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New works by Shani Rhys James head to London

18 May 2024 2 minute read
Tiger Lillies. Shani Rhys James

A series of new paintings by acclaimed Welsh artist Shani Rhys James are set to go on display in London this month.

From 22 May, Connaught Brown is presenting an exhibition of new works by one of Wales’ leading artists entitled States of Mind.


For over forty years Rhys James has been an unwavering voice for a generation of female painters and central to the development and promotion of Welsh contemporary art. 

Sudden Glance. Shani Rhys James

In this exhibition, Rhys James focuses on the conflict and co-existence of two opposing states: life and death, home and the studio, motherhood and work, beauty within darkness.


These dualities are represented by the juxtaposition of figures and objects, flowers displaying the temporality of life and glory of nature, and thick daubes of paint creating abstraction within figuration.

This body of work represents a period of fluctuation, with Rhys James seeking to understand life’s paradoxes. 

States of Mind is Rhys James’ seventh solo exhibition at Connaught Brown.

Rhys James has been awarded numerous prizes including the Jerwood prize in 2003, the National Portrait Award, Mostyn Open, Hunting Prize, the Gold Medal at the National Eisteddfod of Wales and an MBE for services to Welsh art.

In the Studio with Orange Scarf. Shani Rhys James

Discussing her newest pieces, Shani told Nation.Cymru: “My paintings are about my feelings, what I’m experiencing.

“It isn’t literal it’s more of an essence of a figure, the paint becomes the skin and the abstract marks it makes to define, say, a face are just important.

“So there is a balance between abstract and figuration.”

In 2020, Charleston Trust held a retrospective of her work. Rhys James has also been the focus of many documentaries, including the 2014 BBC show What Do Artists Do All Day and the 2021 The Story of Welsh Art also on BBC.

Her paintings are in such collections as National Museum, Cardiff; National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth; Arts Council of England; Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow; Victoria Gallery, Bath; Jerwood Foundation; Pallant House Gallery, Chichester. 

States of Mind, Shani Rhys James takes place at Connaught Brown, Albermarle Street from 22 May -14 June.

Works can also be viewed online here.

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