The exhibition ‘Then’ is compiled of drawings, sculptures and paintings from the 56 Group, all drawn from the private collection of art enthusiast, Barrie Maskell.
Twelve Welsh artists joined together in 1956 to form the 56 Group. Recognising there was little opportunity to exhibit contemporary art in Wales, the group took it upon themselves to share and exhibit their work.
It has now been fifty-six years since the 56 Group established themselves at the cornerstone of contemporary art in Wales. To celebrate the anniversary, The Oriel Y Bont gallery in Ty Crawshay is currently exhibiting unique pieces from the original twelve founding members.
The University of Glamorgan has had museum status since 2001, and is only the second university in Wales to be awarded this from the Museum, Library and Archives Council. The aim of the gallery is to display work which had a focus on South Wales culture since 1945. Each exhibition is carefully chosen by the gallery’s curator, Dr Ceri Thomas.
Iris Owen and Hilary Thomas, receptionists based in Ty Crawshay, feel that Dr Ceri Thomas accommodates for many different tastes whilst choosing the exhibitions.
Iris believes that ‘the paintings brighten up the room and give us something to look at. We have had some wonderful pieces in here over the years, but this particular exhibition isn’t to my taste. I don’t really like abstract, I prefer landscapes and portraits.’
Hilary discusses occasions when a new exhibition begins. ‘At first, it is meaningless, but the more you stare at it, you see the painting come to life before your eyes. You keep seeing new things and a hidden depth.’
Dr Ceri Thomas and Barrie Maskell have written a book entitled Twelve/56, discussing the history of the group and the art produced over the past 56 years.
The exhibition is running until March 1. Admission is free.