can be viewed as quintessentially Jamaican or Trinidadian or Caribbean, the latter itself I have found impossible to define. I have a wooden studio in Maracas Valley, St Joseph where I paint every day. I usually paint  large canvases on the floor with acrylic on canvas, leaning over the painting as I work. After cataract surgery in 2017,  I was advised me to stop working bent over like this and advised that I could draw at table level instead. I bought several books of 300-gram watercolour paper. Faced with working on a smaller surface and using ink, possibly parallel to the miniature books the Brontes’ produced, inspired by the text and situations in Jane Eyre, I started on a series of drawings that drew me back and forth in time and location. I concentrated on events after Jane Eyre became a governess at Thornfield Hall, compelling me back to the origins of my own literary aspirations in England that I had put aside as a young man when I had moved to painting.

When I am drawing in the initial stages, on the first day the water takes the ink where it will. By the second day when the water and ink are dried, that is when I start seeing concrete images in the blurred watery surfaces left on the paper. Each drawing is composed. Chance does not dictate the drawing but it is chance that starts off the whole process. Chance is what keeps it alive said Jackson Pollock, allowing the unconscious to work through the markings of chance and then composing the image.

That the books, Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea continue to invite interpretations, means that they have spawned a life of their own, engendering dry criticism as well as imaginative scholarship. In this series of drawings I add to this august body of work with my own idiosyncratic aesthetic reading between the lines.  The text on the drawing also has to do with the way memory is constantly being replayed in a migrant’s adjustment of time and place.


Adrian Frost – Americana

A six piece marriage of two of the commonest phrases used in America, exhibited under the title, “Americana”.

The first phrase: in three sections reads: have a nice day.

The second phrase in 3 sections reads: censored, you, censored.

The first censored word is of four letters and describes an extremely common activity which has led to the peopling of our planet. It is also often used in a derogatory manner as a primary curse word.

The second censored word of seven letters physiologically describes the end aperture of the anus: and like the first censored word is often used in a derogatory manner as a curse word.

The two phrases are paired as they reflect both current American language communication and culture as succinctly as I can manage it.


Vivian Pedley – Development of Use of Text in Work

The first records of text come from the early 1300’s. Textus comes from the Latin verb texere, meaning to weave. I began to use text in my work at pretty much the moment that I chose to abandon formal abstraction, which had painted me into the proverbial corner. Text at first was used solely in terms of its content, yet oddly as the work aligned itself more familiarly to a narrative, the physical form with multiple glyphs and symbols became decidedly more pertinent.

In quick response to the news of the day, rapid drawn line and half obscured or reversed text becomes more about mark making. In turn these marks laid down on colour fields develop a quasi form of reporting, where we have little choice but to attempt to understand the hieroglyphic.