The Welsh Group celebrates 75th Anniversary with major exhibition at Y Gaer
A major exhibition marking the 75th anniversary of one of Wales’ most established and respected groups of artists, The Welsh Group, is opening at y Gaer in Brecon this week.
The exhibition ‘The Welsh Group in Focus: Paintings, Sculpture and Bernard Mitchell’s Artist Portraits’ features work and portrait photographs of all the current members as well as former members, some of whom were familiar faces on the Brecon art scene.
Running from 1 March to 19 June, the exhibition marks a productive association between y Gaer Museum and Art Gallery, the Welsh Group and photographer Bernard Mitchell.
Bernard has been photographing artists and writers in Wales since 1966 and his portraits have recently found a permanent home in the National Library of Wales.
He was originally commissioned by Brecknock Art Trust in 2004 to photograph artists who had work in the collection, and in 2021 the Welsh Group extended the commission to create portraits of the artists who had not previously been photographed by Bernard in their studios.
The photographs will accompany paintings, drawing and sculpture by existing and former members.
The Welsh Group was founded in 1948 as the South Wales Group which then consisted of both professional and amateur artists from south Wales’s six leading art societies.
However, by 1975 it had become a more professional association renaming itself The Welsh Group / Y Grŵp Cymreig.
Throughout its history the group has exhibited widely in Wales and internationally. It celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 1998 with a publication by Dr Peter Wakelin and an exhibition in the National Museum and Gallery of Wales, followed by a tour.
In 2008 a 60th Anniversary was similarly celebrated with a major exhibition of current members work at the National Library of Wales, curated by Dr Ceri Thomas.
During 2018 and 2019 the group toured a celebratory exhibition across Wales, marking its 70th anniversary, together with a publication by David Moore, exploring the work of individual members.
The members are not dominated by any movement, style or manifesto, but demonstrate a wide cross-section of approaches in contemporary visual arts practice through a range of media and processes.
The Group currently includes just under forty active members who are amongst the best-known and respected practitioners working in the visual arts within Wales.
— The Welsh Group (@The_Welsh_Group) February 13, 2023
Paul Edwards, Chair of the Welsh Group said: “We are immensely excited and proud to be able to stage this exhibition in Brecon. We have exhibited in Brecon over the years and the reception to our work has always been positive and enthusiastic.
“We do, of course, have a number of current and former members who are based in the town and surrounding area and that makes the connection with this exhibition a bit more special.”
According to David Moore, author of an essay in the exhibition catalogue: “Choosing to celebrate a significant anniversary with an exhibition in Brecon’s dramatically refurbished museum, gallery and library complex, y Gaer, the Welsh Group have reinforced the enduring creative liaisons that have contributed to the town’s growing reputation as a place to enjoy the visual arts.”
The exhibition runs at Y Gaer from 1 March to 19 June 2023 Monday – Friday: 10-4.30, Saturday: 10-4, Sunday: 10-3.40.
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