Galleries - October 2011

career by the Pembrokeshire land- scape, often expressed torment. Based on the Gallery’s collection, it makes connections between his images and the objects that Sutherland owned, and between people and places that shaped his development. The National Muse- um has also become, not surpris- ingly, the focal point for the city’s most firmly established commer- cial galleries, Martin Tinney and Kooywood , for instance, both literally a stone’s throw away from each other and from the museum itself. Both, too, are showing major, established figures from the contemporary Welsh painting scene, Kevin Sinnott and Brendan Stuart Burns respectively. Now in his mid-60s, Sinnott’s career has been an interesting one and typical of the unmist- akable emergence of a clearer sense of artistic identity (and con- fidence) within the Principality over the years since the ann- ouncement and establishment of the Welsh National Assembly. With a well-established career in London in the 70s and 80s, Sinnott’s decision to return to his native country in 1995 has proved a huge success with 8 solo shows, a monograph (Seren Books) and major, hugely popular purchases by the National Museum. The work itself, in a bold figurative/ narrative style, has continued to develop and change in highly distinctive directions. Brendan Stuart Burns, a gener- ation younger than Sinnott, made a similar journey, from Welsh art school to the Slade in London before returning to Wales in the 90s where he has enjoyed great success as an abstract landscape painter. Focusing on the rockpools of a remote beach in Pembroke- shire, Burns’ complex technique, which involves layers of built-up encaustic wax and oil of an almost sculptural tactility, possesses an ethereal delicacy of remarkable richness, a vision of nature that is also intensely painterly. The show is followed by the powerful landscapes of Matthew Snowden (from 13 October). adventurous shows, such as that (from 22 Oct) dedicated to Christine Kinsey’s videos and paintings. Moving steadily east now, Harl lfold’s show, Can we know God? at Cfarthfa Castle in Merthyr Tydfil asks those same questions, albeit in a more mystical way, that we saw raised in Sue Williams’ show. Then further over again, The Art Shop in Abergavenny has a small gallery upstairs whose rooms open off one another like a series of Russian dolls. The quirky, medi- eval space with its uneven walls and floors chimes with William Brown’s lino-block and silkscreen prints, paintings and drawings: direct and unsentimental as a child’s, they make the world seem a brave, good, funny place to be. Close to the English border, the Monnow Valley Arts Centre has its own dreamy location in east Wales. If the weather holds, you could spend time contemplating Wales’s timelessness – and reflec- ting on the world’s wickedness – by trying out the beautiful garden benches, designed in wood and stone and metal by 20 artists who were asked to bring something new to garden furniture. All this touring of Wales’s remarkable regional network of galleries takes no account, of course, of what’s also going on in its more densely populated urban areas, most notably the capital, Cardiff. The National Museum & Gallery’s current Artist in Focus show, for example, is Graham Sutherland whose work, strongly influenced at a key point in his 68. GALLERIES OCTOBER 11 page 18 pleasing local scenes by Bryan Griffiths and a rolling programme of other events makes it doubly alluring. It’s not the only one on the island either: go to Oriel Tegfryn and you’ll catch the tail end of Gwilym Pritchard’s decep- tively childlike post-impressionist landscapes. Meanwhile, in Holy- head itself, the Ucheldre Centre continues to uphold its encoura- ging policy of Art for All. Staying in the north, you can also see good things at Y Capel in Llangollen while in Bangor, the Gwynedd Museum ’s exhibition The Quality of Things asks you to question whether still life painting is really about inanimate objects or something more subtle. Over on the Llyn Peninsula, Oriel Plas Glyn y Weddw presents new work by Keith Bowen and others. His fine drawings and pastels of the landscape and its people de- rive from a love of nature, of native peoples and minority cultures. Right down south, the Pem- brokeshire coastline is one of the most spectacular. Artists love it here, and Harbour Lights in the fishing port of Porthgain has long since made a virtue of the fact, showing well-established painters and sculptors as well as new- comers, all with something to say about the place. Then, further south-east, in the Pembrokeshire town of Narberth, Gallery Q ( Queen’s Hall Gallery ) has some- how survived Arts Council of Wales cuts in 2007 via a 3 year Lottery grant, to put on really ART IN WALES William Brown ‘Circle Game II’ (detail) at The Art Shop