david garner

MOSTYN Open 21 Spotlight: David Garner

Selected from over 750 submissions from across the globe, the 21st anniversary edition of the MOSTYN Open, an international exhibition prize with £10,000 going to the winner, presents over 30 artists working in disciplines including textiles, photography, painting, sculpture, installation and film and video. In the run up to the announcement of the winner on October 22nd in Llandudno, Wales Arts Review puts the spotlight on the seven Welsh and Wales-based artists selected for the final, starting with David Garner.

With submissions from all over the world for the 21st MOSTYN Open exhibition it says a lot about the quality of contemporary visual art being produced, either in Wales or by Welsh artists, that seven of the 34 selected artists have such strong connections here. The selection was made by four independent arts professionals including the Editorial Director of Frieze in London, Jennifer Higgie, Katerina Gregos, an independent curator from Brussels, Hannah Conroy, the Co-Director and Curator at Kunstraum, London, and Alfredo Cramerotti, Director of MOSTYN. The selection process took four days in total and, crucially, was based on a process of ‘blind selection’, so the panel didn’t know the identity of the artists or where they were based.

David Garner: Biography

David Garner was born in Ebbw Vale, South Wales. He studied at Newport and Cardiff College of Art and the Royal College, London. He has exhibited widely including the National Museum Cardiff, the Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow and the Hubert Winter Gallery Vienna. Garner is one of Walesleading visual artists, having exhibited work alongside internationally acclaimed artists such as Louise Bourgeois, Jenny Holzer, Bill Viola and Mark Wallinger. His work has been purchased by the National Museum and Galleries of Wales, Contemporary Arts Society of Wales and the Richard and Rosemary Wakelin Purchase Award. He was awarded the Ivor Davies Awardfor work that conveys the spirit of activism in the struggle for language, culture and politics in Wales.Most recently Garner was shortlisted to represent Wales in Venice for 2019.

David Garner

Bone of Contention 2018
(canvas, bone buttons, paint)

Bine of Contention is a trade union-style banner in homage to Thomas Paine. Paine was one of the first journalists to use media as a weapon against the entrenched power structures. He invented contemporary political journalism, creating almost by himself a mass reading public, aware for the first time of its right to encounter controversial opinions and to participate in politics. 

A combination of text and an emoji style image derived from a bone button of which there are approximately 500 sewn on the banner. It is believed that Paines exhumed remains were lost in transit from the US to the UK and were recycled into bone buttons. The crossed femur bones together with the button bone emoji form a warning symbol. Paine was vilified has he pioneered the concept of the uncensored flow of ideas, and the radical proposition that people should control their own lives.

David Garner

Cleanse 1977-2018
(metal sign, soap, soap dish)

Cleanse is a metal sign with a quote from Mark Twain. It is the soap dish that Garner’s father brought home after his last shift working as a coal miner for fifty years. The soap is embossed with the initial PHB, referring to Pit Head Baths.


To find out more about MOSTYN Open 21 you can visit the gallery website here.

This week Wales Arts Review will be casting a spotlight on the other six Welsh or Wales-based artists on the competition exhibition shortlist. The announcement of the winners is on October 22nd.