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Press Release

Rob Piercy’s Landscapes back at Oriel Môn

15.06.24 – 28.07.24

Prominent Landscape artist Rob Piercy has always been a firm favourite with our audience at Oriel Môn and we are delighted to welcome him back this year with a major solo exhibition ‘Spirit of Place’, which presents some of his best breath-taking landscapes of North Wales.

Rob Piercy has been painting professionally since the early eighties. He trained as an art teacher and taught until 1990 when he decided to give up his teaching role and concentrate solely on his painting. A brave move considering that at the time he and Enid, his wife, were bringing up a young family, paying a mortgage and at that time his now well-established gallery was still unfinished!

Previously a member of the Alpine Club of Great Britain, Rob is an experienced mountaineer having climbed throughout the UK and Europe. Naturally his favourite subject matter are the mountains, particularly his native Snowdonia.

Rob states, “I still love the hills and mountains but regretfully Crib Goch is beyond me these days, but I’m grateful to be able to negotiate my way up the lower summits. Thankfully landscape however comes in all forms and here in Wales we are blessed with a magnificent landscape encapsulating not only the mountains but a spectacular coastline, bleak and lonely moorland, stunning lakes and valleys and beautiful villages. Enough to keep an ageing artist happy for many years.”

Rob has exhibited his work in several prestigious competitions throughout the UK, most notably in the Sunday Times Watercolour Competition where his work has been regularly accepted for exhibition. In the year 2000 he was shortlisted for the celebrated Garrick/Milne Art Prize worth £20,000 to the winner. Two years later he became Welsh Artist of the Year, and in 2008 he published his first book – ‘The Snowdonia Collection’. There followed two more books, in 2012 ‘Portmerion – An Artist’s Perspective’ and ‘Cwm Idwal’ in 2021.

Nicola Gibson, Visitor Experience Manager, Oriel Môn stated “These days, Rob’s work is mainly exhibited within his own gallery in Porthmadog, therefore it is a great honour and privilege for us to be able to show his stunning paintings here at the Oriel. For lovers of landscapes, this exhibition is one not to be missed this year”.

‘Spirit of Place’ starts on the 15th of June and can be viewed at Oriel Môn until the 28th of July.

Winners of the prestigious ‘Sir Kyffin Williams Drawing Prize’ announced at Oriel Môn.

Oriel Môn is delighted to announce the opening of the sixth ‘Sir Kyffin Williams Drawing Prize’ exhibition, which opens its doors 23 March, 2024.

The ‘Sir Kyffin Williams Drawing Prize’ was established by the Sir Kyffin Williams Trust and Oriel Môn, in memory of Wales’s most prolific and best loved artist, and for the support that he gave to other artists and the value he placed on drawing skills.

The celebrated Drawing Competition is held every three years with £3,000 awarded to the overall prize winner and £1,000 awarded to the student prize winner.

This year the Prize for the Overall Competition goes to Ian Fisher from Llanelli. Ian’s work explores the landscape and culture of Wales through etchings and drawings. His aim is not to recreate an accurate representation of a particular landscape in Wales but to capture the ‘spirit of the place’ and to look at the relationship between the Welsh landscape and the country’s culture, history, art and mythology.

Ian states, “Etchings are essentially an act of drawing, but it is possible to produce a number and variety of images and is therefore more democratic and less restrictive than other image making processes”.

On winning the prize, Ian said “I am extremely pleased and flattered to have won the ‘Kyffin Williams Drawing Prize’ being very aware of distinguished past winners such as Colin See-Paynton and Eleri Mills. My etching was inspired by a 16th century engraving the ‘Fools Cap Map of the World’. No one knows why, when and by whom the map was made, and it is probably a mystery that will never be solved”

“I wanted to produce a satirical map using this image of a jester’s cap, and my etching is based on things I have read, seen, and been told about Wales. Consequently, it contains truths and untruths, but not necessarily lies.”

The student prize goes to Joshua Griffith from Holyhead, currently studying a BA Fine Art Course at Grwp Llandrillo Menai, for his graphite and acrylic drawing entitled ‘Biomorph #1’.

Joshua said, “My most recent body of work is focused on the relationship between space and form. I typically work through the mediums of sculpture and observational drawing. I am drawn to organic forms and how they react to different environments”.

Joshua went on to state “I’d like to thank Oriel Môn and the ‘Kyffin Williams Drawing Prize’ panel for selecting my entry for the student award, drawing has always played a very important role in my creative journey, so it makes me so happy to see it celebrated in the form of this prize”.

Once again, this year’s prize has been generously sponsored by Mike Davies, an Internationally known Architect, honoured with a ‘Légion d’Honneur’ from the French President and a CBE awarded by HM Queen Elizabeth – and who was one of the founding partners in the company ‘Rogers, Stirk, Harbour and Partners’ - the architects of the Senedd Building, Cardiff.

Mr John Smith, Chairman of the Sir Kyffin Williams Trust said, “It has given the Kyffin Williams Trust great pleasure to work in partnership with Oriel Môn, to organize the Drawing Prize again this year”.

“What inspires us all are Sir Kyffin’s basic creative principals, and his emphasis on the importance of the skill of drawing. We were very fortunate to have three distinguished Welsh artists on our panel of judges this year. I would like to thank Eleri Mills, who was the winner of the prize in 2021, Luned Rhys Parri and Darren Hughes for the daunting task of shortlisting and choosing this year’s winners”.

“On behalf of the Trust, I extend my thanks to fellow Welshman and internationally prominent architect, Mike Davies, who has sponsored the Drawing Prize for the second time this year. Mike Davies spent some of his childhood in Waunfawr, where he came to love the mountains of Eryri before having Kyffin as his ‘inspirational Art Master at Highgate in the late fifties’.

“I would also like to thank all the artists who applied this year, to all the staff at Oriel Môn, and especially Nicola Gibson, Visitor Experience Manager, for her dedicated and detailed arrangements for the Drawing Prize”.

Since the inaugural Drawing Prize competition in 2009, the number of artists applying has increased considerably, with entrants from all over Wales and England. The winning art works by Ian Fisher and Joshua Griffith along with works produced by the other shortlisted artists will be on display at the ‘Kyffin Williams Drawing Prize’ exhibition at Oriel Môn, from 23 March to 7 July, 2024.


Criw Celf arts workshops

Gwynedd Community Arts, Oriel Môn and Galeri are developing a plan for provision of Criw Celf arts workshops for ages 11-24 in Gwynedd and Môn. Please help us by filling in this survey. Thank you for your participation.

Leonard McComb

Preparation work has begun for the 2025 retrospective exhibition of Leonard McCombs work. This drawing is titled 'Rock and Sea, Anglesey (Benllech), 1983. We are laying out the work - the largest drawing ever shown in Oriel Môn to ensure it will fit.

Press Release

Alone Together at Oriel Môn

A new exhibition opens at Oriel Môn on the 23rd of September. Alone Together is an exhibition by three female artists Jess Bugler RCA, Leonie Bradley and Prerna Chandiramani which explores the nature of aloneness from isolation to solitude.

Leonie, Jess and Prerna are known as the artist collective SPIKED. They started working together in lockdown and through their shared anxiety began to consider aloneness as a spectrum with isolation at one end and solitude at the other. Solitude is a positive state of aloneness that many choose to seek out.

Leonie Bradley stated “When we came together as a group, we analysed the words associated with aloneness and agreed on a set of seven that became the foundation of our bodies of work: isolation, loneliness, alienation, disconnection, remoteness, seclusion and solitude.”

Each artist responds differently to the emotions along the spectrum. Their responses are interwoven but individual: Bugler using the theme of wooded enclosures; Bradley, the symbolism of keys; and Chandiramani, language and folding. The installation itself forms a curved line with the artworks creating an enclosure that can be entered and viewed from inside. The ‘solitude end’ of the spectrum is wide and inviting, the ‘isolation end’ tightly wound and claustrophobic.

Chandiramani states “The artworks are printed onto translucent material, evoking the fragility of individual experience, whilst allowing the viewer to see through the multiple layers reminding the viewer of the commonality we share.”

The exhibition will also provide visitors with an opportunity for reflection on our shared yet unique experiences of being alone during lockdown, by participating in the creation of a new artwork which will be displayed at a future venue.

Bugler said, “It is the ambivalence of aloneness, central to our human condition, which I have found absorbing and challenging as this project has progressed.”
SPIKED is an artists’ collective creating installations to explore communication and memory. The artists have each been awarded the Peter Reddick Bursary for Innovation in Relief Printmaking at Spike Print Studio, Bristol.

Leoni Bradley is a member of the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers. Jess Bugler was recently elected to the Royal Cambrian Academy and Prerna Chandiramani is a member of Printmakers’ Council.

Alone Together will be shown at Oriel Môn until the 5th of November.  

Press Release

David Nash: Seeing Trees at Oriel Mon

“Trees show their time-story through their form. At all stages trees and wood reveal their place and progress in this great cycle of coming and going, soaked in weather and time.”

David Nash

For the very first time, Oriel Mon is thrilled to be hosting an exhibition of works on paper by world renowned artists and sculptor David Nash. The exhibition Seeing Trees opens its doors in Oriel Kyffin Williams at Oriel Mon on the 9th of September.

The main body of this exhibition was shown at Yorkshire Sculpture Park in 2022 as part of a celebration of David Nash’s long-standing relationship with the park and recognition of his 2D work. As many of the drawings are connected to north Wales, where Nash has his home and studio in Blaenau Ffestiniog, Oriel Môn was the obvious choice to host this special exhibition, which is further extended with a feature on Ash Dome, Nash’s celebrated planting work.

David Nash has dedicated his artistic life to an evolving study of trees and wood, absorbing knowledge through hands-on planting projects and making sculptural works, but throughout his career drawing has remained a cornerstone of his practice. This exhibition at the Kyffin Williams Gallery at Oriel Môn celebrates David Nash’s drawings of trees, which for five decades have generously provided subject, material and inspiration.

Seeing Trees captures this close relationship in drawings ranging from the observational and documentary, through to intensely coloured, abstract works that capture the very essence of their vegetation and life force.

Ian Jones, Collections Manager, Oriel Môn stated, “Many will be aware and amazed by David’s work with wood and environmental art, but this exhibition aims to highlights his skills as a draughtsman. Drawing is an integral part of his sculptural work and reveals his thought processes. As you will see in this exhibition, they make a powerful statement and stand-alone quite magnificently withing Oriel Kyffin Williams”.

David Nash says, “My father was born in North Wales. His work was in London but his heart remained where he grew up. Every holiday, Easter, Summer, Autumn half term and Christmas he drove us up to stay in Llan Ffestiniog with his parents. All my nature and seasonal experience was gained among trees in the Ffestiniog valley, and it is where I feel most at home. Drawing was a constant occupation as a child which led me to art school and finding a life as an artist in north Wales”.

Spanning five decades, the broad range of drawings shown reflect different processes and types of mark making, from fine graphite to thick, smoky charcoal, and bold swathes of colour achieved by applying pure pigment with cloth. The dynamic Big Beech Going at Space (1978) an early work made at Llan Ffestiniog, coveys the pure energy of growth through minimal yet highly expressive lines. This directness comes from drawing immediately and rapidly from life in the landscape and is driven by the particular qualities of trees and their environments. Other works reflect a greater distance, made in the studio and concentrating on embodying the sensation of a principal characteristic such as colour, as so vibrantly demonstrated in Red Tree (2012) or in May (2020) and July (2020) which capture and distil the colours in nature around us. Place is also often reflected directly in the process with the artists using materials such bracken char in Cae’n-y-Coed (1980) and earth from the surrounding ground for Ash Dome (2007). Autumn Leaves in a River, November, Llan Ffestiniog (1983), was made by drawing single leaves with ink as they flowed past and then repeatedly dipping the paper in the river water to build up layers of different densities and reflect the durational nature of making.

Sarah Coulson, Senior Curator at Yorkshire Sculpture Park says of the work “the exhibition reflects the great energy and passion of a uniquely skilled draughtsman”.

Seeing Trees will be shown in Oriel Kyffin Williams until the 10th of March, 2024.  

People at the opening of David Nash exhibition
People enjoying cocktails and tapas at Caffi Bach y Bocs

A fantastic turn out on Friday evening for the opening of David Nash exhibition – Seeing Trees
with many people enjoying a Cocktail and Tapas evening at Caffi Bach y Bocs.


Sampler of South Stack Island made by Jane Griffiths in 1837. Given by the family of Nancy Sykes.

Here we have Chris, one of our volunteers, working on one Oriel Môn’s recent new acquisition – the Ieuan Williams collection of drawings and paintings. This exciting collection, kindly donated by the artist, includes some 144 drawings and paintings, all Anglesey based and date from the 1960s onwards.