Going Modern: The Struggle for Abstract Art in Wales
This display looks at the development of abstract painting in Wales in the 1950s and 60s.
During the Second World War artists in Britain were isolated from the latest international developments. Tradition and nostalgia, often explored with reference to landscape, dominated British art throughout the 1940s.
By the 1950s British artists were looking to Paris and New York where new forms of abstract painting were emerging.
Movements such as American Abstract Expressionism were very influential, with many progressive British artists favouring abstraction over representation.
Yet abstract painting and sculpture still remained controversial with a wider public. For many it exemplified the inaccessibility of modern art.
This hostility encouraged many artists to form groups to support and promote the values of modern, abstract art.
In Wales perhaps the most important artist-led organisation to promote abstraction was 56 Group Wales. Many of its members taught in art schools in south Wales. The group organised exhibitions that promoted the universal values of modernist art.
The original group formed in 1956 and had 12 members. The Groupís main aim was to promote the values of modern art through organising exhibitions of membersí work. It was an important platform for progressive artists based in Wales. They wanted their work to be seen and understood as outward looking and international.