Out of her head: new paintings by Beatrice Williams and sculptural ceramics by Mick Morgan
New paintings by Beatrice Williams will be shown from 1st - 28th June at the White Lion Street Gallery alongside pottery by Mick Morgan. Beatrice is a regular and prolific artist of the gallery and this will be her second solo exhibition here. Mick also has shown his pottery, both domestic ware and sculptural work, in Tenby for the last 10 years.
Beatrice’s subjects have both a distinctly Welsh flavour and a universal appeal: her cottages represent the warmth and familiarity of home; her people do ordinary things – walking through fields, hanging out the washing; her flowers have the lightness, movement and colour of informal gardens or wild flower meadows; and paintings of pitheads and old colliery workings remind us of lost industries.
In strong colours Beatrice starts painting what she sees around her then adds what is in her mind’s eye. She says she “grows a painting”, her imagination adding and subtracting elements of the scene until she has a piece that satisfies her. She is as excited by the outcome as if she had nothing to do with it – truly they are out of her head. Flowers are a recurring theme – “they are like an addiction” she says, “I feel part of them, blowing in the wind.”
Her head was a problem in her 30’s and Beatrice had to undergo neurosurgery. It seemed unlikely then that she would be able to resume her normal life of art and pottery teaching and she joined the family business for some years before deciding to attend classes to learn about latest techniques and mediums. She has been unstoppable since then. Now she is “changing, growing, evolving – it’s a pleasurable struggle – I don’t want to stay the same.”
After studying ceramics at Cardiff College of Art (1971-74) Mick established his second studio in 1975 in Carmarthenshire and has lived and worked there happily ever since. Over the years he has built several wood and gas-fired,kilns. His domestic ware, the full range including mugs, bowls, vases, jugs, bread crocks, storage jars, serving dishes, platters … are usually soda glazed. But his other work is mostly raku fired.
Though raku pieces are started on the wheel they go through several processes - being cut, distorted or rebuilt in the same way as Beatrice’s paintings grow into the final form. These are pots but not as we know them! The forms may be bowl-like but stand on legs, spikes, balls or other ‘feet’. His vessels may be several feet tall with human characteristics and adorned with clothing or necklaces.
His move towards abstraction led to further exploration of tactile surfaces: highly glazed, dense matt, or patterns raised in dots, ridges or rosettes. Pots may be split, paired shapes barely joined, have wings or pieces missing. Wall-hung raku pieces with abstract designs in grey or black appear like distant half-seen landscapes.
Beatrice, who also trained as a potter, produces 2D paintings which are clearly ‘what they are’ whereas Mick’s work is surprisingly abstract and elusive by comparison, despite being three dimensional. The joint exhibition brings together a wide range of subject matter in skilful, colourful and expressive paintings, unusual domestic pottery and some surprising sculpture.
Everyone is invited to meet Beatrice at the opening of her exhibition on Saturday 3rd June from 2-4 pm at the White Lion Street Gallery in Tenby. Sneaky previews are available from Thursday 1st at the gallery and all the work may be seen on the website www.artmatters.org.uk.