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darryl corner the view.

AT first glance Evelyn Williams' work seems like illustrations of a childlike dream.

But it's not an upsetting dream or a nightmare - just one of those curious dreams that remain with you into the waking hours, where nothing quite drops into place and you can't use logic to reason out the fragments.

Girl by Evelyn Williams, who is now in her 80s, still turns out a large amount of work from her north London studio and she's not afraid of scale either.

These are not timid pieces, but ambitious, large and stylistically wide ranging.

There's often an immense amount of detail in her paintings, with backgrounds particularly highly worked.

For instance, in Early One Morning two figures venture out against a curious basket weave backdrop. Is it knitting, a detail from a whicker chair or a network of cables? A similar approach is seen in Strange Girl where a serene renaissance female face - with an expression straight out of Pisanello or Piero della Francesca - is framed by a sea of wriggly pasta-like forms.

In A Strange Place shows a couple in some quiet distress surrounded by strange semiabstract, almost biological soup, as if they're discussing their IVF treatment.

Williams' juxtaposition of the figurative and the purely patterned takes a little getting used to, but once you've seen a few and you settle into her very personal way of seeing it, it all makes sense.

And then she changes gear and you have images like Night Crowd which are much darker. Once again it's all in the detail as a sea of gloomy half-lit faces confronts you.

There are hundreds of them receding into the background.

Each one is individual, each has a separate expression, each an illustration of some marginally different human emotion.

There's no explanation of why they're waiting, why they are here looking at you. They are Williams taking snapshots of what should be fleeting moments of subconscious thought, rendering them real, giving them a permanence and clarity.

In contrast, Dewi Tudur's work is on display upstairs.

His relatively slow output makes this a rare event.

Working with landscape he creates highly stylised visions of North Wales, Pembrokeshire and Italy.

Tudur's style is distinctive, but something about it brings to mind book illustrations from the '50s. While some people's individual styles need to soak into your head for a while, Tudur's seem accessible.

He's developed a personal shorthand for the elements in his mixed media pieces based around an almost calligraphic drawing style. His trees are elongated, his buildings often lean cartoonishly into the prevailing wind.

What he does have is a great sense of composition.

Six Huts by Dewi Tudur Both the paintings and line drawings - which I preferred - have an appealing, wiry tightness about them.

His colours - particularly the darker pictures - are very well handled, often feeling like night images in which a central point of interest has been lit up by a flash of localised lightning.

Pools of bright coloured detail sit in dark, moody blues and purples. Tudur is great at light, though his approach is nonrealistic; like his drawing, it is highly dramatic.

Darryl Corner is a freelance photographer and award-winning film maker. www.darrylcorner.com

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REVIEW: Evelyn Williams and Dewi Tudur @ Martin Tinney Gallery, Cardiff, until February 6 Girl by Evelyn Williams Six Huts by Dewi Tudur
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jan 15, 2010
Words:557
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