Abstract, Issue 25

Welcome to our Spring newsletter bringing you news of current exhibitions and loans, stories of recent Trust activities and our usual updates:Make sure you visit the fantastic display at the British Museum

  • Shop our latest collaborations with Tate
  • Visit Pallant House Gallery’s new exhibition
  • Save the date for an evening with Alyson Hallett and friends
  • Find us on Bloomberg Connects
  • Learn untold stories of women in Hayle
  • Catch up on our latest blog
  • Make note of Where to See Willie
  • Enjoy our newly acquired Picture of the Month

A Scot in St Ives: works by Wilhelmina Barns-Graham | British Museum | to 12 May

The British Museum’s special display devoted to the recent gift of 12 Barns-Graham works on paper to their Prints & Drawings collection by the WBG Trust continues until 12 May 2024 – so don’t delay! The display can be found in the gallery space adjacent to the Prints & Drawing study room (Room 90a) on Level 4 (north stairs).  The works range from drawings made in Cornwall in the late-1940s to one of her late expressive acrylic on paper paintings from 2000.  Also included in the display are three Barns-Graham works from the 1950s, already in the Museum’s collection, purchased from the artist during the 1980s.

Collaborating with Tate Commerce | Swatch & Uniqlo

The last 12 months has seen the WBG Trust working closely with Tate Commerce on two high profile collaborations between Tate X Swatch and Tate X Uniqlo, both featuring Barns-Graham’s 1991 screenprint Orange and Red on Pink, which the WBG Trust presented to the Tate in 2012.

Released in February the Uniqlo t-shirt celebrates their support for Tate’s family activity programmes and their ‘shared belief that art and play are for everyone’. Each UT Play t-shirt features an artwork that reflects the spirit of play for all – alongside Barns-Graham are t-shirts featuring artists Alexander Calder, Nicholas Monro and Bob and Roberta Smith.  Available here.

The Barns-Graham Swatch utilises a central detail of the print rather than the whole image. Along with Barns-Graham, the group of artists represented on the Tate Swatches are Louise Bourgeois, Marc Chagall, Fernand Leger, Henri Matisse, Joan Miro and JMW Turner – good company to be seen in! Available here.

You can read more about the print that inspired these collaborations on our blog.

Red Table, 1952, gouache on hardboard, BGT888

The Shape of Things | Pallant House Gallery | 11 May to 20 October 2024

After featuring in Paths to Abstraction at the Hatton Gallery in 2022, the Trust is delighted that Barns-Graham’s small 1952 painting Red Table will now appear in the Pallant House Gallery summer exhibition focused on still life, The Shape of Things.

The exhibition will dig into still life’s rich symbolism and how in Britain it has pushed boundaries and new ideas, shifting from 17th-century ‘vanitas’ paintings to post-impressionism to abstraction and from pop to conceptual art. On display alongside Barns-Graham will be a wide selection of artists including Hurvin Anderson, Vanessa Bell, Patrick Caulfield, Lucian Freud, Gluck, Duncan Grant, Mona Hatoum, David Hockney, Lee Miller, Ben Nicholson, Anwar Jalal Shemza, William Scott, and Rachel Whiteread. The exhibition will look at how these artists have often used still life to express the complexities of the human condition.

There are always Barns-Grahams on display in the Pallant’s excellent collection galleries so do have a good look around when you visit!

Front and back cover design of End of the Glacier publication with black abstract line drawing on pale blue background

Save the Date | An Evening with Alyson Hallett & friends | 13 June 2024

We will be celebrating the publication of Alyson Hallett’s pamphlet of Barns-Graham inspired poetry End of the Glacier with an exciting evening event to be held at the Trust’s headquarters on Thurs 13 June.  Look out for more details coming soon!

In the meantime, Alyson’s poetry pamphlet is still available to purchase from our online shop.

Find us on Bloomberg Connects!

The Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Trust have partnered with Bloomberg Connects, a free arts and culture app created by Bloomberg Philanthropies, to bring you an inviting digital guide introducing the artist, her work and legacy. With photos, audio and video, the guide offers unique insight into the collections of the Trust and highlights where work by the artist can be seen in exhibitions or on display in other public collections.

The guide joins more than 350 cultural institutions around the globe on the Bloomberg Connects app.

Visit our guide

A page from Barns-Graham's 1940s notebook/diary, WBG/4/1/5

Hayle Herstory | Hayle Heritage Centre | opens 9 April

An exhibition highlighting the untold stories of women in the Cornish town of Hayle, near St Ives, is opening on 9th April. One of the stories the exhibition will feature is that of Margaret Mellis’s daring feat to climb and camouflage the chimneys of Hayle Power Station during the Second World War. To help contextualise this fascinating story, the Trust has provided reproductions of materials from the WBGT Archive including pages from Barns-Graham’s wartime diary, and photographs of Barns-Graham and Mellis studying together at the Edinburgh College of Art in the 1930s. The exhibition runs until August 2024. More information can be found here.

Orange and Red on Pink, 1991, screenprint, edition of 70

Latest Blog | A detailed look at the print behind recent Uniqlo and Swatch collaborations

Orange and Red on Pink was first painted by Barns-Graham in 1960. In 1991, it was reimagined as a screenprint with master printmaker, Kip Gresham. Now it has captured the imagination of international brands. Find out more about this evolving artwork.

Where to See Willie

If you’re out and about this Spring, here are a few suggestions for exhibitions and collection displays where you’ll be able to see Barns-Graham’s work on display in the UK.

Works can usually be found on display in galleries such as the City Art Centre, Edinburgh, the Scottish National Gallery of Modern ArtLeeds Art Gallery,Tate BritainTate St IvesPenwith Gallery, St Ives and Pier Arts Centre, Stromness.

Looking further ahead, The Fleming Collection’s touring Scottish Women Artists exhibition will travel to F.E. McWilliam Gallery & Studio in Banbridge. We’re delighted to be lending our Wind Dance rug to accompany the two Barns-Graham paintings in the exhibition. Opens 8 June.

Abstract painting with geometric shapes in browns, greys, purples and blue

Levant Study No.3, 1954, oil on board, BGT10613

Picture of the Month | New Acquisition

New acquisitions for the Trust’s collection of works by Barns-Graham are rare, however we were delighted to be able to recently add this small oil on board, Levant Study No.3, painted in 1954.  The work was acquired at the auction of the Art Collection of Pep and John Branfield, held at Lay’s Auctioneers in Penzance. The Branfield’s had accumulated an extensive of group of works by artists based in Cornwall throughout the 20th century. The painting is from a group of at least four known small works made between 1953-54, apparently inspired by the coastal mining area of Levant in Penwith. It is an excellent example of Barns-Graham’s work from the period, synthesising abstraction with the Cornish landscape.