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    THE EURO-WALES 92 GROUP: THEN AND NOW AT THE TURNER HOUSE GALLERY

    The Royal Cambrian Academy of Art is excited to announce the participation of five of our talented artists in the upcoming exhibition "The Euro-Wales 92 Group: Then and Now" at THE TURNER HOUSE Gallery in Penarth, Wales.

    THE EURO-WALES 92 GROUP: THEN AND NOW AT THE TURNER HOUSE GALLERY

    Published: 24.05.2024 ( 23 days ago )

    Running from June 6th to July 14th, this art exhibition, curated by Dr. Ceri Thomas, features dynamic and evolving works by RCA members Heather Eastes, Dilys Jackson, Gerda Roper, Alan Salisbury, and Dr. Ceri Thomas. For more details about this captivating event, please visit THE TURNER HOUSE.

    This art gallery exhibition revisits the origins and evolution of the Euro-Wales 92 Group, exploring what it means to be Welsh, British, and European through the lens of individual and collective artistic expression.

    Below, Dr. Ceri Thomas provides insightful historical context and discusses the significance of the group’s work and its relevance in today's art world.

    EUROPEAN WALES THEN … & NOW?


    What does it mean to be Welsh or British or European for us as individual artists, or for a collective such as the Royal Cambrian Academy of Art, or for institutions such as Amgueddfa Cymru-Museum Wales and the National Library of Wales which are our living and historical, cultural repositories? What defines us and gives us a sense of belonging?

    The idea of the ‘Euro-Wales 92 Group’ arose out of an art summer school which I co-ran in the Tuscan hills, north-east of Florence, in 1991 with the Scottish artist Kenneth Hay and the Italian artists Massimo Callossi and Luigi Falai.

    It was officially founded a year later back in coastal, south Wales — in Barry — by myself, Glyn Pooley (who had attended the 1991 Italian summer school) and Robert Greetham (he and I had studied art at Aberystwyth University), plus eight other Wales-based artists. All eleven of us were united in the belief that Wales was and should remain part of an inclusive European culture. We last exhibited as a group in Cardiff in 1993, at the Third Wave Gallery (formerly West Wharf Gallery) in the Jacob's Market building.

    Our group show at the Turner House Gallery, Penarth, in the summer of 2024 is a review and a re-launch. It consists of mostly two-dimensional artworks, and a few three-dimensional pieces, employing a variety of materials and styles and created in the years in and around our formation (1987-97) and within the last ten years (2014-24); a dynamic 'then and now' arrangement which reveals personal and wider continuities and changes.

    Some three decades on from our beginnings, we are now a new mix of twelve exhibitors: three, original, founder members (Robert Greetham, Glyn Pooley and myself) plus nine new contributors (Tony Alcock, Jenny Allan, Heather Eastes RCA, Lorna Edmiston, Mary Husted, Dilys Jackson RCA, Gus Payne, Gerda Roper RCA and Alan Salisbury RCA). In other words six women and six men, all of whom remain convinced that, despite Brexit and because of the plight of Ukraine, we in Wales need to maintain a collective sense of being European.

    Each of us has had links with the European continent either through our artwork or in our lives (or in some cases both) in the pre-Brexit period. For example, connections to modern French

    art can be seen in the works of Tony Alcock, Lorna Edmiston and Gerda Roper — and France is where Glyn Pooley’s Welsh saints and their students travelled; Mediterranean culture has influenced Robert Greetham (Italian and Spanish art), Roper (French and Italian art) and myself. In contrast, it is Dutch and other Northern European art that fascinates Alan Salisbury. Alcock has lived and painted in France and Salisbury spends up to half of the year doing so; Heather Eastes has lived and painted in Germany and I have done the same in Italy.

    In terms of art education, Eastes and Mary Husted have studied in Germany, Gus Payne has gone to Greece, having benefitted from the Erasmus scheme (conceived by Hywel Ceri Jones who now lives in Penarth), and I have been culturally enriched by a Council of Europe Higher Education Scholarship which supported me in Tuscany. Furthermore,

    Jenny Allan and Husted have family members on the European continent. And finally, Dilys Jackson and almost all twelve of us have exhibited either collectively or individually on the other side of the English Channel.

    Our exhibits and artist statements at ‘Euro-Wales 92 Group: Then & Now’ in Penarth’s Turner House Gallery demonstrate these multiple connections, as they do our direct and oblique ways of addressing aspects of Wales and Europe before, during and since Brexit. It is to be noted here that one of the 1897 paintings of the coast at Penarth by the Parisian Impressionist Alfred Sisley was exhibited at Turner House in 2023. To put it another way, there are explicit connections in the 'then and now' works of some of us, whilst for others the links are more circumstantial. This unity in diversity is one of our strengths.

    We sincerely hope that our exhibition and our individual and collective agency will enable our public, and us, to reflect upon our work and on our shared culture(s) thirty years ago and now. This double-focus, in a south Wales gallery, serves as a cultural ‘site’ for enjoyment and a wider debate. After all, our perceived Welshness, Britishness and Europeanness are as relevant to north Wales and the Royal Cambrian Academy as they are to the National Library in west Wales and to Amgueddfa Cymru as embodied by its seven sites around Wales.

    Ceri Thomas, VPRCA (May 2024)

    ‘Euro-Wales 92 Group: Then & Now’, Turner House Gallery, Penarth, 6 June — 14 July 2024

    https://turnerhouse.wales/what...

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