A pastoral paradise first imagined by the ancient Greeks, Arcadia has been depicted many times, but often these idyllic scenes are tinged with anxiety. In an exhibition at Hanina Fine Arts, the term is used to describe the subjects of its works as well as the unease of the artists that painted them. Arcadia is named after a rural area of central Greece and was thought of as a virgin wilderness, home to the god Pan and the spirits of nature. Although similar to ideas of Utopia, it was understood as a home to the gods, unreachable by mortals. Perhaps the most well known depiction of the place is Nicolas Poussin’s ‘Et in Arcadia ego’ or ‘The Arcadian Shepherds’ (1638). Against a sweeping landscape, shepherds in classical dress cluster around a tomb. The suggestion is that even in this perfect world, death is present. However a later version of the idea is perhaps still more relevant to the exhibition in question. Thomas Cole’s depiction of an ‘Arcadian State’ within his ‘Course of Empire’ cycle (1833-36) shows it in sweeping landscape and a lost moment in time when humanity co-existed peacefully with the natural world. The cycle goes on to show the desolation of the human empire years on, as nature has started to reclaim human constructions. None of the pieces in Hanina Fine Arts’ show ‘Post-War Arcadia’, depict Arcadia itself. Instead the European landscape and real natural world serve as versions of a modern Arcadia: symbols of purity set apart from the corrupted, war-torn world. The show brings together a collection of works by artists such as Jean Le Moal, Christine Boumeester and Marie Raymond, which illustrate the natural world in abstracted and often expressionistic compositions. In Raymond’s expressionistic work ‘Montagne’, for example, the suggestion of a mountain landscape seems to bust apart in geometric, blue and pink forms. André Beaudin’s ‘Le Glaïeul Mauve’ make similar use of form and colour to suggest the outline of flower balanced tenuously within the frame of the picture. With pictures such as these, post- war artists celebrated the natural world after the destruction of their civilised society, embracing it as they created a style of their own. Frances Allitt For visitor or returning resident alike there is a feeling as one crosses the Tamar into Cornwall of leaving the mainland and entering a new world. The language of place names changes, and the ever widened A30 cuts a contemporary grey swathe almost to the edge of this world at the cliffs of Land's End. Heading south off the main road leads to yet another land, the Lizard where narrow lanes summon pre history and primal artefacts. Artistic communities not only survive here but prosper. A recent visit to Kestle Barton , which stands above the Helford River in a light, verdant clearing, revealed an important model of arts exploration and possibilities. While acknowledging the support of the Arts Council the political ethos does not seem restrained by art correctness and the carefully curated seasonal exhibition programme of four explorations a year (currently ‘Togetherness - Notes on Outrage’) into subjects crafted to engage locally, and more broadly to draw in any visitor to the space, demonstrates a powerful contribution to the philosophy of art, its contemplation and its practice. There could not be anywhere further from the white walled power of the modern city public or private gallery, which demand commercial or supplicant attention. Arrival here could be akin to a revelation and manage to show how a benign and free direction of artistic ethos can enrich on a scale out of proportion to expectations. Paul Hooper R OUND-UP 10 GALLERIES OCTOBER 2017 P aradise found Cornish benchmark from left J oseph Townshend ‘Bench’ Kestle Barton Marie Raymond ‘Montagne’ (detail) Hanina Fine Arts