Work in progress

March 9th, 2019

Underdrawing more or less finished on the largest canvas I’ve ever attempted, and for the first time needing two easels – the one on the left given to me a few years ago by my old chum Reg Eldridge. Lovely to be putting it to use.

The painting is a reworking of a moment between Ann Louise Wall, Giulia Rossi and Colleen Grace, choreographed by Jack Philp and previously explored on a much smaller scale (Ballet Cymru rehearsal 126). My hope is that it will be one of a number of larger canvases exhibited at Ffin y Parc Gallery and Wales Millennium Centre later this year.

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Planning audio tours

February 26th, 2019

Great to see Alastair Sill of Word of Mouth at my studio today.

Alastair will be developing and delivering audio tours of my forthcoming exhibitions at Ffin y Parc Gallery and Wales Millennium Centre, supporting greater access to the shows for people with visual impairments. This is an entirely new development for me and my work, and one which the venues and I are very excited about.

Having worked with company dancers and choreographers to create audio descriptions and touch tours for a number of recent productions (and shortly to begin preparations for this season’s Romeo a Juliet), Word of Mouth has an established relationship with Ballet Cymru. They’ve done tremendous work supporting the company in its commitment to make dance accessible to everyone – welcoming new audiences, and for many people enabling a level of engagement which wasn’t previously possible. Alastair’s expertise and experience makes him ideally placed to work on audio tours for the coming exhibitions, and I’m very much looking forward to seeing the development of this side of the project.

Today was a preliminary meeting, exploring some intriguing questions around the process of describing/interpreting visual art for a visually-impaired audience, and discussing the thinking and techniques which have so far informed my work with dance and Ballet Cymru. Looking at the pictures I’ve made so far, we also discussed plans for the coming months, and how Alastair will best be able to follow the project in preparation for the audio tours.

Dates have not yet been finalised, though will be available soon.

For further information about accessibility and the arts in Wales, and for listings of events across the country, please see hynt’s website here.

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Project update

February 16th, 2019

Greatly inspired by the personalities, talent and energy of the international dancers currently taking part in Ballet Cymru’s Pre-Professionals Programme. Over the last couple of months I’ve been observing and responding to rehearsals as the group works with choreographers to develop five very different productions for Ballet Cymru 2 – Made in Wales, to be performed in March this year.

The pictures I’ve made so far have been fairly modest in size, mainly consisting of sketches in charcoal and oil as I learn about the pieces and develop ideas for more substantial paintings. I’ve also been preparing some large canvases (including the largest I’ve ever stretched, which, to my relief, went very smoothly), as well as carrying out experiments with new and unfamiliar primers, made necessary by the discontinuation of the primer I’d used for the previous twenty years or so (an unexpected complication with this project, though one which has raised some interesting technical and creative questions). My plan is to begin working on a larger scale in the coming weeks.

Many thanks to all the Pre-Professional dancers, and to Ballet Cymru 2 – Made in Wales choreographers Alex Hallas, Jack Philp, Emma Lewis, Patricia Vallis, and (Ballet Cymru Artistic Directors) Darius James and Amy Doughty. My project couldn’t have got off to a more inspiring start.

Ballet Cymru 2 – Made in Wales will be performed at the Riverfront, Newport, on March 19th, and at Dance House Cardiff on March 22nd. It’s shaping up to be an extraordinary event. Further information and tickets available here.

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Project funding

December 9th, 2018

Thrilled to announce that I have been awarded Arts Council of Wales funding to develop my residency with Ballet Cymru. The grant will enable me to build on all I’ve been doing with the company over the past few seasons – to work more collaboratively with dancers and choreographers, to more fully reflect their inspiring work with communities across Wales, and to create an ambitious new collection of paintings for exhibition next September and December.

Hugely grateful to Arts Council of Wales, my project partners Ballet Cymru, Ffin y Parc Gallery and Wales Millennium Centre, and to everyone else who supported me through the application process.

I’m very excited to get to work, and will be posting updates here and on social media as the project develops.

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A Thousand Words

November 7th, 2018

My current exhibition at Waterstones, Bloomsbury, features thirty-two literary portraits from the series begun in 2016 for Terry Victor’s 2017 Edinburgh Festival show Well Thumbed, though since expanded to include further novelists, essayists and poets.

The exhibition includes portraits of Dylan Thomas, Dorothy Parker, George Orwell, Marcel Proust, Audre Lorde, Millicent Fawcett, Laurence Sterne, Leo Tolstoi, Mark Twain, Kurt Vonnegut, Oscar Wilde, Mary Wollstonecraft, Virginia Woolf, James Baldwin, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Aphra Behn, Giacomo Cassanova, Agatha Christie, Arthur Conan Doyle, Gwerful Mechain, Herman Melville, Izikiel, Nancy Mitford, Joe Orton, Charlotte Bronte, E.M. Forster, Giles Lytton Strachey, Hedd Wyn, Christina Rossetti, Patricia Highsmith, Vita Sackville-West and Wilfred Owen.

Also included is a room of paintings and drawings from my Ballet Cymru series (pictured), including one the earliest canvases, Nation of Two (Andrea Battaggia and Allegra Vianello), depicting a moment from a rehearsal of Serenestial, the company’s 2016 National Eisteddfod production. The painting is titled after a line from Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut, whose portrait hangs nearby.

The show runs until November 23rd.

Details here.

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