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Alfred Janes centenary exhibition

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Laura Chamberlain Laura Chamberlain | 15:15 UK time, Thursday, 3 March 2011

An exhibition to mark the centenary of the birth of Swansea-born artist Alfred Janes will open later this month at the Oriel Kooywood Gallery in Cardiff.

Janes was one of the group of many talented Welsh artists who attended the Swansea School of Art in the 20th century, and was one of the Kardomah Boys - alongside friends and contemporaries including Dylan Thomas, Vernon Watkins and Daniel Jones.

Alfred Janes photographed in 1936 in his studio in College Street, Swansea. Photo courtesy of Hilly Janes

Alfred Janes in 1936 in his studio in College Street, Swansea. Photo courtesy of Hilly Janes

Hilly Janes - the daughter of the artist - recently got in touch to tell us about the exhibition, which she is helping gallery owner Rhian Kooy to curate:

"My father was both intellectually curious and a dedicated craftsman. Whether painting in the Chelsea flat he shared with Dylan Thomas, the Gower barn that was his studio in the 1950s, or later in what had been the dining room of our house in Dulwich, he experimented with different styles and techniques, often inventing his own methods of mixing paint or introducing new and unusual materials such as sand we collected from Oxwich Bay, or perspex.

"This made him hard to pigeon-hole - never a wise move commercially - but it's what made him, according to leading 20th century art historian Mel Gooding, "one of the most inventive and creative artists of his generation".

Alfred Janes' painting The Queue (1938). Photo courtesy of Hilly Janes

Alfred Janes' painting The Queue (1938). Image © the artist, provided by Hilly Janes

"The exhibition at Oriel Kooywood is a centenary celebration of my father's work from rare early drawings to paintings completed just before he died in 1999.

"There will be portraits of contemporaries, including: Kardomah Boys Mervyn Levy and Tom Warner, and also student Chelsea flatmate, the artist William Scott; figurative scenes of post-war domestic life and Gower beaches; abstracts from the 1960s and the constructions and collages of the 1970s. In his final works he returned to a constant theme - the fruit and flowers of his parents' Swansea shop, which he described as 'my heritage in still life painting'."

Fish and Pineapple by Alfred Janes 1936. Image © the artist, provided by Hilly Janes

Fish and Pineapple by Alfred Janes, 1936. Image © the artist, provided by Hilly Janes

The exhibition at Oriel Kooywood Gallery runs from Friday 18 March  to Friday 15 April. Visit the gallery's website for further information and opening hours, and read more about Alfred Janes on the BBC Wales Arts website.


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