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.