art

Men come together to make a man

March 30, 2018 2 Comments
Men come together to make a man

I was wandering absently through the galleries of the Glynn Vivian the other day, trying, unsuccessfully, to remember what the Welsh word for ‘unflattering’ might be, when I stopped suddenly in front of a Japanese print. It was in one of the rooms devoted to the gallery’s founding collection, which once belonged to Richard Glynn […]

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Frank Brangwyn’s British Empire Panels

March 9, 2018 5 Comments
Frank Brangwyn’s British Empire Panels

1          Introduction Most Swansea people are familiar with the British Empire Panels.  Many sitting through a dull patch in a concert in the Brangwyn Hall will have turned to ponder Frank Brangwyn’s enormous work.  In a few months’ time the Panels will get more exposure, as Marc Rees’s performance piece Nawr yr arwr / Now […]

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Catherine Blake’s vision

February 23, 2018 0 Comments
Catherine Blake’s vision

Of all the astonishing visual images William Blake created, between the mid-1770s and his death in 1827, one of the most intriguing is a small sepia wash drawing (244 x 211mm) on a sheet of paper now in the Tate Gallery.  It’s usually known by the title A vision: the inspiration of the poet.  Since […]

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Photo of a gate

February 11, 2018 0 Comments
Photo of a gate

On the wall almost opposite the foot of the bed, my home for a few days last week, was a thick frame containing a mounted colour photograph.  Since it was one of the few unnecessary objects in the room, and the only occupant of its wall, I found myself giving it my full attention several […]

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Mary Lloyd Jones

November 17, 2017 0 Comments
Mary Lloyd Jones

Mary Lloyd Jones has been exhibiting her paintings since the 1960s.  She’s a consistent and prolific artist, and it can seem hard to find new things to say about her work – especially since she’s written and spoken often about it herself (many others have too, including Ann Price-Owen, Ceridwen Lloyd Morgan and Iwan Bala).  […]

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Sitting for Bernard

November 12, 2017 0 Comments
Sitting for Bernard

For over forty years, and with increased energy since 1990, Bernard Mitchell has been collecting people.  The people are artists and writers working in Wales, and his means of collecting them is the camera lens.  Many people have seen parts of his great project, the Wales Arts Archive, over the years.  In the 1990s the […]

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Carys Evans and her women

November 6, 2017 0 Comments
Carys Evans and her women

Just over a year since her last solo show in Swansea Carys Evans has another, in the Kooywood Gallery in Cardiff.  Again there are around forty paintings – large and small, on canvas and board, in oils, mixed media and pastel.  A dominant theme runs through many of them – the lives of women.  Not […]

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Rachel Whiteread and Walter Sickert

October 29, 2017 1 Comment
Rachel Whiteread and Walter Sickert

It might be a sign of increasing age, but these days I prefer the quieter Tate Modern to the glitz and gargantuism of Tate Britain.  Last weekend we went there early to see the retrospective of the sculptor Rachel Whiteread.  Most of the works are shown together in a single undivided room and there weren’t […]

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Boy in a window

October 15, 2017 2 Comments
Boy in a window

An old, long-abandoned factory in Swansea’s Strand.  It has two storeys, a stone wall at its base and a corrugated roof.  Below, the windows are boarded or blacked out.  Upstairs, where ragged glass hangs in the smashed panes, one window frame’s open.  At its base a round-faced young boy, with dark hair and jug ears, […]

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John Ystumllyn: an African in 18th century Eifionydd

August 27, 2017 8 Comments
John Ystumllyn: an African in 18th century Eifionydd

It wasn’t his real name, ‘John Ystumllyn’, but one the locals gave him. Another was ‘Jac Du’ or ‘Jack Black’. How he arrived, unwillingly, in north Wales is obscure. What is certain is that his origins were in Africa, and that he found a home for himself and his family in the Criccieth area in […]

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