It is with great sadness that we hear about the passing of Valerie Ganz this September 2015.
Valerie Ganz was born in Swansea. She attended Swansea College of Art and studied painting, sculpture and stained glass. She remained as a tutor until 1973 when she turned her attention to painting full time. She passed away in 2015.
As her interest in the landscape of South Wales grew, her attention was drawn to the landscape of industrial areas and, in particular, the mining industry, she worked at fourteen different collieries.
In 1985 she took a house and studio at Six Bells, Abertillery. For nearly a year she worked at the Six Bells Colliery, alongside the miners both above ground and at the coalface. In the evening she made studies of the miners and their families at choir practice, in the snooker halls and in the chapel. The work formed the basis of many exhibitions, in particular the mining exhibition at the Glynn Vivian Gallery, Swansea in 1986, “Mining in Art” with Josef Herman, Jack Crabtree and Nicholas Evans.
A year in London followed, where she set up her studio and worked everyday at the Central School of Ballet. This was to develop still further a long held interest in figurative drawing, with a subject that had interested her for many years. Since then frequent visits to the theatre, when ballet or pantomime is being presented continues this work. She is at present working with the Ballet Russe based at the Grand Theatre, Swansea.
In 1990 a fresh opportunity to pursue her interest in coal mining arose when she was commissioned by British Coal Opencast to study at three open cast sites in South Wales.
This was followed by a trip to China, with its eerie beauty and its dramatic contrasts, providing a rich source of inspiration for landscape painting.
Jazz musicians have been a subject of her work for several years. This led in Spring 1991 to a visit to the vibrant jazz quarter of New Orleans. This interest continues, and she has since worked at a number of jazz festivals. In 1992 she was the official artist for the Brecon Jazz Festival and was also chosen to produce the designs for the Millennium Festival 2000.
The Moscow State Circus on a visit to Wales was persuaded to allow her to work behind the scenes while performers rehearsed or waited to enter the ring. She found the age old excitement of the big top a fascinating subject and she has since followed them to many more venues around the Country.
Swansea Prison gave her access to a six month close study of Prison life, she had full cooperation from the prisoners and staff which resulted in a series of work which were exhibited at Attic Gallery in Swansea. One of which now is hanging in the National Assembly.
Her love of travel has led to many landscape and figurative works in Brazil, Argentina, Cuba, China and many parts of Europe. An ongoing interest in etching and lithography adds to the list of work already editioned.
Her work has been acquired by many private and public collections some of which are listed below:-
- National Museum of Wales
- National Library of Wales
- National Assembly Cardiff
- Palace of Westminister
- Brecknock and Carmarthen Museums
- The Glyn Vivian Art Gallery Swansea
- Valerie Ganz is a member of the Royal Cambrian Academy