BLOG Stanzi Collier-Qureshy

NWR Issue 110

Little Picture Show

To call the exhibition currently on at the Albany Gallery in Cardiff eclectic is an understatement. On Wednesday 6 April, when I visited, I was almost overwhelmed by both the quality and the variety of the works. Though not only including Welsh artists, there was an undoubtedly Welsh feel to it, with many of the paintings showing moody seascapes and pastoral landscapes. However, this was not all. Mixed in among these traditionally classic artworks, there were abstracts, portraits, still-lifes and even some astoundingly kitsch and bright paintings.

Though small, the gallery has a surprisingly large wall space, and this exhibition covered every inch and even some of the floor space with beautifully stylish ceramics. With over sixty different artists, including notable names like Peter Wileman and the upcoming Peter Kettle, the exhibition had an assortment of works to suit any taste, all expertly arranged to create a dynamic yet somehow fluid journey through the maze of rooms. The gallery itself was light and warm, immediately putting you at ease so you can really appreciate this spectacular collection.

Not just the range of work, however, was notable. In an attempt to make the art more accessible, all that was on sale also varied dramatically in price, from just £50 all the way up to £5000; for the comparatively small price of £150 you can come away with a wonderful piece. Spread across three floors and three rooms, the artwork wound its way up from the entryway right up to an airy attic space where one of Peter Kettle’s astoundingly large Welsh seascapes catches the light and almost sparkles. Elsewhere in the upper room are some intriguing 3-D images of birds in nests.

Some other pieces that stood out are those by Therese Urbanska, using a mixed media to create luminescent images in a rich night-time blue. They conjured tales of the North Pole and riding a polar bear through snowy waters. Many of the paintings employed the use of thick slabs of oil or acrylic, managing to embody both the violence of stormy waves and the soft smudging of grey, romantic skies. Equally striking, though taking an unusual approach, is the work of Karl Davies. By painting with watery-yet-bold sepia tones, the artist created an atmosphere of a lively and almost jazz-like rural with his images of farmers feeding their sheep. Similar characters were portrayed in a completely different manner at the top of the stairs, through detailed charcoal sketches of farmers’ face by Alun Morgan.

But don’t take my word for it – this exhibition is worth an hour of your time! While all images in the exhibition are on the website’s online gallery, the pictures there really don’t do the paintings justice.

Stanzi Collier-Qureshy is a blogger-in-residence for New Welsh Review as part of her placement at Cardiff University’s School of English, Communication and Philosophy.

Little Picture Show is on at the Albany Gallery until 23 April

Pictured: 'Godrevy Cliffs, Cornwall' by Michael Carter, £225, oil on canvas, 25 x 30cm, courtesy Albany Gallery


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