I’m going to write a full review for ‘Herald Gymraeg’ on 31 July but as a taster here’s a quick run down of the Launch Party for the David Meredith curated exhibition ‘Golau ar y Gamlas’ at Oriel Ynys Mon (Anglesey Gallery)(19/07/2013). And the title gives it all away, who would have thought that on a very hot summer’s evening we are all gathered in what is the splendid and rather superb Oriel Ynys Mon to view works by Monet, Turner, Sickert and Canaletto as well as our homegrown stars Brangwyn and Kyffin (no one would recognise Williams). That’s interesting – we always refer to JMW Turner as Turner and Frank as Brangwyn but Kyffin – well we are on first name terms with him ….. he is after all the star that shines brightly over Oriel Ynys Mon, along with Tunnicliffe and the Massey Sisters.
So here it is ‘Plazzo Dario’ (1908) by Claude Monet, on loan from the National Museum of Wales and here in Llangefni ……..
My good friend, fellow traveller and Wales’s finest living artist Iwan Gwyn Parry discusses the economic value of ‘Culture’. We discuss the transformation of Newcastle from post-industrial town to buzzing cultural city probably because of two buildings – The Sage and the Baltic. Our conversation drifts to “we hope they get this, that they realise how important this is …..” We do share a giggle – we are in Llangefni – and there’s a Monet hanging on the wall ! Iwan never thought he’d see this ……… but we are now post – Llyn Cerrig Bach Exhibition – Oriel Ynys Mon does (and can do) blockbusters. We also discuss the presence of Kyffin, you can never compare / beat / improve – it’s like the Bunnymen and Bill Drummond etc from Liverpool once described creating music in the City that gave birth to the Beatles. I can’t help feeling that this is unhealthy for future artists ? Should The Young Welsh Artists hold two fingers in the air to Kyffin ? They may have to ……..
Iwan shares the Norman Foster thing of looking the part for your profession. (Foster was once quoted as saying he was taught how to look like an architect) Iwan is resplendent in blue.
The evening is chaired by Derec Llwyd Morgan, in the 80s I was interviewed several times by Derec for S4C in my capacity as a loud mouth Punk Rocker on the attack. He is a fine orator, very Eisteddfod, crystal clear but like his fellow guest speaker Jan Morris they read from notes, something I find very hard to follow. Morris’s books are of course descriptive masterpieces but I prefer to read Jan in my own space rather than listen to her read in a public space. Maybe it’s my inability to concentrate – I detour and start thinking – this is the Everest connection ….. I like her huge necklace, I like the way she reads as if conversing but still drift ….
Derec Llwyd Morgan :
Jan Morris ;
But, despite my psycho-geographic tendencies to wander, I am aware that we are all in the ‘presence of giants’ – again Oriel Ynys Mon have given us A-List entertainment here.
It is wonderful to wander through Bob Magma’s flowing, Venetian, canal blue exhibition space. Mind you the real canals in Venice are a bit more dark shitty colour. For me Venice is always Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland, dirty sex and dirty water not £5 coffee’s at St Mark’s Place. (We went to the Biannale a while back and a YWA had a morse-code exhibition of flicking lightbulbs – brilliant and crap at the same time – that was also Venice I guess – surreal – almost like ‘plucked from college’ to the Biannale – I wanted to dump a load of slate in one of the tents and declare Snowdonia independent again in the name of ‘Art’).
Frank Brangwyn’s ‘Caernarfon Castle’ in Gwynedd Museum is a must see, here we have ‘St Mark’s from the Lagoon’ (1896) dark and reddish-orange, cluttered and full, just like Venice and not as sparse and pastel as Kyffin’s pieces near by.
Turner’s ‘Juliet and her nurse’ is an engraving, in B&W as opposed to the yellow/blue painting – but again Turner’s dark, dark edge hits hard – he really is the Gwyn Thomas of his day – dark and humorous – or maybe Gwyn Thomas’s ‘Rhondda’ is a Turner for the c20th. Nothing compares to Turner’s ‘Dolbadarn Castle’ mind ………
Then we have a totally surreal moment, two folks sit down, quite by chance, on one of the benches, and I have to shout out “Don’t move !” I have to get this photograph …….
I call this a “Gilbert & George Moment”
They are what my wife calls ‘dudes’, there were a few dudes there on the night, looking good, dressed to thrill, shirts making statements, shoes making statements. The absence of bright young things may have been a bit obvious but these days I feel far happier with older folk, they have the art of conversation, they know nothing of punk rock and I end up in a conversation with a charming lady who wants to start blogging, I promise to email her links on how to get started on ‘Blogger’.
It’s a full house, the drinks are all non-alcoholic (how cool and revolutionary is that ?)
I end up in a conversation with David Meredith the curator of the exhibition, PR guru, no strike that; PR LEGEND, he totally gets it, he even asks to look at the photo I have taken before approval to put the pic up on this blog. I like that. I like him. He insists that I return, as he will do, several times to appreciate the exhibition, to soak it all in – I say “of course”. I always return. I always spend time with things – be they records, archaeological sites or art – you have to spend the time to get the little things, the detail, the next day, new light (probably same light in a gallery) but you get the drift ….. each view is a different day, a different state of mind – you have to do the time – you have to put in the time ….
David Meredith :
Nest and Esther (Gwynedd Museum) ;
I woke up this morning buzzing ….. we had hung out in Llangefni, Rural Mon, on a hot summer’s evening and done a Monet.