The School of Art Kodansu and George Powell’s Japonisme – an essay by Isaac Peat

During my time studying the School of Art collections there has been one object which has always captured my attention and constantly enthused me – a small, Japanese, box-shaped object delicately dressed in fine iron inlay by a masterful craftsman (figures 1a-1e). This cabinet, which has never been opened in recent times, has only occasionally been displayed in public exhibitions and seemed too beautiful not to be put in the spotlight. The cabinet has led me to the story of its patron George Powell, as well as to its own cultural history and development, but also onto a bigger story of the influences of a western world opening itself to Japanese art and culture.

(Figure 1a) Iron Inlaid Japanese Zogan Kodansu, Meiji Period 1868-1912, possibly by Kyōto-ju Komai-sei, (Japanese) 25cm x 20cm x 12cm  

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Rigby Graham: Recording far-flung places, encapsulating time, flinging oranges.

By Heather Beales

Figure 9
Figure 9. Rigby Graham, ‘Balloon Race’, colour woodcut on white wove paper, 44.5x53cm, 1990. Image courtesy of Goldmark Gallery

Rigby Graham was an artist who worked within the British landscape tradition and enjoyed provoking the offence of traditionalists with his unusual juxtapositions, use of bold colour and materials. He was extremely prolific and produced a great many books and artworks in various types of printmaking, painting, illustration and stained glass. The School of Art Museum and Galleries owns a large collection of his prints, and a few of his drawings and watercolours. In 1987 John Piper admired Graham for his “unusual and indeed enviable capacity to make romantic and dramatic images out of ‘simple’ scenes – sometimes almost totally deserted ones”, (Ayad). Graham was interested in places that had history and had deteriorated with time, and many of his images are of castles, old churches and ruined monuments – and also of a shipwreck. Continue reading

Why was Cornelis Ploos van Amstel famous in the 18th Century but relatively unknown in the 21st Century? – Joanna Reed

The Aberystwyth School of Art Museum and Galleries catalogues the work that will be discussed in this essay as a “Dutch coastal scene with boats, figures and castle on an island. Stipple etching with watercolour, on white, laid paper, number PR305 (Fig. 1, referred to hereafter as PR305) Made by Cornelis Ploos van Amstel (1726-1798) somewhere between 1750 and his death in 1798 and in the style of Jan van Goyen.

Jan van Goyen was a leading Dutch landscape painter in the seventeenth century who painted scenes of the Lowlands. The National Gallery, London, observes that van Goyen’s “many drawings […] show that he travelled extensively around Holland and beyond” (National Gallery). This is something Cornelis Ploos van Amstel never did. Continue reading

Exploring the SoA Collections 2020

As part of the first year art history module Exploring the School of Art Collections, students have the opportunity to write a small piece for this blog. This year the group decided on the theme of ‘deference’ – historical and contemporary pictures that demonstrate traditions (imaginary or real) of loyalty be it to the church, to the state, to royalty, to their communities or even within personal relationships. Each student had the opportunity to choose from a selection of prints, drawings and photographs. They only had one week to undertake some research before presenting their drafts. They all worked very hard on these projects so please take the time to view their efforts. Continue reading

Exploring the School of Art Collection 2018

As part of the first year art history module Exploring the School of Art Collections, students have the opportunity to write a small piece for this blog. This year the group decided on the theme of ‘The Stage’. Each student had the opportunity to choose from a selection of prints, drawings and photographs featuring theatres, concerts, ballets, circuses and more. They only had one week to undertake some research before presenting their drafts. They all worked very hard on these projects so please take the time to view their efforts.

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Exploring the School of Art Collection 2017

Gathering Storm

Gathering Storm, Corinna Button, drypoint with monotype, 2006

Three women sit on a bench huddled close together. Backs to us, their arms wrap around each other snuggly, they look intimate and protected. Heads bent forward with faces close, these women are in the middle of a private moment, excluding the rest of the world. Rain falls from black clouds in the sky above, whilst overhead telephone wires stretch across poles from either side of the women, as if framing them. They are centre and focus of the print.

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‘Sea Change’- exhibition at the School of Art, 21st May – 31st August 2018

Strandgutsammler, photograph, circa 1930-1945, Hans Saebens (1895-1969)

Sea Change is a student-curated exhibition of prints, paintings, photographs and ceramics from the School of Art collection.  The exhibition borrows for its title a phrase from Shakespeare’s Tempest to explore its metaphorical potential.

Exploring the work of Bert Isaac – A first glimpse

On 23 October 2017, the School of Art Museum and Galleries at Aberystwyth University received a substantial gift of some 174 artworks by the Welsh painter-printmaker Bert Isaac, who died in 2006. As Professor Robert Meyrick discovered on visiting his home in Abergavenny, his studio was a veritable treasure trove of prints, drawings and paintings, as well as sketchbooks and beautifully designed, hand-bound books that Isaac had produced in the course of a long artistic career dating back to the early 1940s. Continue reading

Exploring the School of Art Collection – 2016

 

As part of the first year art history module Exploring the School of Art Collections, students have the opportunity to write a small piece for this blog. This year the group focused on our photography collection. Each student had the opportunity to choose from a selection of prints from British, American and Italian photographers active in the mid 20th century. They only had one week to undertake some research before presenting their drafts. They all worked very hard on these projects so please take the time to view their efforts.

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Alternative Facts: Interpreting Works from the School of Art Collection: 22 May to 29 September 2017 at the School of Art Gallery, Aberystwyth University

AltFactsPoster_web_mailThe phrase ‘alternative facts’ is a recent addition to our vocabulary.  It has come to prominence in a political climate in which views and actions are shaped more by emotions than by reliable intelligence.  Reflecting this shift, Oxford Dictionaries declared ‘post-truth’ to be Word of the Year 2016.  And yet, alternative facts are as old as language itself. Continue reading