This exhibition contains a selection of work, in a range of media, focused on the Ceredigion landscape, including a collection of work produced during the last 18 months showing the changing seasons in the river Arth valley. The river runs close by Philip’s studio and is an outstanding example of the remodelling of a landscape to conform to the aesthetic principles of the Picturesque, a cultural movement which was at its height at the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th century. The Arth valley also provided the inspiration for the book ‘Cwm y Wrach’ (‘The Witches Valley’), a fantastical story for children by Meilyr Siôn, and several illustrations produced for the book are included in the exhibition.
Philip hopes the exhibition will inspire people to visit the Ceredigion landscape to experience its magic and beauty.
Philip was born and grew up in Oxford where he completed an Art and Design Foundation Year. In the early 70s, he studied Art and History at University College of Wales Aberystwyth, gaining a Bachelor of Arts degree. After completing a post graduate Art and Design teacher training course at Sussex University he took up his first teaching post in Hertfordshire in 1976.
For the next 33 years, he continued to draw and paint whenever possible, usually during family holidays, in the firm belief that teachers, through their own personal practice, should stay connected with the subject that brought them into education. Many is the time that his two children went on circular walks in Wales with his wife so that he could stay put and work hard to fill the pages of a sketch book.
In 2010 Philip moved from Lincolnshire to Wales to study for an MA in Fine Arts at his old alma mater in Aberystwyth - he was awarded a university scholarship and in 2012 he gained his Master’s Degree in Fine Art. The desire to return to Wales had been growing during the final stage of his career with an aspiration to paint and draw the Welsh landscape. No word exists in the English language to describe this longing but Welsh gives the perfect word, Hiraeth, a yearning for a place whose absence makes life incomplete. The study of the landscape formed the focus of the MA and during the course he began to study Welsh in a desire to draw closer to the landscape he was portraying: the names and deep cultural history that pervades the valleys, hills, villages, and man-made structures in Ceredigion.
Philip now has work in private collections across the UK and Welsh national collections, including the National Library of Wales and MOMA Machynlleth. He has also had his work published in two books, ‘Hud Afon Arth’ (‘The Magic of the Arth’) and ‘Ysbryd Ystrad Fflur’ (‘The Spirit of Strata Florida’), where he has collaborated with the Welsh poet and Eisteddfod Crown Winner Cyril Jones, the Archaeologist Professor David Austin and the cultural historian Rhiannon Evans, rooting his artistic expression in the cultural life of Wales as well as it’s landscapes. Both books contain collections of poetry, artwork and essays focusing on the archaeological and cultural history of Ceredigion. His work has been shown on S4C and he has completed several interviews on S4C and BBC Radio Cymru. He has also been commissioned to produce work for the Welsh National Eisteddfod.
Meilyr grew up in the Aberaeron area and now works as a freelance author, presenter, and actor. Over the years he has appeared in a number of stage shows, including The Lion King and television shows such as Holby City, Pobol y Cwm and Teulu. He has also recorded several radio plays for Radio 4, Radio Wales and Radio Cymru, and provided the voices for countless cartoons on S4C. More recently Meilyr has turned to writing, contributing stories to the programme Tic Toc on Radio Cymru. He has published previous books with Gomer, including Cyfres Parc Deri and Bwystfil Bryn Bugail which are part of the Sgwigod series. In 2017 he published his fifth book 'Cysgod y Darian'. This Winter he will be starting work on his ninth book.
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