Norman Cornish exhibitions extended due to high public interest

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Exhibitions showing the work and celebrating the life of famous North-East painter Norman Cornish, have been extended due to high level of public interest.

The two exhibitions are located in Durham University’s Palace Green Library and at the Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle, County Durham.

Both were set to end on 23rd February, but were extended to 17th May and 1st March respectively.

The exhibitions were originally created to celebrate the centenary of the birth of Cornish, famous for illustrating life in mining villages in Durham County, and include public and private work from across Cornish’s career, some of which has never been seen before by the public.

Cornish, born in 1919, was a miner for 33 years before becoming a painter in 1966, and has come to be known as one of the region’s most influential and famous painters within the country and abroad.

The exhibition feedback has been so overwhelmingly good

David Wright, Assistant Curator at Palace Green Library

The exhibitions are centred around Cornish’s sketchbooks specifically.

According to Durham University’s website: “This exhibition of little seen sketchbooks will present a new dimension to the artist’s practice, focusing on his observations of life, landscapes, and family, revealing the inner artistic processes behind some of his most iconic works.”

Assistant curator at Palace Green Library, David Wright, told Palatinate: “The exhibition feedback has been so overwhelmingly good that we wanted to give as many people as possible the opportunity to see it.

“Many visitors have commented that they have seen several of the other Cornish exhibitions, but never had this level of insight into his working process.

“One strong message coming from visitors is the creative inspiration they have taken from the exhibition and Norman’s work. Lots of visitors have commented that they will be going home to draw or were planning to start sketching again.”

Liz Waller, Director of Library and Collections at Durham University, said: “These treasures, focusing on his observations of life, landscapes and family, offer an intimate insight into his personal thoughts and reflections.

We feel honoured to be part of celebrating the centenary of his birth

Liz Wright, Director of Library and Collections at Durham University

“Some of the sketchbooks and loose drawings also link directly to paintings featured in the exhibition, showing the progression from an initial observation through a series of steps to a finished work.

“Norman is an icon of North East life and art. We feel honoured to be part of celebrating the centenary of his birth and privileged to be hosting this very special exhibition.”

The exhibition is free for Durham University students and staff to enjoy.

Image: Alden Chadwick via Wikimedia Commons

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