Galleries - February Issue

caricature or cliché when Kyffin (known by his first name alone) seemed to imitate himself almost as much as he was imitated by others. He remarked “It is ironic that I am the most loved and most honoured Welsh artist of all time and yet I am hated by the art world.” He had a considerable capacity for self-promotion as a raconteur and autobiographer. He was an RA, the only Welshman ever to have been knighted for his art, and awarded perhaps the ultimate, an invitation to ‘Desert Island Discs’. If curators felt his extraordinary success was disproportionate they still acquired his paintings. When he died in 2006, his estate totalled £6m. He left sums to the Royal Cambrian Academy, the Ucheldre Centre and MoMA Machynlleth ; he donated paintings to Oriel Môn ; and his bequest to the National Library of Wales created an authoritative collection of 200 oils and 1,500 works on paper. The centenary sees the Kyffin phenomenon explored anew. The National Library’s exhibition (in the Gregynog Gallery) combines paintings, sketchbooks, archives and films. Oriel Môn shows his paintings. Martin Tinney Gallery and Tegfryn Gallery are holding selling shows in April. Then in May, Lund Humphries brings out a monograph by Rian Evans and Nicholas Sinclair ‘Kyffin Williams: The Light and the Dark’. Peter Wakelin Contemporary craft proves its creative streak with a London calendar date this month at the Saatchi Gallery for the Crafts Council’s Collect 2018, its 14th edition, and this year bringing together 39 exhibitors from four continents. Expect museum-quality works and installations from those heralded as some of the most talented makers in the UK, USA, South Korea, Japan, France, Norway, Italy, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden; home based galleries including London Glassblowing Studio and The Cynthia Corbett Gallery . Peter Layzell – the artist whose work features on Galleries’ cover this month – is interested in Flemish Renaissance painting as is evident, and he is especially drawn to the exquisite polished panel paintings of Van Eyck, Dieric Bouts and Gerard David. He has exhibited with Portal Painters since 1998. going from strength to strength. I can say this having been a judge in 2012; good though that was, this one is better still with increasingly major figures being drawn in by both the size of the prize money – at £30,000 for the winner the richest prize for a single work of art in the UK, not to mention £15,000 in additional prizes – and the consistently high calibre of the selectors – Helen Pheby, senior curator at Yorkshire Sculpture Park among them. The sponsors must be absolutely delighted as they plan for the tenth show; meanwhile go and see it for yourself and then cast your vote for the £10,000 Visitors’ Prize – the choice will be tough but you most certainly won’t be disappointed. Nicholas Usherwood As his centenary in May approaches, Kyffin Williams should be seen not just as a painter but as a cultural phenomenon, an archetype of Welsh art. His paintings are readily recognisable – dark landscapes laid on by palette knife in earth colours sparked with green. The best possess a powerful formality, as weighty as a granite wall, conjuring the endlessness of the grey sea and the unity of land and people. His portraits lend dignity to soldiers, schoolboys and farm labourers. Yet there were whiffs of FEBRUARY 2018 GALLERIES 9 from left E dgar Degas ‘Danseuse se frottant le genou’ Browse & Darby Kyffin Williams ‘Sunset, Anglesey’ Gregynog Gallery, The National Library of Wales Romuald Hazoumè ‘Noosa’ October Gallery Cathy Lewis ‘Nowhere near Gotham’ Mall Galleries Louis Thompson ‘Desire’ London Glassblowing C over story Defining craft One hundred