Glynn Vivian Art Gallery: blog

October 29, 2014
by Rory Duckhouse

Matt Cook: Artist Talk


Matt Cook, Comb Sculpture

Matt Cook, Comb Sculpture

Join us at the YMCA on Thursday 30 October  at 5.30pm to listen to artist  Matt Cook talk about his recent practice including work made for Cardiff Contemporary and his Creative Wales Award.

Matt Cook combines elements of sound, installation, assemblage and performance to create artworks inspired by walking in the city. Matt will discuss the inspiration behind his public installation for Cardiff Contemporary and the progress made with his Creative Wales award.

Matt Cook works with materials he finds in everyday life: objects, sounds, sights, sites, and experience, which he reassembles into installation and performance works that attempt to recreate his experience of the world.

matt cookHe has a particular interest in the city, its ambience and topography, which he approaches through walking, looking, listening, thinking and feeling. He reveals hidden structures in everyday life, sights and sounds that we regularly experience, but don’t usually notice.

Common to all his works is a live element, they are sonic and kinetic or demonstrate a real or imagined temporality.

Previous work includes commissions and exhibitions for firstsite, Colchester; Wysing Arts, Cambridge; Chapter, Cardiff; BCA, Bedford.

As well as his art practice, Matt also manages Warwick Hall Studios.

Visit the artist’s website.

To find out about other Glynn Vivian Offsite Artist Talks and Events, go to

Free, everyone welcome, no booking required.

October 29, 2014
by Laura

Glynn Vivian Road Show rolls into St Thomas, Swansea

'My Collection' at the Glynn Vivian Road Show

‘My Collection’ at the Glynn Vivian Road Show

We’re stopping by in St Thomas this half term – taking art to community door-steps across Swansea.

This Thursday 30 October the Gallery team will be visiting St Thomas Primary School to share our handling collection and offer free arts activities.

Special workshops have been planned for the day including painting demonstrations, paint mixing and hands-on creative workshops for all the family.

St. Thomas Primary School create 'Senses Boxes' for the Glynn Vivian Road Show

St. Thomas Primary School create ‘Senses Boxes’ for the Glynn Vivian Road Show

School children from St Thomas Primary have also been getting involved with the Road Show events this term by creating their own artwork inspired by the Gallery collection which will be on display for parents to come and see.

As part of the Road Shows we have been asking visitors to select art works from the collection, to be reproduced and put on display at community centres and various places in the city.

The Gallery has already installed up to 40 images from the collection in ARC in Portmead, Swansea Community Farm in Fforestfach and on the Vetch Field in Sandfields, and some of the school children from St Thomas Primary have been selecting their favourite works to be put on display in their classrooms.

We’re also urging people to come and share their own collections with the community too. Whether it’s toys, football memorabilia, vinyl records, stamps, cards or badges they want residents to bring along and talk about their treasured possessions.

The whole event is free and is open at 12-4pm.

St Thomas Library will be offering free Halloween workshops from 2.30pm for visitors to take part.

The Gallery is supported by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to develop a learning and participation programme relating to the original Richard Glynn Vivian bequest.

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

October 27, 2014
by Laura

Poems in October: Dylan Thomas and Shakespeare

Poems in October: Dylan Thomas and Shakespeare Location map

Poems in October: Dylan Thomas and Shakespeare. Location map

If you are visiting Swansea over the next two weeks, you may find that you happen upon poetry by Dylan Thomas and William Shakespeare appearing in different venues, and in unexpected places throughout Swansea City Centre.

Beginning today, Monday 27 October, Glynn Vivian Offsite presents Poems in October: Dylan Thomas and Shakespeare, a sound project in partnership with the Royal Shakespeare Company.

The project has been inspired by one of Dylan’s early influences: his love of William Shakespeare which his father read to him as a child.

Staff at Glynn Vivian Gallery has been working in collaboration with Swansea University’s Centre for Research into the English Literature and Language of Wales (CREW) and the Dylan Thomas Centre to choose texts which explore the rhythms and cadences between the two poets.

The minute long sound recordings include extracts from Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Othello and King Lear alongside works from Dylan Thomas including Foster the Light and an extract from The Long Legged Bait.

From Swansea railway station to some of the famous pubs Dylan visited, you can hear the works of the two writers, brought to life by Michael Sheen and actors from the Royal Shakespeare Company.

The sound bites will appear intermittently in venues in different places, in the Quadrant shopping centre and Swansea Market. The recordings will also be available at three central hubs, the Dylan Thomas Centre, the Kardomah Coffee Shop and Swansea Central Library, where visitors can sit and listen to the sound clips in their entirety.

We would like to thank Michael Sheen, the actors from the Royal Shakespeare Company and staff from all of the participating venues.

The project is part of Swansea Council’s Dylan Thomas Festival 2014 and coincides with the 450th centenary celebrations of Shakespeare’s birth.

For more information about where to hear the recordings and discover all the venues involved, please visit

Exhibition continues throughout the Dylan Thomas Festival 2014 until 9 November.

October 24, 2014
by Laura

Alternative Art School: Drawing & Painting

Alternative Art School Exhibition, Swansea City Centre

Alternative Art School Exhibition, Swansea City Centre

Works of art painted by Swansea adults with learning disabilities are now on display for hundreds of city centre visitors to see.

The exhibition of works are on display at 39 Union Street (near the entrance to the Quadrant) – a formerly empty building that’s been transformed into a creative space where people can give views on how the city centre can best be improved in future as part of the ‘You are Here’ project.

The artworks on display have come about thanks to a partnership between the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery and Swansea Council Day Service groups, Gorseinion, Abergelli, Toronto Place, The Beeches and Fforestfach.

The Swansea Day Service groups have been attending Glynn Vivian Art Gallery workshops since 2010 and now visit us at our offsite base at the YMCA.

Art work on display

Art work on display

The ‘Alternative Art School’ is part of a 12 month programme working with adults with severe learning difficulties giving them courses in traditional media techniques, as well as striving to improve individual self-esteem and well being and enable feelings of empowerment and independence.

In this exhibition the participants are sharing the work they have produced in the first two modules and there are over 20 people taking part from all the Day Service groups.

Over 65,000 people have benefitted from our offsite programme since the Gallery building closed for a major refurbishment and these paintings on display follow on from the works of an over 55s group that recently went up in the Civic Centre.

Swansea Council has opened up the consultation base in Union Street in partnership with a creative local group called The Rhizome Collective to allow people the chance to give feedback on the city centre. All views will be considered by the council as part of a broader city centre review.

The Rhizome Collective will also soon be transforming the former City Centre Management office on Plymouth Street into a consultation space in partnership with the Swansea Library Service.

Follow @yahswansea on Twitter, check out or have a look at for updates on venues, days and times to give your feedback. The exhibition continues until 2 November.

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.

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