It is a great pleasure for Anima Mundi to present Samuel Bassett’s latest solo exhibition ‘Hourglass’, an exhibition which emphatically demonstrates Basset’s renowned, boundless, creative energy. However this is also Bassett’s most mature exhibition to date, one which demonstrates a growing sense of reflection, allowing greater space for contemplation within the vortex of the artists’ mind. His works are imbued with a deep-rooted connection to place, the sea and landscape, as well as local community and heritage. The localised placement of these cautionary tales becomes an allegorical cypher for broader more universal concerns, from fear and disconnection to condolence and settlement. For some time now Bassett’s works have remained constantly charged by a deep well of nostalgia and a palpable dread of mounting challenges to a way of life under threat. This in many respects remains the case, however there is a subtle shift of tempo, as the great squall of rampant and menacing change has been tempered by a level of acceptance that, perhaps, all things must pass. These are works which are very much about the destabilised times that we live in and the artist trying to come to terms with that in the most unguarded way that he can.
This subtle shifting of emphasis could also in some way be attributed to Bassett relocating the setting of these works further west from the coastal community and now holiday town of St. Ives. A place which has become associated with a level of disconnect and symbol of erosive change for the artist who’s family have resided there since the early 17th century, and seen the decline of its original community and industry in favour of a tourist toy-town, now arguably owned by its visitors. The stage for this exhibition is the ancient and wilder land further West, out upon the moors, beside the cliffs with granite underfoot and either side. A place of sea crashed zawns where heavens press down heavy overhead. The timelessness of these Celtic lands has fed an eternal element into these works. Where Bassett’s deep immersion in this location has seen him metaphorically bury himself and his people within the earth, becoming a layer within the stone, leaching into the ocean and evaporating in to the sky. Without spiritual agenda, there is perhaps, something very pagan about these works, which results from an honest interaction with these ancient lands and perhaps from being one of its original people.
‘Hourglass’ is a laying to rest. It is an exhibition about time, loss, gain, love, the past, the future and the now. It is a love story to those who have left, those who are here and those who are next. Indeed we leave reminded that it takes many grains of sand to form a beach.