Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Barbara Tribe Revisited

Thirteen years after she died, and on the centenary of her birth in 1913, a collection of drawings by Barbara Tribe has found its way back to Cornwall. The portfolio was acquired by a private collector from an Oxford gallery in 2009.
Although best known as a sculptor, Tribe’s ability in other media was formidable. As I have written elsewhere after her husband’s death in 1961, she added ceramics to her repertoire of talents, creating some memorable pieces in that medium. But her drawings, like those of Barbara Hepworth, have always held a particular fascination for me, and I am delighted to be able to reproduce a selection of them here.
Grazing Cow
Barbara Tribe took her subjects from her surroundings. The domestic animals which she loved to sketch would have been very much part of the landscape of west Penwith where she and her husband, John Singleman, made their home after the Second World War. With just a few strokes of the pencil, the artist has captured perfectly the sense of the cow’s movement, and its endearing expression.
John Singleman –
my Husband

This is a touching and affectionate portrait in ink, made just three years before John Singleman’s death.
Old Mrs Perry
This is one of several ink drawings of the old lady. This version is particularly appealing as her substantial, broad-shouldered figure almost obscures the chair on which she sits. The solid hand lying heavily on the table before her tells us that she is no shrinking violet. Mrs Perry’s expression speaks of a life of hardship, yet she retains an air of quiet dignity.
This is Barbara in playful mood. These delicately drawn anthropomorphic creatures are engaged in a beautifully choreographed dance.
Malinee - Thailand
Although undated, I would guess that this image in graphite on rice paper would have been drawn during the early 1970s, during one of Tribe’s visits to Thailand. Malinee was the daughter of Thai friends, who accompanied the artist back to the UK and posed for her on a number of occasions.
Spider, Caterpillar & Fuschia
Caterpillar & Fuschia
These two paintings in gouache encapsulate the theme of organic growth which was so close to the artist’s heart.
The complete collection of over 50 artworks can be seen at the Hayle Gallery.

1 comment:

  1. very interesting to see these sketches in the context of her sculpture which you explored last year. must make my way to Hayle for a better look . So good to read about sucha versatile and expressive artist . thankyou