Itchingly textural and alive with strident colour, the Zimmer Stewart Gallery in Arundel offers a feast for the eyes in the exhibition Analogue Sounds, by Anthony Frost. A great introduction to the Arundel Festival, an event that clearly needs more time than an evening accompanying Anthony and Linda Frost, with James and Johnny from the gallery, enjoying the art and a delicious meal at Ristorante Osteria.
The vibrant colour of Anthony’s work is singing with a joyful invitation to look closer. The urge to touch the dense textural quality of the work is almost impossible, with its layering of colour, canvas, net, sailcloth and whatever else Anthony can persuade to convey his intention. The work is earnest and lively, with grooves and ruts, smoother sections, and determined changes in direction, where one can almost hear the sound a finger might make on the surface. Reminiscent of a needle in the grooves of a vinyl LP record which immediately links to the titles and suggests a physicality associated with analogue as opposed to digital sound. Music and aural stimulation is key to Anthony’s work, each piece borrowing titles from important pieces of music from significant bands such as Curved Air, Captain Beefheart, and The Fall.
“In her eyes I see the sea
I can’t see what she sees in a man like me
She says she loves me
Her eyes are a blue million miles”
Don Van Vliet, Captain Beefheart
Anthony’s art is a construction of feeling, memories and connections packed into an image that, as soon as it looks like something recognisable, it is subverted. This is not however a simple process of obfuscation, but a mechanism to free the feelings, memories and connections of the viewer. Anthony’s titles and colour may enlighten the viewer of his intention, but the response is unique. Interrogating the title reveals the lyrics and another layer of the work is revealed, or at least hinted at. Anthony has a connection with the sea having been brought up in St Ives and lived in Cornwall for the majority of his working life, another connection with his father. The depth of “blue million miles” is transitioned to the art, but who is the owner of the blue eyes?
The political resonance to the times is not lost in the piece New Facts Emerge; strident and assertive the acerbic yellow dominates with insistent red and orange squeezing, pressing through to be noticed. The title taken from the album by The Fall the cover of which was also designed by Anthony.
Anthony works out of a studio in Penzance, having studied at Cardiff College of Art and has many years of exhibiting widely across the UK. He has lectured at Falmouth and Canterbury Schools of Art. He enjoys family life and the community of artists in Cornwall, taking part in many events and is proud to be part of the Arundel Festival and to renew his connection and friendship with James Stewart and John Zimmer.
Moving through the first room Anthony Frost shares the exhibition space in the second room with his father Sir Terry Frost RA. The first image is an interesting sketch which foreshadows the vocabulary of shapes and blocks of colour that define Terry’s later work. The emergence of the circles, triangular blocks, and the repetition of shape to explore balance and reflection is intriguing. Terry was clearly beginning to interrogate the process of abstraction, in removing the recognisable and substituting shape and colour. A process key to Terry’s future as a leading Abstract Artist for sixty years. Anthony has claimed a similar desire to remove the obvious, but here it is a different sense that is the driver: the visual for Terry and the aural interpretation for Anthony.
Beautiful and intimate, the Zimmer Stewart Gallery is bright, friendly and captivating. Anthony’s work is given space to breathe, if perhaps rather too much for the tiny works that are ironically named Big Colour Blue/Red/Yellow. They maybe lose something in the large space, but they are truly gems. The sheer depth and intensity of colour packs a powerful assault on the eye. Terry’s work is tightly hung with very little visible wall space. This is entirely suitable, especially as the SS Portfolio of prints framed and included in the space feature his laced works. The SS refers to the St Ives shipping terminology, and the lacing was an attempt to tighten the image, by anchoring shapes and colour, and even adding physical lacings to some of the collage works he made at this time in the 1960s.
This exhibition is a delight, exploring some of the similarities in both Terry and Anthony Frost, but also revelling in the colour and vibrancy of Anthony’s Analogue Sound. As part of the Arundel Festival it sits neatly in the rich Art community of the town and offers a quality experience for festival visitors.
The gallery is also supporting fundraising for Moto Neurone Disease Research, offering badges in exchange for a contribution. The badges use images from the Frost exhibition and the Zimmer Stewart Gallery; a poignant gesture and a lovely reminder of this year’s exhibition and Arundel Festival.
Karen Parker @intersilient