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'The Lamp And The Veil'


Exhibition Date:  2nd - 30th July

The Lamp and The Veil

A new exhibition of paintings by Kate Bell and ceramic sculptures by Valerie James, in response to a trilogy of poems by the Welsh Metaphysical poet, Vernon Watkins. The work is inspired by the sentiment and ideas contained in The Lamp and the Veil.  We have adopted this title of the book for our exhibition which we hope has some of the depth, complexity, and deep metaphor of his work.

Each poem explores through vivid and lyrical language Watkin’s preoccupation with light and darkness, with the sea’s energy, with spirituality and myth.

Kate Bell is a Swansea based painter. Her often large, colourful and compelling paintings explore the artist's major preoccupations with music, poetry and landscape. A close relationship with the Gower coast and the poet has provoked this on-going series of work,

The coastline, the edge of landscape, is a place where perception can be transformed and altered by memory and imagination. It is at a point where the veil between the two worlds of land and sea is the thinnest, exploring both the conscious and unconscious. It is a place where we make the greatest connection.

Her creative practice stems from a fascination for this spiritual connection between land, sea and sky, nature and mythology. Her paintings are an embodiment of a sense of place through a continual dialogue between real and imagined geographies.

The concept of space, both actual and pictorial; implications of time, movement through shifting tidelines, weather and light materialise in these paintings, continually questioning the boundary between representation and pure abstraction and expanding the notion of how land and seascape are explored and understood.

Valerie James is an artist who lives and works in Pembrokeshire whose work is steeped in the history, myth and legend of the current and ancient peoples who walked this land, who made stone monuments and who wrote mystical and strange stories. She has produced works with a flavour of the sea and the wild southwest coast of Wales which inspired the poet.

Her inspiration comes from many places and in many ways.  Often the land itself speaks of myth and legend, of archetype and dream. At times walking into a particular field produces thoughts and ideas which vanish on leaving it.  Works arise from standing on the land sometimes at Gors fawr in the Preseli mountains where a circle of small stones lie full of mystery and magic and where the Sybil can circle in the creative imagination around the stones embracing their circumference. Sometimes a healing aspect is revealed by hands as in the work ‘Cupped Hands’ which can express such ideas as a scrying bowl, decorated with benevolent and ancient symbols. ‘The Sibyl and the Sea’ shows a sculptural figure atop a stoneware box expressing the female nature of the sea and its potent active symbolism, the box represents a closed or secret place for containing mystery.  ‘Birds of Augury’ seeks to show the prophetic nature within the writing and attempts to touch this mystery. 

These works are made in stoneware with additions of porcelain.  High fired glazes and oxides, sometimes enhanced with gold lustre give a votive or spiritual aspect to complete the process.   



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