A new exhibition at Kettle’s Yard explores the work of self-taught British artist and mariner Alfred Wallis, whose paintings and drawings depict his direct experiences of the sea and fishing boats, as well as the Cornish coastal landscape. Open from now until January next year, Alfred Wallis Rediscovered is an exploration of the artist’s expressive work, including three sketchbooks made in 1942 – his final year – which have not been exhibited in over fifty years.
With no formal training, Wallis turned to painting as a creative outlet following the passing of his wife, as a way to cope with feelings of isolation and loneliness. During these challenging times, many visitors may appreciate the idea of art as a means of escape, and find comfort in the positive creative potential that the artist was able to extract from such difficult emotions.
Kettle’s Yard’s creator Jim Ede had a close friendship with Wallis, over the course of which he amassed over 120 of the artist’s paintings. As a result, the gallery now has the most substantial collection of Wallis’ work anywhere in the world. Ede said of Wallis in 1945: “Wallis was an innocent painter, with a living rather than an intellectual experience, a power of direct perception… Each painting was to him a re-living, a re-presenting, achieved unconsciously in regard to the act of painting, but vividly conscious in its factual awareness.”
Entry to the exhibition is free, although booking is required via the Kettle’s Yard website.