Monday, 10 January 2011

On entering the Washington Gallery in July 2009

Facing you, as you entered the gallery, was the ceramic figure by Paul Baker, and on the right, the studies and final painting by Eileen Allan of a church in Barry undergoing restoration. (All gallery photos by Shirley Anne Owen)

At the top of the stairs

At the top of the stairs, on the landing, the preparatory studies and a linocut, by Bernard van Lierop, and on the right, a ceramic sculpture by Mel Forse

On the right side of the Gallery

(top left) At the near end of the gallery was a display of preparatory studies used in both the sculptures and paintings of the female form by Sue Roberts, followed (top right) by the plant studies and collagraphic prints by Susan Edwards.

In the far right-hand corner of the gallery were the studies of figures and a large painting of figures in the cityscape.

On the left side of the Gallery

To the left were a series of linocuts and studied by Ann Townson. To the right, paintings of the sea at Penarth, with preparatory studies by Pauline Williams.

At the far left of the Gallery

To the left, studies and a painting by Shirley Ann Owen, and to the right, a ceramic sculpture and studies by Mel Forse.

At the end of the Gallery

On the far wall, on the left, between two windows was the painting by Eve Hart with her preparatory notes underneath. To the right was the linocut self portait by Jean Francis, with her preparatory drawings underneath.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Eve Hart

Eve Hart with Mindscape no. 1: Sail Away

My work has two differing though connected strands. I have always worked from direct observation but in recent years I have also made works of an abstract and sometimes symbolic nature. The painting for this exhibition falls into the second category. It has for me a special
significance as it marked my return to painting after the loss of my husband, the artist Robert Hart last November.

The starting point was a portrait I had made of my husband some twenty five years ago. What has emerged is an imaginary landscape, the first of a series. For me it carries much meaning and resonance. The viewer may see it quite differently.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Show extended by a week, to August 2nd!

The Washington Gallery has invited "VOGAexposed" to remain open until Sunday 2nd August, 3.30 pm, when the show will be taken down.

Friday, 10 July 2009

Melinae Forse

Melinae Forse working in her studio

I have been interested in flowers for a long time; their structure, size arrangement and variety. Their size and shape when arranged together or when looked at through a microscope attracts us to them as objects of natural beauty though their appearance is environmentally and economically determined and cultivated to satisfy fashion and desire. I have discovered that a flower is not just an object of great beauty but also of death. A flower, in which mortality and sexual signals are so pronounced, can be viewed as similar to the experience of the human condition. Conflicting responses to my flower like objects represent the confusion we also experience in life, of mortality, of sex and the link between beauty and death. All my work is in
relation to this statement!” Email – tele: 07977731849 for commissions and enquiries.

Sue Roberts

Sue Roberts with Sitting Woman no. 1

Following on from my exploration and interest in womanliness I am presenting both 2D and 3D works. I find for me one thing informs the other. It is in the study of form I try to include both an idea and a feeling in the clay and this then is reworked in brushstroke and surface in 2D.

I teach drawing and often draw small fast works looking to record an emotion or a thought from a position and a posture. The idea of womanliness has been investigated since people first started to record and explore their ideas in form and image from the early Venus figurines and cave
markings. Throughout the history of Art, myths and legends have represented woman as a symbol. I am interested in how these ideas are passed to the viewer without words but through form and surface. My process of working involves reading, research, working in clay or other 3D material, sketching and painting.

Kay Keogh

Kay Keogh with Metropolis

My paintings focus on the subject of urban landscape and the
people within it. Photography is an essential tool in my painting and has played a vital part in finding this subject. Due to the fast pace and speed of urban life, I have chosen to use photography, as this has given me a chance to study city life through snap shots. This has
created an opportunity for me to view the urban life at a stand still. I am intrigued by the anonymous people I photograph and question who they are and what they are doing. As I was not always able to achieve the photographic angles that I wanted from life, I also experimented with the use of small plastic figures and shadow to recreate a model city to photograph from above. I use a combination of the model and real urban photographs and drawings as a source to create my paintings. In my paintings I have attempted to place the spectator in the position of an outside observer in order to allow them to experience the same sense of separateness and distance that I feel when taking the photograph.

Paul Baker

I have taken the theme of Exposed, and used my basic material clay, exposed it to manipulation and fire to embody it in a piece of nude sculpture named SORROW that also leaves the individual exposed both physically and mentally.

Susan Edwards

Sue Edwards with Rock Pool

Susan Edwards is a painter and printmaker working from her studio near Cowbridge. As well as being a member of Voga she belongs to the Cardiff Print workshop group based at the Howardian Centre.

The work in this exhibition has developed from studies made of shapes in rocks caused by constant erosion by the sea and the weather over thousands of years. The shore is always changing; every day it is different. Sand, pebbles and rocks are moved around with each tide. The rocks and strata vary both in colour and shape all around our coastline, even within a short distance.

There is one oil painting and one etching, together with some preparatory work, on show. These are the result of visits to Ogmore-by-Sea. which is a fascinating area to study both geologically and as a source of inspiration for an artist.

Bernard van Lierop

At work on Homage to Edith Downing.

Edith Downing (1857-1931) was a sculptor and a suffragette. She is represented in the National Museum of Wales by the life-size figure of Avarice. My print celebrates the life of this neglected Welsh sculptor of the Edwardian era, who was imprisoned and force-fed for protesting against unjust voting laws by breaking the windows of an Art Gallery in Regent Street. In the exhibition, I show the process of developing this print from initial sketches, photographs and other archive material.

In the photograph, I am lifting a fresh print taken from the 'key block' (placed in the foreground), whose design has now been transferred ('off-set' printed) onto an uncut block of lino to be cut for printing one of three new colours to be added to the black of the key block. The off-set was made by running this freshly printed sheet of paper (with 'wet' ink!) through the press again, carefully placed 'face down' on to a new block of lino, thus transferring the design which can be seen on the new block as light gray. When this ink is dry, the design for a new colour can be cut to fit into the design of the black key block.

Eileen Allan

Eileen Allan with Regeneration

For over 30 years I have walked past the Welsh Chapel on Harbour Road in Barry without pausing, until the day I was shocked into sudden stillness by the sight of a caged chapel. Over night, apparently, the building was completely encased in scaffolding and bright turquoise coloured webbing, leaving only the square tower uncovered and jutting into a blue sky. The result was a visual rush that prompted the painting, 'Regeneration' for exhibition in the
Washington Gallery.

Monday, 6 July 2009

Rachel Irwin

Through my work I have explored nature at differing microscopic strengths which has opened up fascinating landscapes normally unseen. The process of exploring these strange worlds can feel unreal and distorted and this feeling is reflected in ‘Lens Distortion nos. 1&2’. In these pieces I experimented with magnification and created my own resin lenses which were placed over found objects and pollen cell images. My investigations have also revealed the extra-ordinary inter-relationship between the macro and microcosms. Patterns and design are echoed throughout nature at every level.

In ‘Stomata cell pattern no.2’ I explore the interaction between an elm tree seed with the shape and pattern of stomata cells of a leaf seen at microscopic level. Ultimately, I feel that nature is profoundly beautiful and I wish to celebrate this by highlighting common objects often overlooked.

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Ann Townson

Print-making breaks away from my usual practice. Customarily I use the printing process in a minor way in my paintings and textile works.

It was after looking at the powerful satirical works of the German Expressionists (George Grosz and Otto Dix) and the socio-political commentary work of English print-makers James Gilray and William Hogarth that I decided to use the mendium of print as the main source of communication with the viewer.

Puns, double-meanings and playfulness play an important part in my practice. Hopefully they provoke emotional and psychological responses in the viewer.

Friday, 3 July 2009

Shirley Anne Owen

Docks Building, Cardiff

Most of my art practice is based in familiar local landscape. For this exhibition I've revisited the “Demolition and Progress” theme of a
previous series of shared exhibitions which centred on the changes taking place in Cardiff Docks. The red brick buildings with bright blue doors have always attracted me as a subject. My source material was 3 images cropped from a painting started on site, together with a recent drawing and

Monday, 29 June 2009

Richard O'Connell

Richard O’Connell with The Southerndown Sphinx


“The painting symbolises woman and man's age old quest for

immortality.The great forces of nature: the sea and sky surround a huge

cliff 'face' that stares out at the worst nature can throw at it. This

is an ongoing theme which I will develop in my future artwork.”


Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Pauline Williams

Pauline Williams in her studio

I studied art at St. Helens College of Art and at The University of Wales in Cardiff; I also have a Post Graduate teaching qualification from the University of Newport.

My art is a representation of life from my perspective. I have been painting and drawing from life, recording places, events and people wherever I go. I will not only draw randomly just to keep my observational skills tip-top, the artist equivalent of ‘sight reading’, but also I will select my subject matter to suit my interest at the time. I have recently been making studies of skateboarders and rugby players enjoying their fearless commitment to their sport, providing me with great dynamics. I prefer to work directly in front of my subject wherever practical making a direct response, but I do also work in my studio allowing my memory and imagination to kick in. Studio working for me also encourages a more painterly approach to my work. My art studio is at home allowing me to fit my art with the rest of my family commitments. I regularly find inspiration to paint from my own garden and frequently include family members into my paintings. I also teach drawing and painting, mostly to adults, specializing in portraiture and life-drawing.

A Typical Sunday Afternoon

A theme I am constantly drawn to is the coast , Penarth in particular. This painting was created in the studio working from sketches that were created on location.

Jean Francis

There is a long standing tradition of artists making self portraits. Of course they aren’t a commercial proposition unless the artist is famous - and dead! In a self portrait one can be merciless, take as long as is needed, and, most importantly - explore and experiment.

1) Photograph of a charcoal pencil self portrait drawing done over a period of three weeks.

2) Ink drawing (with stick pen, broad nib) Done very quickly.

3) First cut and proof of lino block print.

Cutting the white areas and leaving the black is so different to drawing black onto white that it can be inhibiting. I cut it rapidly so as to come as close as possible to the frenzy of the ink drawing (frenzied- because working from life, holding the pad, and splashing the ink about does not make for a reposeful kind of drawing). After proof printing I cut into the block again and printed the final version. The self portrait, aged and lined, contrasts with the face of the sleek and enigmatic cat. I thought of calling it Beauty and the Beast, the cat (beast) being, in this case, the beauty.

Monday, 22 June 2009


This BLOG is about VOGA Exposed - Bringing the Studio into the Gallery a concept proposed by three of the exhibitors, Shirley Anne Owen and Kay Keogh and Jean Francis, who gave it this description:
An exhibition of work by 14 members of the professional artists' group VOGA which is based in the Vale of Glamorgan. Bringing the studio into the gallery reveals the artists' varied working practice. The rarely seen evidence of the process from concept to final resolution is exposed.
The 14 members who took part in the Washington Gallery showing of this concept were self-selected: Eileen Allan, Paul Baker, Susan Edwards, Melinae Forse, Jean Francis, Eve Hart, Rachel Irwin, Kay Keogh, Richard O'Connell, Shirley Anne Owen, Sue Roberts, Ann Townson, Bernard van Lierop and Pauline Williams. For details of all 21 members of VOGA visit