Friday 29th October 2010 is Melly Day in Brecon. This is the first in a series of events celebrating George Melly's involvement in the Brecon Jazz Festival and a chance to purchase Ink Dog by Stephen West at the art auction at St Mary's Church Brecon at 7.30 in the evening. The auction is part of the cultural programme designed to raise money for a sculpture commemorating George Melly for Brecon.
Bala centre a success for budding artists
The College of Education and Lifelong Learning at Bangor University has recently been working with Canolfan Cywain at Bala, to offer a new art course, “Learning Drawing” with local artist Stephen West.
The course offered practical introduction and tuition in many forms of drawing including pencil, charcoal and pen and ink; covering still life, landscape, life drawing, and portraits. The course which was suitable for beginners and artists alike attracted students of all ages from the Bala area.
“I’ve never had drawing lessons in my life!” said Gail Heywood-Evans of Llanfor, who was thoroughly enjoying her classes.
"There hasn’t been an opportunity for such accessible courses in this area before.” Said Annabel Price from Bala.
The tutor, Stephen West has specialised in drawing since graduating from the Royal College of Art in 1982. He has taught sculpture and drawing at Liverpool Hope University and at Aberystwyth Arts Centre. Stephen has lived and worked in Wales since 1984 and has learned Welsh. “The studio at Canolfan Cywain is fantastic for such courses – right in the middle of landscapes.” Said Stephen.
To be kept informed about our courses and activities please contact us to add your name onto our mailing list on 01248 382708 or visit our website www.bangor.ac.uk/ll
Publication date: 25/02/09
At the Lle Gelf pavilion in the visual art exhibition at this years Eisteddfod in Bala, Gwynedd, Stephen West shows 'Ci Tanerdy' or Tannery Dog. The work has been purchased for the Tabernacle Collection at Machynlleth's Museum of Modern Art with a grant from the Contemporary Art Society of Wales. The drawing is one of a series of dog drawings related to the 3 dogs that worked at the Machynlleth Old Tannery and which has now become a visual art venue. The exhibition opens 1st August 2009 and continues to 8th August.
Work by Stephen West features in the first exhibition in the Old Tannery Machynlleth as part of the 1st Culture Colony conference. Stephen made a presentation on out-of-the-gallery art works and new genre public art as well as exhibiting 3 works; Heads of Athene in Limestone, Tree Head in Grinshill Sandstone and Owl Chair in re-claimed oak. Also exhibiting Shani Rhys James automatas; The Dolls House, Pram and Hooped Skirt; also an installation by Andrew Coooper. The Tannery is being developed as a new space for contemporary sculpture and permanent collections exhibition by the Museum of Modern Art Wales.
Stephen West exhibits the large drawing 'In my Head' at Cornerstone Gallery Liverpool
Exhibition Open Saturday 20th September 2008 to Sunday 30th November 2008
Staff & Alumni 08 comprises recent works by current and former staff of the department of
Fine Art and Design alongside selected graduates from the last fifteen years. The ex-students,
now professionals in their area of expertise, and staff have all exhibited extensively both
nationally and internationally. The works showcase the breadth of imagination, concept and
media by artists, designers and makers working in Wood, Jewellery, Ceramics, Textiles,
Painting, Printmaking and Sculpture.
Exhibitors Natalie Bennett Howard Coles Ann-Marie Colquhoun Susan Disley Peter Dover
Janice Egerton Frank Egerton Lizabeth Gatley Steve Gatley Rebecca Gouldson
Helen Halliwell Roger Harvey Alice Highet Lin Holland Richard Hooper Charlie Holt
Ghislaine Howard Jason Jones Suzanne Jones Michelle Jones-Hughes
Selwyn Jones-Hughes Dave Lewis Dan McBride Cathy Miles Samantha Mills
Callum Moncrieff Peter Moore Junko Mori Kerry O’Connor Liz Orchison
Charlotte Owens Sara Preisler Paul Riley Jaqueline Scholes Ray Semple
David Shutt Tony Smith Constantine Soteriou Steve Strode Hilary Turner
Fiona Ward Stephen West Alan Whittaker
Caru Cwn/Love Dogs
4 April – 7 May 2011
Museum of Modern Art Wales, Y Tabernacl, Machynlleth
Stephen West shows new sculptures and drawings of dogs and other creatures
In this first one-person show since the 90s Stephen West borrows from the title of the 2000 Alejandro Iñàrritu film Amores Perros as the theme for a collection of expressionist drawings and dynamic sculptures carved in stone. The film highlights savagery as well as love in men and dogs and West’s dog sculptures use his knowledge of Romanesque animal carvings as well as the study of Gaudier-Brzeska’s sculpture recently highlighted in the Royal Academy’s Wild Things exhibition and well represented in the 20th century collection at National Museum Wales in Cardiff.
In an interview commissioned by The Tabernacle from Pixel Foundry Artists Archive to accompany the exhibition, Stephen West talks to the renowned journalist Mavis Nicholson about his work and the reasons for becoming an artist. He says “the content and meaning of a picture or sculpture is to do with universal things like design, weight, form and space and that is what we respond to emotionally, it is a sense of how it occupies its ground”.
After working in public art administration as co-director of Cywaith Cymru Artwork Wales and Creative Development Director for Safle (the Welsh agency for promoting public art) West has returned to sculpture with a vigour that comes from years as a necessarily part time artist. West studied painting at St Martins School of Art in the late 70s under John Hoyland, Albert Herbert and Jennifer Durrant, among others, and started making stone reliefs while at the Royal College of Art painting school in the 80s where he was taught by Ken Kiff and Philip Rawson. He was recently elected a member of the prestigious Royal Cambrian Academy.
When Stephen showed his stone carvings in the former tannery building next to Machynlleth’s Museum of Modern Art Wales in 2009, he heard the story of three dogs attached the working tannery, guarding the building, chewing traces of meat from the hides and contributing their excrement to the tanning process. This invoked a series of dog drawings imagining three special dogs for the tannery. Stephen West’s charcoal drawing Ci Tanerdy won a CASW (Contemporary Arts Society Wales) purchase prize in 2009.
Dogs can occasionally savage us to death and more usually love and emotionally bond with us. It is this balance between the wild and the domestic which makes the image of a dog a powerful metaphor for human society. Three carved Tannery Dogs will return for this exhibition to inhabit the Owen Owen gallery at MOMA Wales. The carvings also reference great Welsh animal sculpture such as the wooden beasts from Llanrwst Almshouse, the Acton Park dog at Wrexham Museum and the hidden polychrome lions under the Britannia Bridge in Menai.
Different themes continue in other drawings in the exhibition, showing aspects of the artist’s life such as meetings round tables of administrators and artists or the restructuring of old architecture which for this artist is an occupation intimately associated with the making of sculpture. West’s great-great-grandfather was George Myers, a Victorian stone-mason and master builder who was the original owner of Bath stone quarries and whose workshop produced ‘gothic’ carving for Pugin. West acknowledges a tentative connection to the surviving Myers drawings of ox, lion and angel. He is convinced that the stylised dynamic sculptural forms of the early medieval and early modern periods were too quickly developed by more refined but less energetic artistic movements. He is happy to plunder these periods for forms that are dynamic today.
West uses limestone from Bath, local Grinshill (Shropshire) sandstone and welsh oak among other materials.
The accompaning DVD with an interview with Mavis Nicholson and clips of the working process at West’s studios in Llangadfan is produced by Pixel Foundry Artists Archive for Culture Colony as part of the MOMA artists series.
Further information and images from;
Agnes de Graff; MOMA Wales Y Tabernacl
Heol Penrallt Machynlleth Powys SY20 8AJ
Dolpebyll Llangadfan Welshpool Powys SY21 0PU
01938 820469 07720 326031
'RE: drawing' Oriel Davies Newtown 14 June - 2 August 2008. New exhibition showcasing contemporary approaches to drawing in this state-of-the-art Arts Council funded gallery in Mid Wales. The exhibition was selected by Nigel Prince, Curator at Ikon Gallery Birmingham, Sue Williams, artist and Yvonne Crossley artist and former Jerwood Drawing Prize selector. Stephen West will be showing 'Sculpture Materials 3' a very recent drawing made at the studio in Charente and expressing ideas about carved stone architecture, the stone as a block and the human form. It includes a sketch of a man wearing a beret which is also a work in progress in Sireuil Limestone from Angouleme.
Stephen's statement on drawing; "Drawing is central to all my work and a defining element of visual art. It has less to do with materials than an attitude to discovery, experimentation and mark making. That said, much of my work is with charcoal and paper, but work in stone carving, assemblage and paint on canvas is all really drawing as I understand it. The great thing about drawing is that, because everyone can do it, then everyone can empathise with and understand the visual thinking of the maker."
Stephen West's techniques of making art are the modernist handling of materials exemplified by the axiom 'truth to materials' allied with a populist and absurdist figurative descriptive or story telling element. Simple materials are important to Stephen's handling so paintings are often made with egg tempera or gouache on board or gessoed board. Drawings are charcoal or ink and often cut up and collaged so paper, card and other materials are employed to give a sculptural or alien quality to a drawing. As mark making, speed and expression are important - classic 'good' drawing is often sacrificed to a contemporary sketchy or cartoon language. Cutting stone in sculpture is more important than additive clay techniques and carving with a chisel conveys an honest mark related to the drawn mark on paper. Carving technique is 'direct carving', in other words the block is worked directly with little use of sketches or designs although drawing on the stone or on paper is employed to help deciding the direction of the sculpture.
Drawing on paper in charcoal, ink and gouache
Wood construction, paper and card construction
wax and bronze technique - wax modelling, lost wax casting
Stephen West is an artist and curator of exhibitions and artists' projects in the public realm. He studied engineering before becoming an artist and studied at Berkshire College of Art, Reading, UK and then at;
1975-78 St Martin’s School of Art, BA Hons 1st class in Painting, teachers Albert Herbert, Michael Bennet, Michael Thorpe, John Hoyland, Jennifer Durrant
1979-82 Royal College of Art, MA in Painting, teachers Ken Kiff, Peter De Francia, Graham Crowley, Philip Rawson, Christopher Cornford.
He and his family moved to Mid-Wales in 1984.
He has been appointed to;
1990-91 Liverpool Institute of Higher Education (Liverpool Hope), lecturer
1992-94 Oriel 31, Newtown, Powys, Gallery Education Officer
1993-96 Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Exhibitions Organiser
1996-99 Wrexham Arts Centre, Visual Arts Officer
1999-2007 Cywaith Cymru Artworks Wales, Head of Residencies and Co-Director
2007-2008 Safle (Public Art Wales), Director Creative Development
He has exhibited in galleries in one-person and group shows at;
Whitechapel Art Gallery, Hayward Gallery, Chenil Galleries, New Art Centre, Oriel 31 Newtown, Ruthin Craft Centre, Dartington Hall, Royal Cambrian Academy Conwy, Oriel Theatr Mwldan Cardigan, Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Wrexham Arts Centre, Ucheldre Centre Holyhead, Yale Gallery Wrexham, Royal Academy, National Eisteddfod of Wales, Hunting/Observer Prizes, Spectator/Adam Prizes etc.
Present themes include ash trees, Yggdrasil, meetings and partys, creatures, dogs, architectural spaces, natural world. These are combined with the artist’s life, contemporary events and an interest in the mythic and historical in personal off-the-cuff figurative works. Experimental drawings and more studied drawings often of architectural or natural spaces with active figures are combined with stone carvings or sculpture in wood, clay or bronze of simplified and abstracted elements. In 2013/2014 West is working on the Ash Grove series, responding to the airborne spores that threaten the european ash forest; meetings or dinner parties where a dog disturbs the proceedings; and the 1914 sculptures of Henri Gaudier-Brzeska.
Artistic influences vary from so-called 'pre-historic' painting to French Romanesque sculpture, early British and late medaeval sculpture, Italian 14th C. art of Jacopo dell Quercia and Pisano, through Piranese to the modern period of Picasso, Miro, Epstein and Gaudier-Brzeska, late moderns such as Guston and Dubuffet and the contemporary work of Paladino, Penck, Bazelitz.
Stephen has always used drawing as a primary artform and the mark, whether drawn, painted or made with a chisel is the basic element of all his work. He has always developed this mark or line to be as expressive and significant in the work as it can be while still describing the image. His principal appellation could be 'drawyer'.
International visual art project; Group exhibition in the Maison de Patrimoine in Tusson organised by Club Marpen, of British art from the Charente region. Opening on March 14th 2008 the exhibition includes work by JJ Ignatious Brennan, Shani Rhys-James, Lois Walpole, Stephen West and other British artists with studios in Charente.. Stephen West will be showing drawings made in Charente in 2007 and stone carvings in the ancient ground floor exhibition space in the rennaisance house of Margaret of Angouleme. Exhibition runs until June 2008.
Arddangoswr: Stephen West
Darlun sydyn, greddfol yw Aaaaaaa! i ddisgrifio eiliad rhwng siwrneiau car brysiog ar draws Gogledd Cymru. Mae trwch y siarcol yn bwysig.
Gweinyddol oedd y gair roeddwn i'n ei ddysgu ar gyfer fy Nghwrs Pellach tra roeddwn i'n gwneud llun yn dangos arlunydd yn cydio yn ei waith celf wrth ymyl gweinyddwr y celfyddydau a'i gadair swyddfa.
Mi wnes i alw'r darlun bychan wedi ei adeiladu yn Sculpture Materials oherwydd fod y modd y cafodd ei adeiladu a'i ddelweddau yn meddwl am gerfluniaeth hefyd mae darlun fy ngwraig o ben ein mab a'r dyfyniad gan Cerys Matthews wedi cael eu hachub o anfoneb am ddeunyddiau cerflunio.
selected group exhibitions
1982 Hayward Annual ‘British Drawing’ London and Edinburgh (Cat. Arts Council illus. p.124)
1982 Whitechapel Open
1982 Francis Graham-Dixon, London 2 person show
1990-92 Spectator/Adam Art Competitions, London and Edinburgh
1993 Hunting/Observer Art Prize Exhibition, Mall Galleries, London & tour
1993 Musee Roy Adzak, Paris 2 person show
1993-03 National Eisteddfod Arts & Crafts Exhibitions
1996 Harlech Biennale
2000 Hourglass Gallery, Hebden Bridge 2 person show
2002-03 Wales Drawing Biennale and tour
2003 Jerwood Drawing Prize Exhibition, London and tour
2004 Y Fari Lwyd. Museum of Modern Art Wales Machynlleth
2007 10x10x10, Cole & Co, Cardiff
2008 British Art in Charente, Maison du Patrimoine, Tusson, France
2008 RE: drawing, Oriel Davies, Newtown
2008 Cornerstone Gallery Liverpool
2008 'What's going on next door' MOMA Machynlleth Old Tannery building
2009 National Eisteddfod Art and Craft Exhibition - CASW Purchase Prize
The studio at Dolpebyll is an old stone barn, a former cowshed or 'beudy'. Stone carvings are made in an open air studio sometimes protected by a tarpaulin. A small field, cae gorlan, serves as a spot to draw and make sculpture. Some of the drawings and stone sculptures are made in an occasional studio in S W France near Aigre.
Cole & Co in Cardiff's trendy Roath district are showing 10 artists with works of 10"x10". Opening on 7th November 2007 Stephen West is showing a series of 4 charcoal drawings with colour added in gouache taking the 'trapdoor' series into a more claustophobic space. Other artiss showing include Iwan Bala and Brendan Burns.