21st September – 6th October 2020.
In our St. Ives gallery.
“For me, art has been like a voyage. In order to be truly creative, it’s about taking a voyage into the unknown which awakens the creative spirit within. It’s only then that you reach that magical moment when you begin to create something unique.” – Ken SpoonerRead More
Livingstone St. Ives is thrilled to host the 30th solo exhibition of renowned artist Ken Spooner, inspired by the artist’s recent near-death experience. In autumn last year Spooner underwent heart surgery; during the procedure, surgeons were forced to make four attempts to restart his heart. In these liminal moments, Ken had vivid visions of Egyptian solar barges – or as he terms them, ‘Sky Boats’ – ferrying the souls of the dead to the underworld. These experiences became the inspiration for ‘Sky Boats & Other Voyages’.
This landmark show has been put together under the darkness of lockdown and the experience of the physical mortality of the artist. Recovering and restarting work, Ken visited St. Ives on a chilly morning in February. Wandering along a deserted Fore Street, the sign outside the Zion Church gradually emerged from the mist. “THERE IS HOPE NO MATTER HOW FIERCE THE STORM.” It was just weeks before lockdown.
The themes running through the exhibition – transference – liminality – journeying – the flight of birds – reflect this strange moment in modern history in which everything has been put on hold, in which travel has been forbidden but life and death continue unchecked.
Despite the unsettling themes, like rebirth in spring, these works share a renewed thirst for life and joie de vivre. And for artist as for viewer, the enforcement of self-isolation has focused minds on the mysticism and exoticism of the faraway. Through this shared image of the voyage, this show transports the viewer from the Cornish harbour town of St. Ives to the River Nile, and the religious rites of ancient Egypt and beyond.