By Jon Gower
The visual arts sector has been particularly confident these past couple of decades, with Wales hosting the biannual Artes Mundi Prize, one of the largest arts prizes in the world as well as hosting an exhibition at the Venice Biennale, which has showcased a range of artists from Cerith Wyn Evans to musician John Cale. A chain of art spaces links much of the country from the contemporary arts showcase at Llandudno’s revamped Oriel Mostyn in north Wales to mid Wales venues such as Oriel Davies while cities such as Swansea are home to galleries such as the Mission Gallery and Glynn Vivian Art Gallery while Cardiff is well served by such spaces as Chapter, Ffotogallery in nearby Penarth and the small but exceedingly influential g39, which resides smack bang in the middle of the city’s café quarter.
Indeed artists seem to abound pretty much everywhere, not least because Wales is innately picturesque but also because its art education is premier league. A small commercial gallery sector is growing, too, to complement established art spaces. You might like to explore the weird worlds of Peter Finnemore, easily one of the most imaginative artists working in Wales, or the consistently inventive output of Bedwyr Williams. Check out too Sue Williams’ vibrant canvases or the psychologically nuanced paintings of Kevin Sinnott or the landscape meditations of Brendan Stuart Burns, not to mention the conceptual avant garde actions of Andre Stitt, whose work investigates the act of painting as performance. Young artists such as Carwyn Evans from agricultural west Wales have a lot to say about place and nationhood and say it arrestingly while Blaenau Ffestiniog based David Nash’s work in wood, living and cut, is an ongoing essay about sense and dimension and is certainly worth seeking out.