Cornwall Living, Masters In the Making
Arts writer Mercedes Smith spotlights three rising stars of contemporary art to look out for in 2017 in Cornwall Living magazine (January 2017).
Respected as one of Europe’s leading centres of creativity, Cornwall is an inspirational location with a world-class art scene, and the extraordinary diversity of work being made here attracts collectors from around the globe. For art lovers who like to be ahead of the game, I’ve selected three rising stars of contemporary practice whose very different modes of working showcase the breadth of talent on show in 2017.
Trudy Montgomery is one of the next generation of artists in Cornwall whose work is part of a direct line of British expressionist painting which has its roots in the ground-breaking abstraction of artists such as Patrick Heron and Peter Lanyon. Since the 1950s, the intuitive use of colour, mark and gesture in Cornish painting has aligned works made here with those of European and American abstraction, works in which the canvas becomes an arena for exploring the expressive qualities of paint. Now living and working in an idyllic corner of Penwith, Trudy recently returned to the UK after 14 years in California, a place which, as demonstrated in her bright, beautiful palette and wide canvases, parallels the pure light and coastal landscape of our own west coast.
“My work is very much an exploration of colour,” says Trudy. “I let intuition guide each decision regarding colour, tone and brush selection, as well as the placement, direction and intensity of gesture on the canvas, and I use a variety of techniques including staining, layering and scraping back to build texture and interest. It’s important that I abandon any early form of ‘prettiness’, or other markings I get attached to which could shut down my creative flow. I let the paint lead me, responding directly to colour on canvas so that the composition evolves organically – though there may be uncomfortable phases of accident or chaos – and the final painting is typically very different to the work I first imagined.”
The sheer size of canvas and strength of colour in Trudy’s works make for deliciously emotive viewing, and hints of landscape in these otherwise highly abstracted paintings make her exhibitions akin to an intensely joyful, semi-spiritual walk through the more beautiful parts of your own imagination. Having exhibited to acclaim in London, Dubai, Los Angeles and Berlin, her career is surely one to watch for those with a passion for the ongoing history of Cornish painting, and serious collectors of abstract art.