Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Ken Elias: A Retrospective - A Celebration of 40 years of Painting

Ken Elias is one of the leading contemporary artists living and working in South Wales. Over the last 40 years, he has produced an impressive body of acrylic paintings on canvas and paper, as well as photomontage, print and mixed media works. The exhibition will be at the National Library of Wales, Aberstwyth.

Born in Glynneath towards the end of the Second World War, he represents a new generation of artist, of working-class origin, whose childhood was formed in the Fifties and who went to art school in the heady Sixties. He is a painter who, whilst remaining deeply rooted in the visual culture of South Wales, and the Valleys in particular, has always been responsive to and indicative of the wider world. This complexity has been enhanced by his early experiences of cinema which, together with his love of art and poetry and his employment of memory and imagination, inform his striking images.

Ken Elias: A Retrospective covers the whole of Elias’ career as an artist from the 1960s to the present. It is a major touring exhibition and has been curated by Ceri Thomas and Ken Elias, who have sub-divided it into 5 chronological sections:

1. The Student Years: 1963 – 69
2. Photomontages and Prints: 1970 – 79
3. The Return to Painting: 1984 – 91
4. Going Home: 1995 – 99
5. Thin Partitions: 1999 – 2009

Ken Elias has exhibited widely in Wales since the 1970s, in both solo and group shows. He has shown in other parts of the UK and Europe too and is represented in the principal art collections of Wales, as well as in numerous private collections.

This exhibition coincides with the launch of a monograph on the artist, Ken Elias: Thin Partitions (Bridgend: Seren 2009), edited by Ceri Thomas. The book has a foreword by Elias’ Tonypandy-born Valleys contemporary Dai Smith, and a brand new set of essays written by Hugh Adams, David Briers, Jon Gower, Anne Price-Owen and Ceri Thomas.


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