A Dinner-Gong in the Jungle
Cornish painter, author and filmmaker Andrew Lanyon takes humour seriously. Writing about laughter he said, “Maybe it used to be an alarm, a dinner-gong in the jungle, one sounded to draw the rest of the tribe close to protect us from predators while we devoured the beast we’d clubbed to death.”
His distinctive form, expressed in illustrated books and small paintings, can be experienced in the Shippon Gallery’s next exhibition. Lanyon’s trajectory of interests took him from conjuring at 7, via photography and filmmaking, to a preoccupation with humour: “I suppose magic tricks and comedy both ‘pull the wool’. So maybe I’ve been going from sleight of hand to sleight of mind.”
His narrative paintings often feature characters associated with his home town of St Ives in the 1930s, although scenarios are fictitious. In a well known image the fisherman-turned-painter Alfred Wallis “discovers” artists Ben Nicholson and Kit Wood rather than them noticing him in his cottage as their meeting in 1928 is usually presented. One such scene is owned by the Tate Gallery. Other imagined events are less likely, such as the U-boat commander manoeuvring around the Manacles rocks using a painting by Wallis as a guide.
One of Lanyon’s primary concern is now with a type of humour that was well expressed when someone wrote: “Your book makes my mascara run so I can’t read it on the train.” But he continues to paint and explains why with the analogy of the moment of release of a glider from its towrope: “One experiences a dramatic silence… the serenity is tangible. One never achieves such elevated calm when landing back on the noisy tarmac of text.” It is hoped this exhibition will give an insight into Andrew Lanyon’s take on today’s world and the past.
July 31st to September 10th 2022 http://andrewlanyon.com