A leading light and pioneer of the abstract art movement of the 1950s, Sandra Blow (1925-2006) worked mainly on large scale works that consisted of collages made up of cheap discarded materials such as sawdust, cut-out strips of old canvas, plaster and torn paper while using intense colours.
Blow’s first encounter of Cornwall was in 1957 with her artist friend Roger Hilton, who described Blow as a ‘Heroic Painter’. She rented a cottage close to Patrick Heron’s ‘Eagles Nest’ for a year, before returning to London. However she came back to West Penwith on so many occasions that in 1985 her work was exhibited alongside other St Ives artists such as Nicholson, Hepworth, Lanyon, Heron, Wilhemina Barnes-Graham, Frost and Hilton in the Tate Britain exhibition called ‘St Ives 1939-64’.
In 1994 Sandra Blow returned to settle in St Ives permanently, renting Porthmeor Studio 9 where she produce a series of works entitled ‘Wave Sequence’ that were exhibited in the Tate St Ives. She also collaborated with the performance writer Alaric Sumner to produce a book called ‘Waves on Porthmeor Beach’. In 2001 she moved to Bullens Court, a large studio and home that she had built above the town.
Text: Ben Crack