To coincide with the exhibition of Gillian Ayres’ work we have brought together a selection of nine artists who exhibit regularly at Plas Glyn-y-Weddw whose work explores and addresses notions of ‘place’
Gillian Ayres lived at nearby Llaniestyn from 1981 to 1987, a period that was to see her produce some of her most vibrant and celebrated work. She states that painting “is there to communicate and express our sublime state, our luminous explosion in space”. Although Ayres didn’t paint literal interpretations of landscape she admitted that frequent visits to the mountains of north Wales from the 1950’s onwards made her “see the world like painting… When you went up a mountain there were these clouds coming in. One really started to see everything in paint.”
Like Ayres, the nine artists featured here draw on instinct in their work. Familiar places and experiences are evoked from the subconscious; intuition leading to abstract marks and colour, such as in the work of Elfyn Lewis or Janie McLeod or to re-creating familiar characters, rooted in memory, such as in the work of Luned Rhys Parri and Judith Hay. Defined lines draw you into dreamlike landscapes in Eleri Mills’ work while Lisa Eurgain Taylor’s majestic mountains are conveyed with the lightest of marks. Wil Rowlands follows his impulse to create jewel-like narratives while Peter Kettle’s paintings are rooted in memories of well known and loved landscapes. Adam Buick’s moon jars are literally rooted, to the ground around him, as he collects materials to include in their firing. The common thread is the ingrained knowledge and emotion towards a place.
Often titles are stimulated by the work, such as with Lewis’ Enlli or Rhosydd and though suggestive of particular places, are not direct representations. Viewers are invited to feel their own emotional responses to the works, as with Ayres’ work.
Mcleod’s Patria (homeland) was completed whilst away in Italy, and while it emerged from the experience of another place it became an emotional response to the pull of home; the creative catalyst for much of the work here, proving that notions of place is a very real issue with a powerful contemporary relevance.
Image: Song of the Mapmaker I, Eleri Mills