Katie Middlehurst writes about her AberForward experience – Summer 2019

(Click on images to enlarge them.)

There are few greater pleasures than spending an hour, or two, perusing and discovering works of art; gorging on colours and textures, meditating on concepts new and old. To hold, to witness the art in the form of an object, not merely a reproduction or an illusion on a screen, transforms a potentially passive experience into an intimate and engaging one. I eagerly anticipated enjoying such delights during my summer internship at the School of Art.

There, I was assigned the task of cataloguing recent acquisitions from Gwasg Gregynog, a recently closed printing press that was located near Newtown in Wales. Amongst the collection of prints were the suite of wood engravings produced by Colin See-Paynton for his book Of a Feather detailing and illustrating the collective nouns of birds. The prints were also exhibited at the MoMA Machynlleth from March to May of 2009, a decade ago this year.

Through my work I had the pleasure of getting a closer look at the prints. A vast and dizzying array of contrasting textures and patterns that evoke elements of nature in the form of stars and reflections on water, wind and billowing rushes coalesce to become the backdrops that dance with the swallows, weave amongst the wagtails; the birds an integral part of their environment. Each one was enchanting; I was mesmerised by their minute detail achieved through what must have been painstaking focus and precision. I was captive to their charm, which echoes through me still.

One evening I spoke of what I had been working with to my father-in-law who I then learned, after he ducked to another room and returned with a frame displaying a familiar and distinctive print of a bird, was also an admirer of See-Paynton. A special few among the prints won my heart, Crescent Moon, Parliament of Owls and Round of Wrens. These I wish I could display in my own home. Fortunately for students of the School of Art we are able to request access to view objects in the collection at any time, so that will have to do for now!
















ArtUK Sculpture Project – George Powell of Nanteos/Prosiect Cerfluniaeth Art UK– George Powell o Nanteos

George Ernest John Powell

An exciting new collaboration between Aberystwyth University, Art UK and the Penparcau Community Forum is set to explore the sculpture collection of George Powell of Nanteos. The project is the result of a grant awarded by ArtUK as part of their Sculpture Around You programme which aims to engage communities with their sculptural heritage.

George Powell (1842-1882) inherited the Nanteos Estate on the death of his father in 1878 but prior to this he mainly lived in London and travelled around Europe and into North Africa. He made connections with various artists, writers and musicians across Europe with one of his closest friends being the poet Algernon Charles Swinburne. During this time he built up a collection of small bronze sculptures, principally mythological figures and male nudes. These were bequeathed by Powell to the then new university in Aberystwyth and now form part of the collection of the School of Art Museum and Galleries.

Powell bronzes

The project will allow a group of residents from Penparcau to explore Powell as a character through his sculpture. The group will visit Nanteos and the School of Art before embarking on a creative project of digital sculptures resulting in 3D printed models. Art UK have commissioned museum consultant Alex Flowers to help develop this exciting digital outcome that will engage participants with their local history. The project will culminate with an exhibition and opening event.

Nanteos Mansion

If you want to learn more about this project please contact Phil Garratt at pjg@aber.ac.uk

(Welsh text awaiting translation.)

Art UK LogoPenparcau Forum LogoAU Logo


George Ernest John Powell

Mae cynllun cydweithrediadol newydd cyffrous rhwng Prifysgol Aberystwyth, Art UK a Fforwm Cymunedol Penparcau wedi’i sefydlu i ymchwilio i gasgliad cerfluniau George Powell, Nanteos. Canlyniad i grant a ddyfarnwyd gan Art UK yn rhan o’u rhaglen ‘Sculpture Around You’ sy’n ceisio ennyn diddordeb cymunedau yn eu treftadaeth gerfluniol.

Etifeddodd George Powell (1842-1882) Ystâd Nanteos pan fu farw ei dad ym 1878. Cyn hynny roedd yn byw yn Llundain yn bennaf ac yn teithio yn helaeth yn Ewrop a gogledd Affrica. Gwnaeth gysylltiadau ag amrywiol arlunwyr, awduron a cherddorion ledled Ewrop, ac un o’i gyfeillion pennaf oedd y bardd, Algernon Charles Swinburne. Yn ystod y cyfnod hwn adeiladodd gasgliad o gerfluniau bach efydd, ffigurau mytholegol ar y cyfan a noeth-gerfluniau gwrywaidd. Cafodd rhain eu gwaddoli gan Powell i’r brifysgol, newydd ar y pryd, yn Aberystwyth ac maent yn awr yn rhan o gasgliad Amgueddfa ac Oriel yr Ysgol Gelf.

Powell bronzes

Bydd y prosiect yn caniatáu i grŵp o drigolion Penparcau i ymchwilio i Powell fel cymeriad trwy gyfrwng ei gerfluniau. Fe fyddant yn ymweld â Nanteos ac â’r Ysgol Gelf cyn dechrau ar brosiect creadigol o gerfluniau digidol a fydd yn creu modelau 3D wedi’u hargraffu. Mae Art UK wedi comisiynu’r ymgynghorydd amgueddfa, Alex Flowers, i gynorthwyo i ddatblygu’r canlyniad digidol cyffrous hwn a fydd yn dod â’r trigolion yn rhan o’u hanes lleol. Wrth gwblhau’r prosiect cynhelir arddangosfa ac agoriad swyddogol.

Nanteos Mansion

Os hoffech wybod mwy am y prosiect, cysylltwch â Phil Garratt, pjg@aber.ac.uk

Art UK LogoPenparcau Forum LogoAU Logo











An Essay and its unexpected Aftermath

“Even essays can grow if fed and watered.”

These wise words come from our very own postgraduate student Gerry McGandy who contributed his undergraduate essay Who were Edward J. Burrow and Richard Eustace Tickell and why did they record The Vale of Nantgwilt in 1893? to this blog back in 2017.

Artist Kate Green came across his text and contacted Gerry, telling him about her latest project called ‘Walking the Pipe’. She told him that the essay was helpful and led to further research by her; to the extent that she purchased a copy of the book in which the discussed prints, which we hold in the School of Art collection, were originally published.

By now, the project has at least two artists and two musicians, including Gerry, collaborating. They intend, for example, to base a song on the memoirs of a woman called Hetty Price, of life in the valley before the dams and her sorrow at its passing.

So, all you weary students who suffer from writer’s blog and/or general ‘essay fatigue’: take courage and carry on writing. You never know what might come of it!

See the poster for more information about all events Kate and her fellow artists have planned. It surely looks very interesting, and we wish her all the best with her project.

Walking the Pipe 2019

AberForward intern Emily Willis writes about her placement at the School of Art

Annabelle (right) and Emily (left) putting up the Print REbels exhibitions

Prior to this work placement I had no experience working in a museum or gallery and was keen to find voluntary or employment in this sector. So, when the opportunity of a four-week paid work placement in the School of Art Museum and Galleries at Aberystwyth University arose via the AberForward scheme I immediately applied. Luckily the duration of my placement as a Curatorial and Technical Support Assistant came at a most opportune time to experience the whole process of preparing, installing and uninstalling an exhibition. Continue reading

22nd – 24th March 2019: A Weekend for (not only) Silent Movie Buffs at the Old College & Aberystwyth Arts Centre

neil brand thumbnail.jpgBroadcaster, composer, musician and Aber alumnus (!) Neil Brand will give two talks about silent movies, and his new score for Underground, a classic British silent film, will be played by Philomusica under conductor David Russell Hulme.

Neil Brand Invitation copyNeil Brand Invitation copy II

Please click on the links below for more information and to book tickets for the events at the Arts Centre.     Website head Philohttps://www.aberystwythartscentre.co.uk/classical-music/philomusica-music-movies

neil brandhttps://www.aberystwythartscentre.co.uk/cinema/neil-brand-presents-buster-keaton-u

For more information about Neil Brand, please visit his website: https://www.neilbrand.com


‘A Radical Tradition – Eine Radikale Tradition’ – exhibition at Manchester Central Library until 30 April 2019

pic of poster

The exhibition is curated by Dr. Christopher Webster van Tonder, Senior Lecturer in Fine Art and Curator of Photography here at the School of Art. It includes a great selection of images from our own museum collection of vintage photographs as well as several new darkroom prints that Dr. Webster made from our collection of negatives of Hans Saebens and Erich Retzlaff. In addition, the exhibition shows 14 digital copies of the work of Hans Retzlaff from the Ludwig-Uhland-Institut für Empirische Kulturwissenschaft, at the University of Tübingen.