Hanging Clive Hicks Jenkins
28th April 2011
Clive Hicks-Jenkins: A Retrospective opens on the 7th of May and will run until the 20th of August at The National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth.
This exhibition celebrates the sixtieth birthday of Clive Hicks-Jenkins, described by Robert Macdonald as ‘one of the most powerful figurative painters in Wales’.
Born in Newport in 1951, Clive Hicks-Jenkins was a choreographer and theatre director but he has devoted his time to painting since the 1990s. His work is now held in all the principal public collections in Wales and he is a Royal Cambrian Academician and an Honorary Fellow of Aberystwyth University.
This retrospective exhibition includes objects and other artefacts such as jugs, cups and toys that are imbued with some significance for Clive and have appeared in the artist's paintings. One of these objects is the toy theatre pictured above, one of many he has made over the years, reflecting his earlyer life in the theatre.
This is a major exhibition and the large Gregynnog gallery at The National Library of Wales has been re-configureded to accommodate the works in a number of spaces. This allows appreciation of the works from different 'periods' in Clives painting career being hung together again as they were originally conceived.
Often painting in sequences the works were first shown as themed 'collections' when they were originally exhibited at various galleries. Most of these works were then sold and did not appear together as 'collections' again.
For this retrospective many works have been loaned back from their current owners around the world to be shown together once again, here at The National Library of Wales.
The exhibition begins with an impressive display of Clive's illustrations for limited edition books and then moves into the main gallery that shows sequences of works that express a consistent and distinctive vision though they explore diverse subject-matter. The first two sections reflect his interests in sense of place and in theatrical still-lifes of familiar objects. Two important series of works are reunited in separate areas: his huge drawings inspired by the Mari Lwyd and his group of paintings titled the Temptations of Solitude. His use of puppet-like maquettes is explored and the exhibition ends with his recent work concerned with stories of the miraculous.
To co-incide with this retrospective exhibition as Clive Hick-Jenkins reaches his 60th birthday there are also two books being published. A lavish and hefty 'coffee table' volume titled 'Clive Hicks-Jenkins' is published by Lund Humphries in association with Grey Mare Press and The National Library of Wales. This beautifully illustrated book contains essays by ten writers. One of the writers, Simon Callow (an acclaimed author but probably better known as an actor), describes Clive as 'One of the most individual and complete artists of our time'.
There is a very strong relationship between Clive's paintings and writers. Over the years writers and poets from around the world have been drawn to the work and have, in turn, been inspired to create poems, influenced by what they have seen in Clive's paintings.
Through email communication and Clive's regular ArtLog the writers have been able to maintain a relationship with the artist - the fruits of which have now been realised in the second book 'The book of Ystwyth - Six poets on the art of Clive Hicks-Jenkins' published by Carolina Wren Press and Grey Mare Press in association with The National Library of Wales. The occasion of the exhibition opening and the publication of the books is opportunity for the artist and writers to meet in person for the first time.
The works from the exhibition 'Mari Lwyd' are still in their containers - re-united for the first time here since they were first exhibited over ten years ago.
Clive Hicks-Jenkins with one of the toy theatre's he has made.
Peter Wakelin and Clive Hicks-Jenkins hanging the exhibition at Oriel Gregynnog in The National Library of Wales.
These maquettes are characters that Clive articulates into position and then paints into his large canvasses. These models, vital to Clives creative process, are also on display in the exhibition. The animation film that will also be shown at the retrospective exhibition at The National Library of Wales can also be seen by clicking HERE.
Gallery Talk by Clive Hicks-Jenkins, Monday 25 July 1:15 p.m.
Also See -
Hanging Clive video
Clive Hicks-Jenkins profile
National Library of Wales platform
External web sites -