This week Wales Arts Review casts a spotlight on the Welsh and Wales-based artists on the exhibition shortlist of Llandudno’s MOSTYN Open 21 award, a carefully selected list of 30 international artists from over 750 submissions. Next up is Will Roberts.
Will Roberts’ paintings are about himself as well as ourselves. He uses the protagonist of his paintings on pause button to form a scene or narrative. Roberts’ paintings are essentially staged sets for an accumulation of multilayered fictitious stories often referencing other painters.
The titles of the paintings are palindromes. Roberts wants the paintings to do the same, to ‘read’ backwards as well as forwards – as the viewer is trying to decipher the painting’s properties and imagery, they in turn become part of the making of the work. In theatre, the fourth wall is imaginary, where the audience sits. You are said to break the fourth wall if you stop pretending that it’s there.
I try to mix technical complexity with deadpan wit and some lush colours, while making light references to other artists paintings. Composition is used to reveal that technology isn’t just changing society – it’s changing what it means to be human. I also hide a white rabbit in each painting.
Live not on Evil, 2018. Acrylic on wood panel, framed. 165 x 205cm.
If I had a Hi Fi, 2018. Acrylic on wood panel, framed. 165 x 205cm.
Will Roberts (b. Cardiff, UK, 1977) graduated with an MA in Fine Art from the University of Wales Cardiff (2005), and graduated with a BA in Fine Art from Manchester School of Art, (1999). Graduated with a Diploma in Fine Art from the University of Wales Institute (1996).
Awards and Grants: Arts Council of Wales, Project Grant (2018). Arts Council of Wales, Travel Grant to Venice Biennale (2009). Arts Council of Wales, Project Grant (2007 – 2008). Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff, Artist Residency (2005 – 2006).
Selected solo exhibitions include: Magpie Gallery, Cardiff, There you Aren’t (2009). Oriel Davies Gallery, Newtown, The Process of Memory: New Works by William Roberts (2008). Chapter Gallery, Cardiff, William Roberts (2006).
Selected group exhibitions include: G39, Cardiff, Everything. All At Once. At The Same Time (2018). Butetown History of Arts, Cardiff, Butetown Artists (2014). BayArt Gallery, Cardiff, 10 Years In (2011). Queens Arcade, Cardiff, Shop (2009). DegreeArt Gallery, London, Collect 4, (2008). Old Nat West Bank, Cardiff, Stick em up (2007). Tactile Bosch, Cardiff, Arcadia, (2007). Bay Arts Gallery, Cardiff, RecentGraduates, (2006). Oriel Davies Gallery, Newtown, Wales, Surface, (2006). Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff, New professionals (2006). Tactile Bosch, Cardiff, Faith (2006). Howard Gardens Gallery, Cardiff (2005). Paint Works Gallery, Bristol (2005).
Will Roberts currently lives and works in Cardiff.
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 before the end of the exhibition on October 27th. The winners are announced on October 22nd.