BEATE GEGENWART: ALWAYS WATER, 8 April – 17 June 2017, MOMA MACHYNLLETH
Mon – Sat 10 am – 4 pm at MOMA Machynlleth
Beate Gegenwart is a maker, curator and academic who lives and works on the
Gower Peninsular near Swansea. Originally from Germany, she studied at the
University of Wales, Cardiff and the University of the West of England, completing
two Master degrees. Drawing, mark-making, the explicit connections between
material, process and maker as well as an emphasis on concept and idea are all
central to her practice as an artist.
She has exhibited nationally and internationally and curated numerous
exhibitions, touring to North America, France, The Netherlands and Germany. Her
work is held in both national and International collections.
Beate’s primary material is metal and she works mostly with vitreous enamels
(glass) on steel, further developed by drawing, mark making, abrading. Firing the
pieces several times, the surface is ground and abraded to a matt finish in places,
creating new relationships with the enamel; a crossing point between control and
chance. Her work is also informed by a passionate interest in digital technologies
such as laser and water jet cutting as well as 3D printing.
On Wednesday 7 June at 12pm you can hear Beate talk about her work as part
of our free series of Midday Market Day: Meet The Artist events.
Beate says about her work:
“Questions relating to place, location and by extension dislocation and
movement, are a continuous focus in my work. I am interested in the space ‘inbetween’,
speaking of distance, borderland and a positioning of identity.
Language occupies an important part in this inquiry, the idea of the ‘translator’
and the use of the ‘mother tongue’ as orientation, home and dwelling rather than
It is the fragmentary nature of a nomadic existence that underlies much of my
work, the fragile theoretical armature by which all kinds of personal narratives and
pictorial elements are joined together from many sources, written and visual as
well as from direct observations. Many drawings are based on architectural space
and the specifics of floors, stairs and ceilings, broken apart and re-assembled in
the field of the panel or in other pieces, small multiples, which grow out of solids.
Each piece is built layer upon layer of drawn imagery, beginning on paper:
drawings of lines, net structures with empty spaces, holes; the lines becoming the
space itself, conveying a sense of dynamic movement. Often these drawings are
then water jet or laser cut in stainless or mild steel. Cutting, incising and piercing
have been part of my vocabulary of drawing for a very long time. In the early days
as a practising ceramist I intricately incised and pierced very thin and fragile bone
china forms. These incisions, lines and holes created energetic movements
around and across the forms. The act of cutting through stainless steel with a
laser however is much more extreme – the high heat required to cut the steel
slightly deforms the metal creating physical tensions in strong contrast to the
original intricate mark making. I am aiming for an ever-increasing level of intricacy
and complexity, which means many unexpected results and having to very much
accept the ‘non perfect’, every piece is different. At the same time the lasers are
able to cut lines and marks finer and smaller than I would ever be able to
accomplish in steel by hand.”
DICK EVANS: WELSH CHAPELS
1 April – 20 May 2017
Mon – Sat 10 am – 4 pm
Throughout Wales chapels form a visual record of the last three centuries. Dick
Evan’s paintings set out to capture the essence of the chapels. He uses a
combination of drawing and collographs to produce the effects in his work.
Chapels are one of his favourite subjects. His style relies partly on accurate
drawing skills, learned as an architect, and partly on a free style of printmaking.
Born in St. Dogmaels, Dick Evans has worked as an architect in Cardiff,
Colombo, Jeddah, Singapore and Sydney before returning home in 2009.
Dick says about his work:
“I find preparing rolled images an exciting process. My method involves coating a
glass or plastic plate with a layer (or layers) of ink. A mask is placed on the paper
to protect areas to be retained free of ink. Two or three different colours or
patterns may be produced by changing the ink or mask. The excitement occurs
when the roller has ‘inked the paper’. The resulting mark depends on the
diameter of the roller, density and rolling of the ink coupled with the pressure
applied. The interaction is not always predictable and can lead to both
disappointment and exhilaration.
Translucency, fluidity and boldness are qualities that I aim for. My background
tells me to combine applied lines with the rolled areas, this accuracy has to be
fought against. The free relationship between line and rolled area is an aim, not
always achieved! I have some way to go before the t-square is fully erased.
Mistakes cannot be rectified and the excitement of the application comes across
in the finished work. Failure has to be accepted as a result of pushing the
medium to its limits. Each work is unique since the rolled layers and lines cannot
INSIDE THE STUDIO
8 April – 24 June 2017
Mon – Sat 10 am – 4 pm
New exhibition and book reveal legacy of ‘secret artist’
8 April to 24 June 2017
Roger Cecil made headlines in February 2015 when his body was found in a
field near Cwmbran. Police had issued an appeal two days earlier when a 72-
year-old man suffering from Alzheimer’s went missing from a hospital at Newport,
South Wales. Searches involved a helicopter and 50 police officers with dogs.
The subseqent inquest found he had died of hypothermia while trying to walk the
16 miles to his home at Abertillery through a winter night.
None of the initial publicity mentioned that Roger Cecil was an artist, but it soon
became apparent that this was one of the greatest painters Wales had produced.
Now his legacy is being celebrated with an exhibition and a new biography, both
launched at the Museum of Modern Art Machynlleth on Saturday 8 April.
Roger Cecil was an artist outside the mainstream.
Although he trained at Newport College of Art and
won a prestigious scholarship to the Royal College of
Art in London at the start of the swinging sixties, he
walked out on it after just a few weeks to come home
to Abertillery and work as a labourer in order to paint
on his own and without influence.
Mabon the Cat and Angharad and Me, 1990-5
Although to many his art was completely unknown, fellow artists and enthusiastic
collectors hugely admired it, not just in Wales but in London, where he showed quietly in
commercial galleries from the late 1980s onwards. Comparisons can be drawn with great
twentieth-century abstract artists but Roger Cecil was remarkably uninfluenced. The artist
Mary Lloyd Jones said in 2008, ‘I would rate him as one of the best painters in Britain, or
The new exhibition is titled Roger Cecil: Inside the Studio. It shows a sample of the
remarkable body of work still in his house after he died, alongside a fine group of his
paintings already in the collection of MOMA. It gives insights into his unique methods,
which involved materials he could find cheaply and tools he made himself, and the
terraced house where he was born and lived his whole life.
The book, Roger Cecil: A Secret Artist by Peter Wakelin, is the first full study of the artist’s
work and remarkable life story. It marks the discovery of an artist of real quality.
The reputation of Roger Cecil’s mesmerising art can only grow as his legacy is revealed.
Roger Cecil in his studio, courtesy of Bernard Mitchell
Roger Cecil (1942-2015) has been described as one of the great abstract artists of his
generation, yet in his lifetime he was hardly known outside a circle of fellow painters. He
was content to paint for himself, protecting his privacy and exhibiting rarely. If he did show
his work, collectors rushed to acquire it. Among curators, he was a legendary figure.
At art college in the early 1960s he was a star of his generation, but he walked out on a
scholarship to the Royal College of Art and returned to practise on his own in the South
Wales mining village and terraced house where he grew up. He devoted himself to
painting, living simply and working as a casual labourer, opencast miner and art tutor while
producing work of extraordinary beauty and sophistication. After his parents’ deaths the
whole house became his studio.
For more information visit: www.moma.machynlleth.org.uk