Rarely seen paintings are returning to Cornwall after almost 100 years.

They will be displayed in an exhibition of paintings and drawings, paired with psychoanalytic interpretation.

‘A Tale of Mother’s Bones’ tells the story of an unusual artistic and personal collaboration between Dr Grace Pailthorpe, a trained surgeon, and Reuben Mednikoff, an artist and designer.

The pair met in London in 1935 and moved to Port Isaac, where they made some of their most wildly experimental artworks. For the first time, these rarely seen paintings from private collections will be shown together in Cornwall, where they were created almost 100 years ago.

The exhibition will take place at the Newlyn Art Gallery and The Exchange from October 19 and will run until January 4, 2020.

Falmouth Packet:

Despite exhibiting with leading Surrealist artists in the 1930s, the work of Pailthorpe and Mednikoff are still relatively unknown, and A Tale of Mother’s Bones is the most significant presentation of their work in almost 20 years.

Showing for the first time their paintings and drawings alongside their often challenging interpretations, A Tale of Mother’s Bones presents Pailthorpe and Mednikoff’s art and writing as part of the same vast project, and shows how it and their partnership challenged the conventions of their day.

Featuring more than 90 works spanning nearly four decades, this show examines their earliest experiments with Surrealist processes, their response to the rise of Fascism in interwar Europe, and the way in which they approached gender, relationships, and spirituality, from progressive and often radical positions.

Falmouth Packet:

While Mednikoff was a trained artist, Pailthorpe had previously served as a surgeon in the First World War and studied psychoanalysis. Combining their skills and knowledge, they spent decades of their lives researching how art and writing might liberate individuals and societies from violence and oppression.

Drawing on original archival research, the exhibition tells the story of the couple’s lives through their works, showing how they excavated their earliest memories (including memories of birth) in order to understand their adult relationships, political context and spiritual beliefs.

The exhibition also reveals a new term developed by the pair: Psychorealism.

Pailthorpe continued making work well into her 80s, producing colourful watercolours. Mednikoff, who changed his name to Richard Pailthorpe in 1948, wrote reflections on his past lives.

The couple died one year apart from one another in 1971 and 1972, at their home in Sussex.