Author Archives: Abby

‘No Place Like Home’ Richard Ansett at Elysium Gallery, Swansea

‘No Place Like Home’ an exhibition by Richard Ansett of photographs taken in Town Hill, Swansea, at the Elysium Gallery Bar, High Street. Photographed at his artists talk at the Gallery on the 9th November, the exhibitions runs until the 20th of November. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The day after Richard Ansett gave a talk at the Elysium Gallery Bar in High Street, Swansea he opened his exhibition ‘The Tale of Austin Callaway’ at Coventry Cathedral. He has travelled to Townhill in Swansea to produce these disquieting and arresting documentary portraits, ( Brett Rogers, The Photographers Gallery London.)

Living in London, Richard has work in the National Portrait Gallery, London, The Library and Archives of Canada, and the Smithsonian Institute in America.

His powerful, no holds barred images of the people of Town Hill have an empathy of a disenfranchised community, so it was no surprise to see the collection box for The Samaritans! Once again the Elysium Gallery have produced a not to be missed exhibition, so do go and see it, open until the 20th of November. Wednesday – Saturday, 11am-6pm.

Bernard Mitchell, November 2021.

 

Emrys Parry Exhibition

Emrys Parry, Small Paintings and Works on Paper, Mandell’s Gallery, Norwich. 6th Nov to 27th Nov 2021. 

Emrys Parry was born on the Lleyn, but has lived for some years in Great Yarmouth. 

 

A Visit to the Mid Wales Arts Centre

Travelling from Aberystwyth to Llandysul photographing the Welsh Group Artists Heather Eastes and Wendy Earle, I took advantage to stop at a bed and breakfast at the magnificent country house that is The Mid-Wales Arts Centre, at Caersws run by Cathy and John Knapp-Evans. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Centre currently shows work in two gallery spaces. Exhibited in an impressive sculpture barn is a tribute to the life and work of Cathy’s former husband and internationally renowned artist and sculptor Stefan Knapp (1921-1996).

Born in Poland, Stefan, was imprisoned in a labour camp in 1939, was an RAF Spitfire pilot from 1942-1945, after the war he studied at the Central School of Arts and Crafts and at Slade. At the endof a long life he completed his last murals of The Battle of Britain for Heathrow Airport and the Warsaw Metro.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also resident at the Mid-Wales Arts Centre was the film producer Richard Heeley, who was filming the making of ‘Vintage Voltage’ at nearby Newtown. So, I photographed him with John Evan’s own electric car.

 

Bernard Mitchell, 2021

Clive Hicks Jenkins

Clive Hicks-Jenkins was born in Newport, South Wales, in 1951. The early part of his career was as a choreographer and stage director. In the 1990s he turned away from theatre to concentrate on painting. He has been praised by critics in The Independent, Modern Painters and Art Review. Simon Callow has called him ‘one of the most individual and complete artists of our time’ and Nicholas Usherwood in Galleries has described his work as ‘reflective, expressive painting of the highest order.’ Here he is, photographed by myself at his latest exhibition, Adventures in Books at The Martin Tinney Gallery this week, open from the 7th-30th October. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On my travels through Wales from the Mid Wales Arts Centre in Caersws, I called in to visit Clive Hicks Jenkins and Peter Wakelin in their rural retreat near Llanilar where Clive was busy working in his attic studio.

 

 

 

 

 

Obit for Nicolas Mcdowall

It’s difficult to understand that, there will be no more trips to visit Nicolas and Frances at Catchmays Court, Llandogo, no more beautiful volumes from The Old Stile Press. To sit in rooms with every wall covered in wonderful paintings and talk of poets and artists and the next project that Nicolas was planning. I invited Steph Mastoris, Letterpress Printer and Director of the Waterfront Museum in Swansea, to visit the Old Stile Press and meet Nicolas, it was a day to remember and take my last photograph of Nicolas.

Nicolas took great care to choose the right artist for the text or poem, and here are two examples of  how that relationship between artist, writer and publisher grew.

White Voices the story of The Childrens’ Crusade by Marcel Schwab was translated from the French by Malcolm Parr with his friend  Keith Bayliss producing the powerful woodcuts. Glenys Cour was chosen because of her friendship with the poet Vernon Watkins and his wife Gwen for both Taliesin and the Mockers and Black Marigolds, using black and white images collated from cut and torn line blocks. Many other Welsh artists were recruited over the years, including Clive Hicks-Jenkins, Bert Isaac, Roberts Macdonald, Sara Philpott and John Petts whose uninked blocks, were released from the National Library for the printing of The Laugharne Poems by Dylan Thomas.

 

Bernard Mitchell, 2021

A Tribute for Josef, Malcolm and the great R.S.

Josef Janda was a Czech surrealist poet, who I met in Prague over many a beer, and Malcolm taught me English, in Swansea. So here is my tribute to the pair of friends who partied at my home in Craig Cefn Parc. Josef’s book ‘Free Style’ translated into English, by Dada ( Dagmar Stepankova, and edited by the other Welsh surrealist David Greenslade, and to round my tribute off, a print given to me by Malcolm with a poem by him for the late great R.S. Thomas, designed by the wonderful Paul Peter Piech.

Bernard Mitchell 2021

Roger Cecil, A Secret Artist

Roger Cecil, one of the Great Artists of Wales tragically passed away in 2015. As a tribute to his life and work, I would like to share with you a fine book by art historian Peter Wakelin who has recently curated Roger Cecil –  A Secret Artist which is currently open at the Brecon Museum and Gallery until the end of October 2021. 

Roger was a dear friend. Here he his is at his home and studio in Abertillery, where I photographed him on many occasions.

Roger Cecil, A Secret Artist by Peter Wakelin Published in 2017. 

 

Bernard Mitchell, 2021.

 

An Obit for Mel Gooding

I am sad to report the passing of Mel Gooding, art historian, writer and curator.

Mel Gooding

Mel was married to Rhiannon, daughter of Ceri Richards, author of the definitive volume, Ceri Richards, and curator of many exhibitions at the Glynn Vivian Gallery in Swansea.

It was a privilege to visit their home in Barnes, London, which is a treasure trove of the life and work of Ceri, transferred from his Edith Grove home and studio in Chelsea, where I photographed him in 1966. To see these images visit The Swansea Gang, in About Bernard Mitchell. 

Mel with Aeronwy Thomas, daughter of Dylan Thomas at the Glynn Vivian Gallery, Swansea, 2001. 

Cover of the book, Ceri Richards. 

Rhea Seren Phillips, Poet

Dr Rhea Seren Phillips studied for a PhD at Swansea University (2016-2020). Her research centred on the way in which the Welsh metrical tradition could be adapted to reinterpret the cultural identification of modern Wales.

Her debut collection, Grandiloquent Wretches, published by Boiled String and Hafan Books, was released in 2020. She has also published a pamphlet titled SHumbert SHumbert, published by The Literary Pocket Book (2020).

Rhea’s poetry and academic research has recently appeared in Molly Bloom, Tears in the Fence and Blackbox Manifold (2021). Previous publications (2017-2020) include: The Edge of Necessary: Welsh Innovative Poetry 1966 – 2018 published by Boiled String and Aquifer Press (October 2018), Molly Bloom, Poetry Wales , Envoi (Cinnamon Press) The Lonely Crowd, Gogoneddus Ych-a-Fi: an exhibition of work by contemporary Surrealists (Cardiff Metropolitan University, February – April 2018), The Conversation and The Luxembourg Review (2017), among other publications. She has read for Molly Bloom (2020) and Multilingual Poetry – Tears in the Fence Festival 2020. Also, she has read at The Blackbox & CP&P Reading: Welsh Innovative Poetry (2021).

SHumbert SHumbert, Rhea Seren Phillips, published by The Literary Pocket Book, 2020.

Poems by Rhea

 

Hiraeth Turned Salty in the Pharynx

They rolled Hiraeth round their mouth like needles;

earmarked it for an allied nation to

conceal in homesickness, misconstruing

a weight that tears at the ligaments of our tongue.

 

Morgen Soused Sodium Within Muscles

An omniscient voice bellowed from the scud of obscurity.

Pinched, Morgen drank the message through mutinous gills,

saw shadows of paper boats emerge from the pother

and swam up to greet the rickety old things that had soldered

iron upon themselves like starfish; broken under their battle cry,

she whispered to a caustic wind that overwhelmed them.

A smile thick as cream made them into tin-pot diving bells

as the archaic language oxidises them with salt.

 

Visual Art by Mark Sanders

This poem-collage is part of a project conceived and edited by David Greenslade, titled Imagined-Invited.  Writers were invited to compose a poem in which they invite anyone from time and space.  At least one visitor should have a connection to Wales and, ideally, another game should be mentioned.  Many were invited.  In the end twenty-one poets took part.  Participating poets came from Canada (2), Czech Republic (1), Ireland (2), France (1), Romania ((4), Wales (9) and the USA (1). Poem by Rhea Seren Phillips. The poem is a loose Villanelle. The voices are Lynette Roberts (An Argentine poet who settled in Wales and used characteristics of the Welsh metrical tradition in her poetry; Rosie who is known as her peasant friend in her poetry; and, Count Olaf from A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. The poem considers class issues.

You can follow Rhea on Twitter @rhea_seren.

 

Keith Bayliss – Visual Artist

‘Keith Bayliss ‘ work is figurative and expressive – his motif, the human figure in the landscape. He works in a variety of mediums: pencil and ink on paper, oil on canvas, relief printing and more recently, small mixed media sculptural constructions’

“Bernard turned up to take photographs of me again, as in his words “an older artist”

We first met when I was organising the first Ceri Richards Festival, I was then Community Arts Officer at the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery. Bernard was looking for an opportunity to use his photographs of Richards in his studio. The outcome was an opportunity for me to purchase, for the gallery, the photos of Richards and additional photographs of the wonderful small circle of artists and musicians associated with Dylan Thomas, who then became known as the Kardomah Gang.

Bernard’s “obsession” with the making of images of creatives, living and associated with Wales is now legendary. What many do not realise is that in his journeying through the landscape, studio to studio, Bernard has brought together artists and created opportunities.

Here he is again, this time in my kitchen, asking me what I am up to and I explain the drawings I found myself making in response to the troubles we are all sharing. I talk of an “installation” I want to create for a “Field of Souls”. Bernard immediate response was to offer ideas for who to contact and where to show. That’s Bernard.”

Words by Keith Bayliss

Swansea, September 2021

Hortus Conclusus / The Enclosed Garden by Keith Bayliss. 

You can learn more about Keith Bayliss’ practice via www.keithbayliss.co.uk