We take a closer look at the artist’s work, filled with natural forms and earthy tones that evoke Cornwall’s coastal landscape
This season, we’ve taken inspiration from the Cornish Modernists, a pioneering community of artists who worked in Cornwall in the 1950s and ‘60s. Their work was often an emotive response to the rugged surroundings in West Cornwall, and painter Jeremy Annear continues in this lineage.
Born in Exeter, Jeremy talks about the impact the time his family spent in Cornwall had on him.
“I was greatly influenced by our holidays spent in Cornwall, having the opportunity as a young teenager to go to St Ives in the ‘50s, when it was absolutely buzzing with modernism and the painters that were around then” Jeremey says. “I had no idea then of their names or of what abstract art was, I just fell in love with it.”
This love became his life’s vocation, studying at Exeter College of Art and exhibiting his first abstract paintings. In the compelling lines and hypnotic shapes of his work you can feel the influence of Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicholson. In the rich texture, there is the heritage of Alfred Wallis’s instinctive seas and skies.
However, for Jeremy becoming a full time painter didn’t happen immediately, as he initially supported his young family by joining his uncle’s business as a manufacturer’s agent, travelling round the west country selling Norwegian sweaters, yachting and ski wear (not least string underwear!) before training as a teacher.
“I always anticipated that becoming an artist would be a slow process. I knew it was going to be a long road…At my time, in the ‘60s, you matured and grew in to being an artist.”
In the mid-‘80s Jeremey came into maturity as an artist, as he says, developing an “assured language of painting.” He moved to Cornwall, where he now lives on The Lizard, the most southerly point of the UK. Surrounded by dramatic cliffs, soft beaches, and a sea that is clear in summer but wild in winter, elemental influences are clear in his work. For us, his paintings evoke the landscape of our home in all its contradictory layers: natural curves meet sharp corners, while earthy tones contrast with soft, chalky pastels and granite greys.
“There are certain things that have always stimulated me visually that have been important in the development of my work: that is, natural formation in the landscape, particularly costal landscape. The relationship of the smooth rock against the rugged cliff, the relationship of the verdant grass edge to the rough, black rock face… the smell and colour of the sea and of the coast [are] profoundly emotive and influencing.”
Look out for Jeremy’s canvases in the background of our latest catalogue.
Quotes taken from the film Beneath A Mackerel Sky.
Inspired to get creative? Join in with Digital Art School, a series of tutorials hosted by outstanding Cornish artists. It’s all free and available for everyone to enjoy.