Women’s Arts Association Exhibitions

Image: Seven Tesla MRI by Penelope Rose Cowley (pictured)

Visual artist Gina Smith reports on the Women's Arts Association exhibitions in Cardiff and Barry, Wales as part of International Women's Day events 2016

Llanover Hall, Cardiff, Wales

There’s a variety of significant artwork that the Women's Art Association (WAA) has explored which enriches the exhibitions at Llanover Hall, Cardiff and Art Central, Barry. The WAA have used the Llanover Hall Community arts centre, to exhibit work over the years.

The value and worthwhile journey to exhibit is seen in the work. The associates are not ridiculed among other women but are supported by women no matter her circumstances or background. There’s plenty of opportunity for members to explore the creative form. The motto defining the WAA is “Run by women and only for women”. The freedom to express herself creatively without constraint and not be ignored.

The first art work seen is a dramatic abstract piece, strong brushstrokes, repeating layering of paint. This is huge and is the largest piece of all of the art exhibitions. Further up is another eye-catching abstract art by Emma Juliet Lawton, her work 'Where the River Flows' mixed media on wood.

There are recycled artworks by Rachel E Joyce and framed poetry. There are framed drawings by the long established professional craft woman and artist Dilys Jackson. It’s difficult not missing outstanding photography of WAA Chairwoman Patricia Ziad. Portraits by former Chair Jacqueline Alkema have movement with a gentle brushstroke that adds a touch of feminine fragility. There’s a delightfulness of the sold artwork, abstract calligraphy piece titled, “Beat of My Heart” by Mitra Saneei.

Installation piece of a white paper dress has delicately placed photos of female rape victims feature as part of the dress material, its a important dedication, recognising the issues and struggles of surviving rape.

The WAA Llanover collection highlights a sense of identifying women and not overtly sexualising or exposing the female form. Instead one's life drawing is subtle and calm. The passion comes from the process and ritual of creating the artwork. That a woman artist is able to feel proud and recognised for her achievement and quite happily too.

Arts Central, Barry

Part 2 of the WAA exhibition is a 60 minute bus journey from Cardiff. Art central is adjoined to Barry's town library. Art central, Barry is noted as the “mini Tate gallery, Wales” and is celebrating its tenth year in November 2016. The exhibition layout was well thought-out, clean and spacious.

At the far back wall a grand framed piece titled 'Tree Study' by elder WAA associate Eileen Allan. Closer in sight, a quaint hanging mobile featuring handmade figurers’ titled 'Fifties Women' attached to a side wall by Gemma Payne.

The supportive aspect of WAA means you don't have to compete against each other or put each other down. The passion and anticipated excitement can be seen in the all of the exhibitor’s art. This is evident in artwork titled Jazz Trio by Patricia Clifford.

In Charlotte Morgan’s 'Catharsis02' the viewer can be transfixed, observing Ms Morgan in fierce motion, performing a ritual in falling and breaking is an intense, recorded live art performance. Long-term established professional artist Penelope Rose Cowley's oil on canvas piece “Seven Tesla MRI” and collaboration with Cardiff University is of a new start in neuroscience captured in landscape painting. There were several quirky pieces including, 'Frank and Me' by Rebecca Coxford and sculpture including a philosophical piece by Jenny Allan.

Traditional and contemporary art is a substantial collection in Barry including photography, digital photography, illustration, still life, portrait, ceramics, textiles, glasswork, felt art and even funeral costumed gothic dolls. This historical collection is in reference to the Masons. And the colourful still life 'Wisteria 2', by Eve Hart, Ventetta O’Connor resourcefulness using tree bark and second-hand furniture for 'Seekers’2.'

Without a doubt this substantial collection at Art Central encompasses and celebrates the woman artist and embraces her triumphs, struggles and striving forward in life, even enjoying being an artist as a vocation. This is not a brief self- reflection. This is a good mixed collection of artwork.

Of course plenty of work, time, dedication and commitment goes into developing the exhibitions led by gallery manager Tracey C Harding and lead curator Jilly Hicks. The WAA is now a charity association without a patron.

(c) Gina Smith 2016

Llanover Hall, Cardiff, Wales
Reviewed 11 April 2016
Lead Curator: Jilly Hickes
Artists: Mitrea Saneei, Joanne Price. Eve Hart, Patricia Clifford, Shirley Anna Owen, Patricia Ziad, Dilys Jackson, Jessica Davies, Emma Juliet Lawton, Rachel E Joyce

Arts Central, Barry
Reviewed 12 April 2016
Art Central Gallery Manager: Tracey C. Harding
Lead Curator: Jilly Hicks
Jaqueline Alkema, Eileen Allan, Jennifer Allan, Elizabeth Barratt, Janet Bennett, Catherine Bhogal, Wendy Broom, Maureen Carlson, Patricia Clifford, Penelope Rose Cowley, Rebecca Croxford, Nick Davies, Chris Evans, Sarah Fisher, Ruth Furlong, Hilary Griffiths, Eve Hart. Laura Holliday, Tracey Harding, Nichola Harding Hope, Sarah Hope, Jilly Hicks, Dilys Jackson, Gigi Jones, Linda Johns, Monika R Jones, Pamela Jones, Rachel Joyce, Angela Kingston, Mary De Lang, Emma Juliette Lawson, Carolyn Little, Hilary Lomas, Gaye Lloyd, Dr Natasha Mayo, Charlotte Morgan, Pat Temple Murray, Rosemary O'Leary, Vernetta O Conner, Shirley Ann Owen, Gemma Payne, Joanne Price, Gwyneth Price, Fiona Rodgers, Sian Rodgers, Sue Roberts Rushworth, Anna Salisbury, Jane Salisbury, Sue Shields, Sally Spedding, Judy Stephens, Valerie Stewart, Jaqueline Symmonds, Aisling Tempany, Ann Townson, Nicola Tucker, Dinah Vagina, Jean Walcot, Angela Incledon, Ann Watkins, Sandra Wintle, Frances Woodley, Paricia Ziad

Women’s Arts Association IWD Exhibition
06 March 2016 – 16 April 2016

Author's review: