Glynn Vivian Art Gallery: blog

October 17, 2014
by Laura

Group Perspectives: Past and Present

Over 55's (Glyn Vivian Art Gallery) Art class at the YMCA in Swansea

Over 55′s (Glyn Vivian Art Gallery) Art class at the YMCA in Swansea

A new exhibition of work by the Gallery’s Wednesday afternoon adult art class is now on display at the Civic Centre in Swansea. Reproductions of works by famous Welsh artists like Gwen John and Joseph Herman are among the selection of drawing and paintings which can be found on the second floor corridor, next to the council chambers.

The art classes for the over 55s, run at the YMCA on The Kingsway, began at the Gallery in January 2010.

The classes were set up to inspire our adult audiences to learn new skills through workshops focused around the collection, exhibitions and their own personal experiences. Whilst this display comprises paintings, drawings and prints, people taking part in the workshops have been able to work with a variety of materials and techniques, ranging from clay and plaster to drawing and print. Tablet computers have also been used to create digital artworks.

In this display, we’re showcasing the work the group has made both independently outside of the classes prior to attending the group, and through participating regularly. The classes give participants the opportunity to meet new people and to look, discuss and create artworks. For some, the classes have provided an opportunity to rekindle a passion for making artworks that was hampered by ill-health or circumstance. For others, it has been a chance to be creative where the opportunity, space or technical know-how was not available before.

This exhibition presents a small selection of their artworks and recognises their diverse output to date.

The work is open for everyone to view, for directions, please ask at the main reception desk at the Civic Centre.

The Wednesday afternoon adult classes for over 55s are currently full.

To register your interest and put your name on our reserve list, call the Gallery on 01792 516900. For a full programme of Offsite activities and workshops, please visit our website.

September 11, 2014
by Laura

The Wakelin Award 2014

Clare Woods, 'Untitled', 2009. Courtesy of the artist and Buchmann Galerie Berlin

Clare Woods, ‘Untitled’, 2009. Courtesy of the artist and Buchmann Galerie Berlin

Join us for the presentation of this year’s Wakelin Award which is taking place this Friday 12 September at 6.30pm, at the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea.

The Gallery’s annual award is given to a Welsh artist, whose work is purchased for the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery’s Permanent Collection. Previous award winners include Robert Harding, David Tress, Pete Davis, Craig Wood, David Garner, Tim Davies, Dick Chappell, Brendan Stuart Burns, Anthony Shapland, Catrin Webster, Jonathan Anderson, Meri Wells, David Cushway and Helen Sear.

The winner for 2014 is Clare Woods.

Clare Woods originally trained in sculpture, and has since developed her practice as a painter, rooting her work in the landscape of Wales. Until recently, her paintings were often very large in scale and executed in gloss and enamel paints. Over the past few years she has made smaller, more intimately scaled works, using oil on aluminium. These new works feature in the artist’s first major exhibition in Wales, A Tree A Rock A Cloud, currently at Oriel Davies Gallery, Newtown. Glynn Vivian Art Gallery is therefore very pleased to present a selection of Clare’s paintings in the medium of watercolour, to complement her work in this important exhibition.

Clare Woods was born in Southampton in 1972, and completed her MA in Fine Art at Goldsmith’s College, London in 1999, following a BA in Fine Art at Bath College of Art. She has exhibited widely in the UK, Europe and America and her work is represented increasingly in major collections including Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales which purchased Hill of Hurdles, 2010. She has recently had solo exhibitions in Southampton, London, Wakefield, Copenhagen and Berlin.

This year’s selector is Amanda Farr, Director of Oriel Davies Gallery, Newtown.  Amanda has selected the work of Clare Woods because of the remarkable compositions, often revealing tensions between solid form and hollow space, playing with foreground and background, to set up curious and unsettling situations.

Selector, Amanda Farr says of the work, ”In working with Clare Woods for the exhibition at Oriel Davies, I realised that there was a whole body of remarkable watercolours which would really work well in the context of Glynn Vivian Art Gallery’s collection, which includes such a long tradition of  outstanding Welsh landscapes from the 18th century onwards. To add contemporary work from the 21st century seemed to offer great richness and relevance for future generations to enjoy. I love the watercolours for their play with light and shade, for their colour and vibrancy, and the excitement of working in such a fluid and dynamic way on a large scale”.

Clare Woods says, “The watercolours which will be on display were inspired by the time I spent exploring the Welsh landscape in recent years, so I am delighted that my work will be joining a major public collection in Swansea, and I am pleased to have been selected. The Wakelin Award offers recognition and is enabling for artists such as myself, and I would like to thank the organisers for their generosity. I am sure there are many other artists who will be supported by the Award in time to come”.   

The Award is administered by the Friends of the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery and is generously supported by donations in memory of Richard and Rosemary Wakelin, who were themselves artists and active supporters of the arts in Swansea. Their son, Dr Peter Wakelin, said, “‘It is important for both artists and museums that current works are added to the collections of the future. We are very grateful to the Friends of the Glynn Vivian for supporting this Award and helping to maintain the Gallery’s reputation as one of the best places to see Welsh art, even in this period when it’s closed during major refurbishment. People are always astonished when they find out how small the purchasing budgets are for public galleries in Wales, which need all the help they can get to represent current Welsh art in their collections.”

The Award will be presented at 6.30pm, Friday 12 September at the National Waterfront Museum Swansea. Admission is free.

August 13, 2014
by Laura

It’s an Art Party

Image Credit - Tony Bartholemew

Image Credit – Tony Bartholemew

On Thursday 21 August, GCSE results day, the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery will be joining up with other galleries across the UK to simultaneous screen Art Party; a new film collaboration between director Tim Newton and artist Bob and Roberta Smith.

The film will appear on the Big Screen in Castle Square from 5pm and our young people’s group Black Kettle Collective have been getting in the party spirit by organising events to help celebrate this momentous event.

On Friday 15 August from 1 – 4pm, Black Kettle Collective will be hosting a one-off  ‘Art Party Tie Dye Workshop’ at the YMCA. They will be showing you how to make swirly rainbow paintings on fabric, for you to wear at the Art Party. Plain T-shirts are provided but feel free to bring your own items to dye onto.

Booking is essential so call 01792 516900 or email to signup.

If you can’t make the workshops but would like to join the Art Party, then don’t panic – Black Kettle would also like to invite you to dress as your favourite artist to join our fun parade through Castle Square from 5pm showing off your wacky costumes and rainbow creations.

Megan Leigh from Black Kettle said “Our celebration of Arts Party will be vibrant, swirly and one of a kind!”

You can follow the Art party on Twitter using #artparty2014. Don’t forget to tag @GlynnVivian #tiedye #myfavouriteartist

Image Credit -  Tony Bartholemew

Image Credit – Tony Bartholemew

About Art Party In November 2013, artist Bob & Roberta Smith hosted The Art Party Conference in Scarborough, an artist’s alternative to the annual party political conference that often happen in coastal towns. It presented an opportunity to celebrate art and artists, acting as a forum for debating the future of the arts in the climate of spending cuts and changes to the education system. The aim of the conference was to better advocate the arts in education to Government.

Out of the conference came The Art Party film, part documentary, part road movie and part political fantasy, The Art Party feature film captures the spirit of the Scarborough conference, championing the importance of art and its place in education and modern politics. The film stars John Voce as Michael Grove MP and Julia Rayner as his parliamentary aid, featuring work and comment by artists as diverse as Cornelia Parker, John Smith, Haroon Mirza, Jeremy Deller and Jessica Voorsanger. With original music by Flameproof Moth, the Ken Ardley Playboys and The F***s.

A kaleidoscopic mix of performance, artist interviews and imagined scenes, Art Party is written and directed by Tim Newton & Bob and Roberta Smith. Produced by Tim Newton & Bob and Roberta Smith with Stuart Cameron at Crescent Arts and distributed by Cornerhouse Artist Film.

The film is a 12A and the running time is 80 mins. Check out the Cornerhouse website to see the other Galleries taking part.

Visit our website for all Glynn Vivian Offsite information. All events are free.

July 4, 2014
by Laura

Off to the Farm

Wool for felt making workshop

Wool for felt making workshop

Glynn Vivian Offsite is going on the road again with our summer Road Shows, taking art to community door-steps across Swansea.

After successful Glynn Vivian Road Shows in Portmead and Craigfelen in Clydach, we’re visiting the Swansea Community Farm Summer Festival in Fforestfach this Saturday 5 July to share our collection and offer free arts activities.

Special workshops and talks have been planned for the day including outdoor painting and felt-making using some of the wool recently sheared from sheep at the farm.

Our team of art experts will be on hand and we’re urging people to come and share their own collections with us too. Whether it’s toys, football memorabilia, vinyl records, stamps, cards or badges we want residents to come and talk to us about their treasured possessions.

My Collection

My Collection

Lots of people have been sharing their collections with our experts so far and we’ve been excited to see the fascinating objects that people in Swansea collect.

The Road Show at Swansea Community Farm will have some great farm-themed activities for the whole family to enjoy and we are very grateful to the staff and volunteers at the farm for letting us be a part of their Summer Festival this year.

The Summer Festival is free and opens at 10am. Entertainment on the day is provided by The Squirrel Hillbillies from America and Swansea’s The Minnesota Module charity band.

City and County of Swansea Recycling Team, Razzledazzle Jewellery and Mencap are just some of the stall holders who will be at the event.

Glynn Vivian Road ShowOther activities include face painting, pyrography, demonstrations on spinning, plant sales, animal tours and much more.

The Glynn Vivian Road Show will also be visiting other Swansea communities in the summer, including Bonymaen and Sandfields in August.

Have a look at our website or call 01792 516900 for more information.

June 18, 2014
by Laura

Artist in Residence: Now and Then

Artist Studio, Zanne Andrea, YMCA Swansea

Artist Studio, Zanne Andrea, YMCA Swansea

Since October 2012, Glynn Vivian Art Gallery has been running an Artist in Residence programme at our offsite base at the YMCA, Swansea.

The Artist in Residence programme is an opportunity for the community to engage with an artist, offering the artist time for reflection, research and collaboration.

Here, our current Artist in Residence for May – June 2014, Zanne Andrea, talks about her experiences in Swansea and how observations made during her time have potentially opened up new ideas and directions for her future work.

We also take a look back to June 2013 and catch up with Artist in Residence from June 2013, Huw Andrews, to bring you his latest work, The Conversation, which he began during his time in Swansea.

Join Zanne Andrea for her final Artist Talk this Thursday 19 June at 5.30pm at the YMCA, Swansea. No booking required, everyone welcome.

'studio - work in progress'  Zanne Andrea

‘studio – work in progress’ Zanne Andrea

“I have had two open studios throughout my residency.  There is an element of vulnerability in letting the public into a part of your practice that is usually carried out behind closed doors.  It can feel a little exposing inviting people into your studio to see works that aren’t necessarily finished, to see ideas that aren’t fully formed, to see the elements and bits that you pick, choose or may even discard. However I do have a certain reliance on the associations other people make about the objects and images I collect and the arrangement I make. No matter how exposed I might have felt, having a chance to hear how others engage with my process and the things in my studio was something I was really looking forward to.  My process of working with the materials I collect is continuous and I’m often not exactly sure what I might be making until something ‘clicks’.  The immediate responses given during Open Studios have been helpful in thinking about potential changes and challenges to what I’ve been in the process of making. The observations made have potentially opened some new ideas and directions for future work as well.  I feel refreshed and invigorated with the possibilities.  I had the pleasure of engaging with some of the members of the Black Kettle Collective as well.  I really enjoyed meeting them, talking to them about their own work and the potential challenges and considerations of continuing life as an artist after university.  I wish them all the best!”

Zanne Andrea, June 2014

Huw Andrews, The Conversation, 2014

Huw Andrews, The Conversation, 2014

During his GVAG residency last year, Huw Andrews sorted and experimented with a selection of text, audio and video material he had collected from Asia over an 18 month period. A specific project, Searching for Jonathan Williams, was his central focus. Associating this name with Wales, Huw asked an American teaching colleague in Bangkok, Jonathan Williams, to sound record parts of his week. Using one of these conversations, Huw began editing The Conversation, (2014) last year and completed it last month.

Watch ‘The Conversation’ here.

About the work: Dialogue between Jonathan and Mizuno in Bangkok (2013). Andrews asked Jonathan, a teaching colleague, to record some conversations. By chance, Andrews had unused footage from countries discussed: China (2012), France (2010) and the USA (2009). In China, Andrews joked about painted trees, staff surveillance and tennis dancing with university colleagues. The video’s motif, the university’s administration building, tries to process their foreign conversations by projecting distant imagery. However, the structure begins to see the absurdities too, malfunctioning then shutting down.

May 30, 2014
by Laura

Dylan Thomas Notebooks arrive in Swansea

Potrait of Dylan Thomas by Alread Janes, 1964. (c) Ros Janes & Hilly Janes. City and County of Swansea: Glynn Vivian Art Gallery Collection

Potrait of Dylan Thomas by Alread Janes, 1964. (c) Ros Janes & Hilly Janes. City and County of Swansea: Glynn Vivian Art Gallery Collection

Rare notebooks and manuscripts written by Dylan Thomas will be going on display in Swansea for the very first time, beginning with a special opening event at the Dylan Thomas Centre from 7pm this evening, Friday 30 May.

The exhibition will be made up of four poetry notebooks and a red prose notebook written between 1930 and 1934 and will be available to view at the Centre until Sunday August 31.

The notebooks contain Dylan’s early poems written in Swansea between the ages of 15 and 19 as well as early drafts of some of his most famous works.

The documents, which have arrived on loan from the University of Buffalo in the USA, include extracts from letters that refer to the poems and the processes involved in their writing, and a self-portrait in coloured pencil that Dylan drew on the back of a letter to the writer Pamela Hansford Johnson.

They tell us so much about Dylan’s creative process and the extraordinary talent he was lucky enough to have at such a young age.

It’ll be the first time the collection has returned to Swansea since its sale in the 1940s.

Also included in the exhibition will be drawings of his friends from the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery Collection.

The exhibition is in partnership with the National Library of Wales and is curated as part of Swansea Council’s year-long Dylan Thomas 2014 Festival. Swansea Council will be running talks, workshops and guided tours based on the notebooks exhibition.

Have a look at  for more information or call 01792 463980.

Entry is free. Everyone welcome, no booking required.

May 23, 2014
by Laura

Offsite and on tour

Glynn Vivian Art Gallery Road ShowNext week, the Glynn Vivian team will be out in the community as our summer programme of free activities and events continues.

On Tuesday 27 May, we’ll be at our offsite home at the YMCA, where Swansea City Opera will be running an introduction to opera workshop and a day of vocal and performance workshops.

The workshop takes place 1pm to 4pm and is open to everyone, including families and children, so discover something new this half term holiday and improve your vocal talents. Book online or call 01792 516900. There will also be the opportunity to see the 2014 ‘Marriage of Figaro’ tour at the Taliesin Theatre for a concessionary rate for all participants.

Glynn Vivian Road ShowOn Wednesday 28 May, the first of our summer Road Shows takes place at Graigfelen Hall in Clydach from 12pm to 4pm. The Glynn Vivian Road Show is an opportunity for local residents to join in with free art activities, have a look at some of the Gallery’s ceramics collection and learn about conservation.

We’re looking for people to bring along their treasured collections to the Road Show; whether its Star Wars figures, works of art, model trains or Panini football sticker albums, we want residents to share them with us and let us know the stories behind them.

Other activities include art workshops and art trail, talks and demonstrations by conservators and experts and the chance to curate your own mini exhibition using our miniature gallery.

Visitors will also get the chance to select work from the Gallery’s collection to be reproduced and put on display in their community centre and selected sites throughout the city centre.

If you can’t make the Road Show, tweet us a picture of your collection at home @GlynnVivian #wecollect #rydymyncasglu

The Road Shows make up part of the Gallery’s exploration into the Richard Glynn Vivian bequest and the Gallery’s collection. Other Road Shows will follow at Swansea Community Farm in Fforestfach on July 5, the Vetch Field on August 9 and Bonymaen Family Centre on August 11.

Fable, Andreas RuthiOn Thursday 29 May from 5.30pm, we start our summer Artist Talks programme, beginning with Swiss painter Andreas Rüthi, who will be at the YMCA to talk about his work and the European tradition of still life painting in relation to modernism and more recent critical writing on still life.

Our Artist Talks series aims to challenge and engage our communities by offering them access to contemporary artists living and working in Wales. It gives people the opportunity to interact, debate and exchange ideas and to bridge the gap between our community audiences and the Gallery’s contemporary exhibitions programme.

All events are free. Everyone welcome, no booking required.

Have a look at our website or call 01792 516900 for more information.

May 16, 2014
by Laura

Glynn Vivian Artist in Residence – Zanne Andrea

Zanne Andrea, He raises his telescope to the stars and delivers himself to the rock, 2013

Zanne Andrea, He raises his telescope to the stars and delivers himself to the rock, 2013

The Gallery’s Artist in Residence for May and June, Zanne Andrea, talks about her experiences so far and what she hopes to achieve throughout her time in Swansea.

“I started my residency with a few ideas of things I wanted to research. After arriving in Swansea I decided to spend the first few days wandering around the city, purposely trying to clear my thoughts and see what called out to me. I started, as usual, by collecting things; objects found in local shops, items rescued off the street, litter scooped up off the paths along the beach, books from the wonderful free bookshop. I came back to the studio and carefully arranged these items next to ones I had brought with me from Bristol and started playing. It began simply as an investigation of the city around me, and has been a useful process to help me consider where and how my practice might intersect with this particular city. Synchronicity plays a role in my process and often leads me to interesting connections. Right before being invited as artist in residence I had picked up a book written by an anarchist who had been very active in Swansea during the 60’s and 70’s.  I had also started to read an autobiography of Abbie Hoffman, a well-known and often mythologised U.S. activist/revolutionary figure. Last year I found a book in a charity shop titled “Terrorists and Freedom fighters”   but before finding this I had come across a small lot of 35mm slides on ebay of various dictators, including a one Fidel Castro. The other day I spent some time in the Richard Burton archives at SwanseaUniversity reading letters between Emma Goldman, a famous anarchist, and her Welsh husband and friend Jim Colton. I discovered she lectured throughout south Wales, including Swansea in the 1920’s and 30’s. All of these things, discovered at different times, have been slowly leading me to questions of autonomy, memory and the romanticizing/mythologizing of revolutionary figures and struggles, and potentially the fine line between terrorist and freedom fighter. On my next visit I will start making and see if any of these ideas start coming together!”

Zanne Andrea

May 2014

May 6, 2014
by Laura

Make plans with Glynn Vivian offsite this summer

Portrait of Dylan Thomas by Alfred Janes, 1964. (c) Ross Janes & Hilly Janes. City and County of Swansea: Glynn Vivian Art Gallery Collection

Portrait of Dylan Thomas by Alfred Janes, 1964. (c) Ross Janes & Hilly Janes. City and County of Swansea: Glynn Vivian Art Gallery Collection

The Glynn Vivian Art Gallery programme for May to August 2014 is out now and available to view on our website.

The Gallery has an exciting and interesting programme of exhibitions, artist talks and workshops this summer and we hope that you will come along to see us at one or more of our forthcoming events.

From 31 May, selected paintings and drawings from the Gallery’s collection will be on display at the Dylan Thomas Centre, as part of a new exhibition of Dylan Thomas’ Notebooks and portraits of his close friends. The exhibition is part of Swansea Council’s year-long Dylan Thomas 2014 festival and the exhibition brings poetry books and letters to the UK for the first time, on loan from State University of New York at Buffalo.

Glynn Vivian’s offsite Artist in Residence for May to June is Zanne Andrea. Join her in Open Studio on Tuesday 13 May & 10 June, 4-5pm to talk about her work and residency. Everyone welcome, no booking required.

Our exhibitions and activities are also complemented by our community learning programmes, offering access to artists and facilities and the chance to learn new skills for a number of local Swansea residents.

Join our Young Art Force for 14-24 year olds

Join our Young Art Force for 14-24 year olds

In May, we are launching the new Young Art Force, for young people aged 14 – 24 who are currently not in employment, education or training. Young Art Force takes place at the YMCA on Mondays and Tuesdays from 13 May, 10am – 1pm and participants will work with artists on creative projects to gain Arts Award accreditation.

To find out more, call 01792 516900 or email

Black Kettle Collective, our group of young students and graduates aged 14-24, work together to plan events for young audiences in Swansea and this summer they will be running events alongside the screening of Bob and Roberta Smith’s The Art Party! in Castle Square on 21 August. The group meet regularly every other Tuesday at the YMCA from 5-7pm and new members are always welcome.

To see our full programme of activities, including workshops for adults and holiday activities for children and families, visit our website.

April 16, 2014
by Laura

Community Café, Views from the Collection

Community Cafe

Community Cafe discussions at YMCA, Swansea

Our current Community Café series concludes this Thursday 17 April, 5.30pm – 6.30pm at the YMCA Swansea.

Join us for the third and final talk by curator, art historian and artist Ceri Thomas, looking at the visual culture of South Wales from 1910, using works from the Glynn Vivian Collection. In this talk, Ceri will be focussing on the period from 1980 to the present day.

Join in our lively illuminated discussions as we take a closer look at the Gallery’s collection and consider the future displays of the Gallery.

No booking required, everyone welcome, limited seating available.

Tea and coffee provided. We look forward to seeing you there!

Next Community Café:

Thursday 10 July, 5.30pm at the YMCA, Swansea

Join our mailing list to receive our summer brochure. Coming soon.

Discover Swansea logo Friends of the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery logo
Arts Council of Wales logo Welsh Assembly Government logo Tate Plus logo Heritage Lottery Fund Logo City and County of Swansea logo