We take a look at the details of Elfyn Lewis’ solo exhibition, Anochel, which recently showed at TEN gallery – a collection of abstract art demonstrating a marked evolution in the painter’s work following challenges incited by the pandemic.
Porthmadog-born painter, Elfyn Lewis, is known for his unique abstract painting style. Lewis’ work has been exhibited widely throughout the UK including five exhibitions at TEN gallery. An acclaimed Welsh artist, he’s been the recipient of a number of awards including the National Eisteddfod’s Gold Medal for Fine Art as well as achieving the title of Welsh artist of the year in 2010.
In 2020, his exhibition with TEN opened just days before lockdown hit, inevitably disrupting the showing of his work and putting it on hold for an unknown amount of time. Happily, his most recent exhibition, Anochel, was able to return with something new in February and March – a collection of paintings which blur the boundaries between painting and sculpture with thickly layered paint on laser-cut plywood.
Place has been a thematic concern of Lewis’ throughout numerous collections, and in Anochel – with the added time and work of a lockdown period – that theme is expanded to more directly include a concern with Welsh language and the Welsh place names which are slowly slipping into disuse. Writing on this subject in his work, Lewis says:
“The Welsh language is at the core of my work. I name each painting to reflect a feeling, a particular word or a place names in Wales. This is important to me – especially when seeing the disappearance of so many Welsh names, lost forever. I see old ways disappearing, and a small country rich in history losing her identity and losing sight of her future. But this work looks back in order to look forward, discovering new avenues. I testify through my paintings. They represent myself and my birth-place – a Welsh man finding his voice through an international language.”
With the passing of two years, Lewis has been able to develop in new directions with more focus put on the why’s and how’s of his work. It’s a process, he explains, that may have been inevitable, and yet, it was the conditions of lockdown which helped him get their faster, with Lewis commenting: “I might well have reached the same point in my practice under normal circumstances, yet the journey of these developments might have taken a fair while longer. Now, the paint spills and overflows over the edges of the work, pooling in colours – like rivers making their way to the sea in an ever-changing landscape. These are little steps, steps which take time – the making and re-making over and over – this is my process.”
More information on Elfyn Lewis at TEN gallery is available here.