St Ives & The Studio is a new collection of landscape and interior works by Martha Holmes, painted in summer 2023 and late string of 2024.

Martha Holmes Spring Morning
Spring Morning, by Martha Holmes

The work draws on both the soft colours of the land and sea surrounding St Ives, and the warmer, richer hues of compositions created within the artist’s studio.

Martha’s landscape works were painted during long days spent documenting the seasonal shift from winter to spring, and the arrival of longer, lighter days, from a hut at Porthgwidden.

Working on both board and linen, using broad applications of colour and freely applied marks, Martha has paired the greens of The Island with the vivid blues and soft whites of Porthmeor Beach in a semi-abstracted way that captures the delicate changes in colour evident throughout the coastal landscape.

Alongside these works is a new series of paintings informed by time spent at the Porthmeor studios in the summer. With a direct view of Porthmeor beach from the studio window, Martha explored layers of her studio’s internal space against the backdrop of external landscape.

These works take jugs of seasonal blooms, bowls of lemons, hand-built vessels, and Martha’s own finished paintings, leaning against walls and surfaces, to create an interior language of colour and shape with a feeling of the elemental space beyond.

Accompanying Martha’s exhibition is a new collection by Japanese-born ceramicist Akiko Hirai, whose highly regarded work fuses both Japanese and British ceramic traditions.

This experimental collection explores ideas of antiquity and deterioration. Her glazed surfaces deliberately resemble paint that has been peeled off by long exposure to sunlight, partly revealing a layer of rustproof paint underneath.

These works explore ideas of chaos and unpredictability, and the concept of physical things and emotions combined in a way that moves the artist and the viewer towards a sense of ultimate stability.

Akiko Hirai studied ceramics at the University of Westminster and Central St. Martins, London, and her work is collected internationally.

The exhibition is at the New Craftsman Gallery, Fore Street, St Ives until 1st June.