Evelyn Williams (1929-2012)
7th September - 7th October
This exhibition consists of paintings and drawings dating from the 1950’s to 2012 and there is a fully illustrated catalogue available with essays by David Alston and Peter Wakelin. The exhibition coincides with the launch of the Evelyn Williams Drawing Award, a biennial £10,000 Award to a selected artist for a drawing project, marking a partnership between The Evelyn Williams Trust and The Jerwood Drawing Prize.
Evelyn Williams by Peter Wakelin
It seems to me self-evident that Evelyn Williams should be called a ‘great’ artist. Her paintings and drawings gleam like water drawn from the deep well of her own self and cast into a mirror pool. The reflections are not personal but universal. So when she reaches into her sensations as a mother it seems she speaks for every mother; when she paints a tree she captures the embodiment of tree-ness; her crowds somehow stand for all the generations that have ever been, setting off the same vertigo of insignificance as the infinite night sky.
Posthumous exhibitions like this are critical if we are to re-evaluate artists’ reputations. These few well-chosen paintings and drawings amply demonstrate the depth and beauty of Evelyn Williams’ work. Painters who, like her, are intimate, quiet, profound, can be lost in the rumpus made by showmen of the art world. But like another great woman artist of Wales, Gwen John, I think in time she will fly higher in reputation than many of her noisier, grander, male contemporaries. Bit by bit, her brilliance will be seen.
Dr Peter Wakelin is a writer and curator. He was formerly Director of Collections at Amgueddfa Cymru-National Museum Wales.