It’s that time of year again! With Christmas nearing and 2023 drawing to a close, we continue our look back at some of the best art and cultural offerings to come out of Wales this year. Today, we’re reflecting on the best Welsh visual art of 2023 and revisiting some of our favourite exhibitions from this year.
Pax by MOMA Machynlleth
Pax commemorates the centenary of the Women of Wales’ Peace Appeal of 1923-24. Engaging with a wide variety of media, such as painting, printing, photography, video and sculpture, this exhibition brings to light this astonishing, little-celebrated campaign. You can read the review here
Anne Cakebread at Oriel Canfas
Focusing on skyscapes, Cakebread’s 2023 exhibition at Oriel Canfas attempts to capture the feeling of “looking up and realising how small you are”. The exhibition features a range of compositions, reflecting the variety of Cakebread’s wider work.
Gwales by Ben Lloyd Gwales
Gwales is an installation – a black silage-bale house, a 9-minute film, and a little paper pamphlet – which imagines a utopian island, Gwales, figuring the Mabinogi’s émigrés as present-day Welsh citizens striving to save the scraps of their culture. Topical, scary and brilliant.
Figuratively Speaking by Louise Morgan
Excitingly showcasing her diverse range of work, Figuratively Speaking spans different media, including oils, acrylics and mixed media, and includes figurative and landscape works. Morgan defines herself as a ‘very experimental’ artist, and we can surely see that here!
A Deeper Understanding by Oriel Davies
Featuring the work of a range of artists, the title of this contemplative exhibition comes the Kate Bush track. Featuring the work of a range of artists, A Deeper Understanding responds to ‘Tobias and the Angel’ and creates a connection to the Renaissance masterpiece through to our time.
Pretty in Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre
Pretty: the new solo exhibition by local Welsh artist Jess Parry. It shares a series of work that combines collage, embroidery and found materials to construct monstrous feminine forms – a refreshingly new way to explore and portray feminity in art: something long dominated by the male gaze.
Walter Keeler in Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre
Keeler is an internationally renowned potter who creates useful pieces that explores the sculptural potential of functional design. The exhibition coincides with Keeler’s 81st birthday, a testimony to the longevity of his career!
Suspended in Time by Caitlin Flood Molyneux
Art has always played a role in telling stories – but Molyneux looks to subvert this tradition in Suspended in Time. A combination of collage, abstraction and layering, and full of colour – inspired by the Norweigen cityscape they witnessed during their year abroad, this exhibition encourages investigation into emotions and experiences that move us.
Roan/m by Sarah Le Quang Sang
Roan/m is a multi-media exploration of the right to roam, land access and ethnic diversity in rural spaces. In her current exhibition at MOMA Machynlleth, SLQS re-visits and pulls together three previous performative works: Find.ers.Keep.ers – a series of maps, photos and videos, Áo dài, a collection of photographs and Walking Together, a film exploring the relationship humans have with horses..
Hill Rhythms, David Jones
Hill Rhythms brings the opportunity to celebrate the modernist artist David Jones afresh in what will be the first major presentation of his work in Wales since his centenary in 1995. On exhibition are Jones’s paintings of the surrounding Welsh mountanious scenery at Capel-y-ffin, which he attributes for his new direction in art.
Hidden Voices of Power
Hidden Voices of Power is a new exhibition at the Elysium Gallery in Swansea and features Joel Morris, Melissa Rodrigues, Anna Smith, Nathan Thomas and Jasmine Violet and uses their work to tell the powerful stories which explore black bi-racial talent as artists trained and living in Wales.
Assignments23: BPPA At Ffotogallery
For the first time, the British Press Photographers Association brought its annual exhibition, Assignments23, to Wales and to Cardiff’s Ffotogallery. Traditionally, this event helps us remember and reflect on some of the key events of UK life in the last year. The exhibition is the result of an open call and entrants have been judged by a panel of jurors including Phil Coburn (Daily Mirror), Talar Kalajian (Agence France-Presse), Matthew Fearn (The Telegraph), Alan Crowhurst (Getty Images) and Freddie Sloan (Hello Magazine).
Artes Mundi 10
Artes Mundi 10 (AM10) is a watershed moment for the organisation, as it celebrates the past 20 years of working with some of the most exceptional artistic voices of recent times and looks ahead to ensuring we remain relevant for the next 20 years. To mark this 20th anniversary, five venues across Wales have been chosen as exhibition spaces, giving Artes Mundi a genuine Wales-wide presence, as was the ambition of our founding chair, William Wilkins.
You can find out more about Artes Mundi 10 by visiting the website.
Mohammed Hassan Photography
Welsh-Egyptian photographer, Mohamed Hassan, mapped Hasan’s depictions of Wales against her own experience of belonging and home. Having lived in Wales for 13 years, these photographs provide remedy for homesickness and are a warming source of comfort in unsettled times, with soft, nostalgic depictions of landscapes from a place of movement – roads, paths, horse.