'Hafod Revisited' Aberystwyth Print Makers
Aug 1st - 31st 2009
Aberystwyth Printmakers is a group of fine art printmakers. They have taken the original John Warwick Smith prints commissioned by Thomas Johnes of the Hafod Estate near Devils Bridge as the inspiration for their first themed exhibition. A set of original Warwick Smith prints from 1809 will be on show alongside the contemporary works. This show is a celebration of the 'Picturesque Landscape' but also of fresh and new interpretations of landscape through the medium of printmaking.
Exhibiting printmakers will discuss the exhibition in the gallery at 2.30 on Friday 7th August, 2009
Aberystwyth Printmakers, a contemporary group of fine art printmakers, have been busy revisiting the Hafod estate, just 15 miles inland from Aberystwyth.
What did they find?
The magnificent house is no longer there but the extensive woodlands and dramatic waterfalls are an especially exciting place to visit. Today the restored walks and footpaths around Hafod are open to the public and various routes through the grounds have been restored to encourage visitors to enjoy the landscape and to engage with the history of the estate.
Stuart Evans, who works at Ceredigion museum and is also a print maker, explains the background to this new display at the museum ,
'In Ceredigion Museum, Aberystwyth you will find a collection of prints by Joseph Stadler, dated 1809, showing the Hafod estate. These printed images were produced from the commissioned original watercolour paintings by John 'Warwick' Smith (1749 -1831), who was invited to visit and paint images of the estate. The Aberystwyth Printmakers decided to go back there two hundred years later to look again.'
In the late eighteenth century the Hafod estate was designed in the Picturesque style by the owner Thomas Johnes (1748-1816) and became an essential destination for visitors touring Wales.
Stuart continues, 'In an attempt to bring together depictions of this landscape the Aberystwyth Printmakers have been working towards producing images inspired by the historic estate and responding to the fifteen original prints by Stadler. By attempting to locate the exact view point of the original works we began to find all sorts of interesting parts of the estate and we each worked on aspects that appealed to each individual member.'
The aim of this art project is to look again at that landscape, with its breathtaking views, and build an individual response to the place. It also strives to display various images as examples of how artists experience and convey landscape through making print. Stuart comments here,' Some of the printmakers chose to show more intimate and detailed parts of the estate while others responded to the history and stories that have come from the Hafod. The resulting work illustrates the influences of earlier picture makers and composition but also goes forward to more abstract and literal images.'
Each printmaker has their own strengths and style and it is interesting to see how each person has responded and selected images to depict. After an initial visit to the estate members of the group have been returning to draw and photograph the landscape then use their skills to produce new work back in their own studios.
The Hafod Trust has supported this venture and a booklet accompanying the exhibition is available from the gallery. Members of the Aberystwyth Printmakers will be talking about their work and the exhibition on August 7th at 2.30 in the gallery.
For more information about the original Joseph Stadler prints and how artists have related to Hafod see; 'An attempt to describe Hafod', by George Cumberland reprinted by the National Library of Wales 1996 and 'An attempt to Depict Hafod, An Artistic Impression by David S. Yerburgh', 2000.
For more information about the Hafod Trust see http://www.hafod.org/