Michael Strang - No stranger to good causes
Camborne School of Mines Museum & Art Gallery

ART REVIEW - FRANK RUHRMUND

WESTERN MORNING NEWS - July 17 1997


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Max Barret at work in his sculpture field
Kindred Spirit:  Study of the sculptor Max Barret at work

 

One of the paintings Gulval based artist Michael Strang is presenting in the exhibition of his work now on at Camborne School of Mines Museum & Art Gallery is a study of the sculptor Max Barrett, who sadly died recently, at work in his 'ScuIpture Field' on the slopes of Trencrom Hill. They were good friends and, although working in different media, shared a similar passion for art.

Michael calls Max a "kindred spirit; I had great empathy with Max, he was a man who had more love in his heart for art than anyone I've ever known."

There is no doubt that his late friend would approve of what he is doing at the moment. He is donating part of the proceeds from his current exhibition towards the proposed new ten-bedded hospice and day care centre to be built at Hayle.

The same applies to the ongoing exhibition of his work at Tregenna Castle Hotel, St Ives, and he has also donated a large canvas, Gulval Sunflowers by Moonlight, to be raffled on behalf of St Julia's Hospice. Launched recently at St Michael's Mount, numbered postcard reproductions of Michael Strang's gift painting are now on sale and the draw for the winning ticket takes place on December 4.

He is no stranger to good causes. Only last year part of the proceeds of his exhibition in the George Frederick Watts Museum and Art Gallery at Compton, near Guildford, went towards the Memorial Chapel roof fund.

It is a generosity of spirit only to be expected from an artist who admits to finding "the humble dandelion to be as magical as the most elevated flower.'

An artist who regards the act of painting as "a conversation or dialogue with artists of the past", he cheerfully confesses to being influenced by such as Constable and Courbet, Sickert and Soutine, and, most of all, by Turner. Like such masters, much of his time is spent in pursuit of perfection.

"As an art student at Wimbledon and the Camberwell School of Art, I spent hours studying the magic of the perfect image." In his search - he is still looking after 30 years - for perfect tonal values, "something equivalent to perfect pitch in music and very rare in painting", he moves from the figurative to the semi, and on occasion almost total, abstract, while retaining the initial image. The retention of this image, plus the intensity of his purpose, makes his work so accessible and appealing.

An associate member of the Penwith Society of Arts since he settled in Gulval some eight years ago, he has exhibited widely throughout the region and further afield from Sims Gallery in St Ives to the Chelsea Arts Club in London, where a portrait of his youngest daughter was sold at the club's annual Christmas auction.

Another of his paintings, Hayle Harbour Sunset, accepted for this summer's show at the Royal Academy, has just been bought by a Harley Street doctor, while three of his paintings have been purchased by the Cheltenham & Gloucester Building Society for the firm's permanent collection.

His many admirers will be delighted to learn that two of his paintings will be on view as part of the permanent collection in the refurbished Penzance & District Museum & Art Gallery when it reopens later this year.

This exhibition is a must for all who admire and appreciate academic values in art, and the best of English landscape painting.

Mounted as part of the Peninsular Programme, admission is free, and Michael Strang's paintings can be seen in the museum and art gallery on the campus of Cambome School of Mines at Pool, near Redruth, 9am-5pm, Mon-Fri, until August 28.


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Last updated 7 September 1998