Notes from Wales Issue 1: Autumn 2014 - Page 18

West Wales - making place The beauty of the countryside and coast has been a source of inspiration to the many artists who live way out west. < Farm Shop exhibition, Oriel Myrddin. Credit: Paul Emmanuel David Fitzjohn, Fimbulwinter at Oriel Myrrdin. Credit: David Fitzjohn > André Stitt’s beautiful series of paintings of west Wales, shown at Oriel Myrddin in 2013, were a stunning example of this, generated by his connection to a family farm near Aberporth and walks from Aberystwyth to Cardigan. There is a continuity of ‘community, culture and the land’ in west Wales, as Stitt has commented, in what is still largely an agricultural area. The region is supported by an excellent network of galleries with an ample geographic spread between them and much support for local and regional artists. Oriel Myrddin in Carmarthen, which shows the work of both artists and makers, manages an elegant balance of local and regional work from Welsh artists, as well as artists with a national and international profile. Oriel Myrddin’s recent show ‘Farm Shop’ exemplifies this – with work by Richard Higlett, Paul Emmanuel and others, it creates a place ‘where ideas about the cultured activity of ‘art’ and the rural activities of farming and rural productivity come together’. Place seems to be a clear focus in the programme – their winter show ‘Thin Place’, curated by Ciara Healy, showcases five artists living on the west coasts of Wales and Ireland and reflects an intimate engagement with place that encompasses the intangible and uncanny ties we have with particular locations. The Aberystwyth Art Centre is the largest institutional presence in the region, with a varied and engaging range of exhibitions programmed by curator Eve Ropek – this autumn sees the launch of ‘Images’, an exhibition of illustration which illuminates its impact on our visual culture. Alongside this, an exhibition of work by sculptor Tim Shaw, which Aberystwyth Art Centre co-curated with mac in Birmingham, will also be on show. Since working closely with Oriel Davies, Oriel Mwldan in Cardigan is showing much more work by contemporary artists. David Fitzjohn, a Cardiff-based painter, is showing Fimbulwinter, an installation that explores our changing climate and its impact on the landscape. NOTES FROM WALES | AUTUMN 2014 17