Jessica Warboys will fill the sea-facing galleries at Tate St Ives with specially commissioned work, alongside films, sculptures and large-scale paintings.
Her work is informed by personal or collective memories – historical, mythical or fictional – and this solo show will consider her use of symbolism, form and her approach to landscape.
Warboys often employs natural elements in making her works. The exhibition will feature specially commissioned Sea Paintings, which will immerse the galleries overlooking Porthmeor Beach, in floor-to-ceiling colour. Made on the Zennor coast, near St Ives, these enormous unframed canvases have pigment applied directly on them before being submerged in the waves. They are a physical document of Warboys’ collaboration with the sea, but will provide a backdrop to several new sculptures in the lower gallery. An installation of objects that reoccur across Warboys’ practice in film, performance and exhibitions, will be designed for the showcase. New forms and paintings will be also included in this one-off playful installation.
A suite of films made in the UK, will be presented in the final room: Pageant Roll 2012, made in the ancient landscape of the Cornish moors; Boudica 2014, which explores both the historic character and her namesake, the Boudicca Way in Norfolk; and a new film, Hill of Dreams 2015, which has been specially commissioned by Tate St Ives, Casa Masaccio San Giovanni Valdarno, Italy and Kunsthall Stavanger, Norway. It draws from Welsh fantasy writer Arthur Machen’s book of the same name, a semi-autobiographical novel written in 1907 that relives his childhood memories of a rural Gwent, where Warboys too was born a century later. The films highlight her enduring interest in landscape, pagan history and often overlooked historical figures.