Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Gawain in Cardiff

Clive Hicks-Jenkins, Gawain Arrives at Fair Castle, gouache, 2016 (artist copyright)

The artist Clive Hicks-Jenkins and Dan Bugg of the Penfold Press are delighted to announce an exhibition of screen prints on the theme of Gawain and the Green Knight, together with preparatory drawings and paintings, at The Martin Tinney Gallery, Cardiff.

Clive Hicks-Jenkins is devising a series of 14 limited-edition prints based on the medieval verse drama, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight – a classic vividly translated for the 21st century by Simon Armitage. The exhibition will mark the half-way stage in this major project.

Sir Gawain is more human than your average legendary hero. Having taken up the challenge offered at the Camelot Christmas feast by the terrifying Green Knight, he embarks on a quest to find this ogre, only to be tested – and found wanting – in unexpected ways. Sir Gawain is both a glittering knight and a fallible young man, and it is this flawed human character that intrigues Clive. Each print is inspired by the text and rooted stylistically in its world, but beyond that Clive and Dan have allowed their imagination free rein.

Over the past twenty-five years Clive Hicks-Jenkins has achieved renown in his native Wales and beyond as a painter of rare vision. He came to painting by an unusual route, having first enjoyed a successful career as actor, director, choreographer and stage designer. Today his paintings of figures and animals are so striking, at least in part, because of the continual dialogue between design and dance, structure and movement. Clive’s complex creative process enhances this effect, particularly his use of articulated maquettes; these allow him to pose people and animals in ways that enhance negative space and add emotional expression and a sense of suppressed movement. This dynamism suits Clive’s penchant for narrative painting. He takes inspiration from religious stories, Welsh legends, modern dramas and medieval verse.

Dan Bugg studied printmaking at the Royal College of Art. He launched the Penfold Press more than a decade ago as a printmaking studio for fine artists, and he has since worked regularly with Mark Hearld, Emily Sutton and other creative talents to produce beautiful editioned screen prints that are sought-after by collectors and art lovers.

I'm a sort of writer-in-residence on the project, and have provided captions for the exhibition, which will be stunning. Find it at the Martin Tinney Gallery, Cardiff, from 8 Sept until the end of the month.

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