Picturing the Mines has been devised by artists Bernard Irwin and Jesse Leroy Smith and they will be taking the creative lead throughout the project. Bernard & Jesse have a wealth of experience in curatorial roles and delivery of arts projects and have collaborated on some key projects over the past ten years. They each have long established studio practices of their own and came together through their involvement in the Newlyn Society of Artists; with shows such as ‘Lineage’, ‘Revolver’ and PRINT! they have been working towards projects like Picturing the Mines for the last ten years. Projects such as PRINT! & Travelogue Kernow exemplified a vision for the arts, education, community engagement and empowerment which has underpinned their commitment and curatorial philosophy in developing arts workshops, events and exhibitions.
In 2011 Jesse and Bernard harnessed the energy of the Penzance Golowan festival in a week long printmaking extravaganza that resulted in the Golowan Wall at the Exchange Penzance, a composite print some 20 metres long by 4 metres high. Clare Goulborne created the wonderful Golowan Box to contain this amazing piece of community art as part of her internship under Lizzie Neville at PZ Conservation.
This was made possible through PZ Conservation’s extremely creative working collaboration with Bernard & Jesse throughout the innovative exhibition PRINT! which they curated for the Exchange, Penzance in 2011. Through the making of folders for prints, the presentation of artists books, key talks and demonstrations during the PRINT Symposium and the construction of the Golowan Box a close working relationship was forged. Their partnership developed further during the Travelogue Kernow Project which saw them touring a print studio to towns across Cornwall and the creation of a pictorial travelogue.
They will once again be collaborating with Lizzie Neville and PZ Conservation interns who will bring their specialist knowledge, skills and experience as book conservators to Picturing the Mines. They will not only guide us through the map making but will also be constructing amazing presentation boxes to house the maps and suite of ten etchings.
Picturing The Mines sees Bernard and Jesse working with a new collaborator, Jeremy Gilbert and his jewellery company St Justin, bringing him together with Lizzie and PZ Conservation in what promises to be an exciting journey that combines contemporary tin castings and the historical art of book furniture.
Another key collaborator joining them from previous projects is printmaker John Howard. John brings a wealth of printmaking knowledge and creativity to the projects and it is under his expert eye that the copper etchings will be printed at his Penryn studio.
Bernard & Jesse’s project naturally allows for collaboration and they will lead a team of artists, students, conservators and volunteers who will bring a wealth of experience and creative energy to Picturing the Mines and TINTH.
“Collaborating with partner organisations, artists, colleges, schools, councils, mining experts and the public will enable us to deliver a truly grassroots celebration of mining heritage, engaging and inspiring fascination world wide.” Jesse & Bernard