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A Discipline of the Mind - The drawings of Wilhelmina Barns-Graham


A Discipline of the Mind is an exhibition of rarely seen drawings by one of the most significant British artists of the 20th century.

The exhibition includes a large group of drawings by the artist Wilhelmina Barns-Graham (1912 – 2004), many of which are shown for the first time.

Curated for the Pier Arts Centre and the W Barns-Graham Trust, from the Trust’s collection, by the writer and critic Mel Gooding, the exhibition is a major survey of drawings produced by the artist between 1938 and 1993.

W Barns-Graham was born St Andrews in 1912 and studied painting at Edinburgh College of Art from 1932-37.  She became one of the central figures in the St Ives Group, arriving in St Ives in 1940 and living there almost continuously until her death in January 2004.  

Barns-Graham spent time working in Orkney in the 1980s, getting to know George Mackay Brown, and the exhibition includes drawings from this period.  During this time she recorded in her diary the deep impression that the islands made on her and her work.  The artist wrote,  “So much work ideas here - drawings, colour, shapes, moods, space - elongated shapes - & then the light - & rock groupings - water movements - changes. It is overwhelming - choked with it all.”

The exhibition is accompanied by an illustrated catalogue with an essay by Mel Gooding, avaialbe from the Centre Shop. (01856 850 209)

A Discipline of the Mind; The Drawings of Wilhelmina Barns-Graham is a touring exhibition organised by the Pier Art Centre, in conjunction with The Barns-Graham Charitable Trust.