Ken Elias Thin Partitions
|ISBN: 9781854115010 (1854115014)Publication Date: September 2009|
Publisher: SerenEdited by Ceri Thomas
Format: Paperback, 250x193 mm, 152 pages
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This handsome, full colour book celebrates forty years of the work of Ken Elias, from student op art/collage to current work made in response to poetry. As an artist Elias is something of a conundrum. Born and once again based in Glynneath, yet he is almost unique in Wales in his continuing adherence to Pop Art and collage.
Llyfr lliw-llawn yn dathlu deugain mlynedd o waith Ken Elias, arlunydd sy'n ymateb yn gelfyddydol i farddoniaeth. Mae cymysgwch o ddylanwadau yn ei waith. Fe'i ganed yng Nglyn-nedd, ac y mae'n byw heddiw, ond y mae'n arlunydd unigryw yng Nghymru.
Released to coincide with a major retrospective of Ken Elias' work, Ceri Thomas' collection of essays provides a much needed insight into one of Wales’ leading living artists.
Elias has been living and working as an artist in Wales for five decades, producing a large body of work, influenced by some of the major art movements of the last half century. Largely autobiographical in nature, his work does stand alone without explanation, but its richness is greatly enhanced with some understanding of his life, and Ceri Thomas' book offers just that. Through his own essay, offering a brief autobiography of the artist, and complimented by commentaries from four others, we learn much about how Elias has become the artist he is today and how his work fits into the wider history of art, both here in his native Wales and further afield.
With an introduction by Arts Council chair, Professor Dai Smith, the book is thoughtful and perceptive. It is illustrated with almost a hundred images and provides wonderful compliment to Elias’ touring exhibition which began in the National Library of Wales in 2009 and is due to travel to the Royal Cambrian Academy and later to Aberdare in 2010.
As co-curator of the touring exhibition, Ceri Thomas who is an artist in his own right, is well placed to edit this collection. An expert on the subject of Wales' visual culture since 1945 he has been published widely and is curator of the University of Glamorgan’s art collection.
It is possible to use this review for promotional purposes, but the following acknowledgment should be included: A review from www.gwales.com, with the permission of the Welsh Books Council.
Gellir defnyddio'r adolygiad hwn at bwrpas hybu, ond gofynnir i chi gynnwys y gydnabyddiaeth ganlynol: Adolygiad oddi ar www.gwales.com, trwy ganiatâd Cyngor Llyfrau Cymru.
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.
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 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 handsome, full colour book celebrates forty years of the work of Ken Elias, from student op art/collage to current work made in response to poetry. As an artist Elias is something of a conundrum. Born and once again based in Glynneath, he draws extensively on his locale and on his childhood in the Fifties, in particular his extended family and his frequent cinemagoing. Yet he is almost unique in Wales in his continuing adherence to Pop Art and collage. Taught by John Selway, Terry Setch and Ernest Zobole at Newport Art College in the 1960s collage and photomontage remain at the centre of his work, including his paintings: flattening perspectives, unexpectedly contrasting images, producing social and political commentary, assimilating a modernist urban artform into a Valleys context.
Elias’ is an art which blurs the edges of reality in a similar fashion to cinema. It asks the viewer to look afresh at the familiar and the domestic, and to question their own reality. The book, which accompanies a touring exhibition, includes five essays by leading commentators in the field:
Hugh Adams – ‘Who are you to decide what reality is?’
Anne Price-Owen – ‘Ken Elias and the Hidden Persuaders’
David Briers – ‘Ken Elias and the Art of Photomontage’
Jon Gower – ‘Going to the Pictures’
Ceri Thomas – ‘Ken Elias: An Overview’
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