This exhibition is a new version of the university centenary display In Our Own Image? which was held in the art gallery last winter. Once again, it draws upon the university’s art museum collection and its images of modern and contemporary south Wales. The main focus here is a sense of real and imagined identity and place and these qualities are presented for consideration under three broad headings: (a) society; (b) place; (c) memory and imagination.
This images what was primarily a male-dominated, coal society and the subsequent shift to one which has seen the emergence of women. Contrasting aspects of 1910 are captured: the black and white ‘Tonypandy Riots’ photographs of Levi Ladd (1877-1952) and the white marble bust by William Goscombe John (1860-1952) of John Blandy Jenkins, Chairman of Glamorgan County Council. A third of a century later come two works on paper, one of Gowerton tinplate workers (1942) by Ceri Richards (1903-71) and another titled Head of a Miner (1945) by the refugee artist Josef Herman (1911-2000). They are followed by the painting Warm and Cool (c.1960) by Joan Baker (b 1922) which shows a confident young black woman walking in Cardiff. Contemporary society is imaged in a still Chav at First Sight: Ambulance (2010) from a performance piece by Thomas Goddard (b 1980) and Tiffany Oben (b 1969).
The paintings of place range from the more representational Morning Flood on the Usk (c.1933) by Horace Moulton (d 1939) and Penygraig (1953) by Gwyn Evans (b 1931), painted at the time of the coronation, to the more abstract Yellow Landscape (c.1977) by Ernest Zobole (1927-99) and Man-made Mountains (2002) by Bert Isaac (1923-2006).
This begins with the recently restored oak and gold leaf World War One Memorial (c.1919) by an unknown artist. The fallen from the Great War are recreated in a contemporary piece Pale Battalions (2000) by Roberta Graham. Miners from the interwar period are recalled in a 1984 painting by Nicholas Evans (1907-2004) and the transient world of orchestral music and the sea’s edge are allusively painted by Michael Freeman (b 1936) in his Grand Sand Drawing series (2002). Contemporary south Wales is imaged in the colour photographs Gynor Place and Station Terrace (both 2000) by Paul Cabuts (b 1956).
A related publication Ceri Thomas, In Our Own Image? A Century of Imaging of and in South Wales: 1910-2013 (University of South Wales 2014), illustrated, 68 pages, price £7.50 is available in the Gallery.
For more information, please contact the curator Dr Ceri Thomas on 01443 482077 or firstname.lastname@example.org.