The best art exhibitions to see in Wales in 2014

By Richard Moss | 30 December 2013

Get your new calendars out and make a few notes with this Culture24 guide to some of the the best art exhibitions in Wales during 2014

an abstract landscape painting
Clare Woods, Hill of Hurdles (2010). Part of National Museum Cardiff's Wales: A Visitation© The artists and Stuart Shave / Modern Art
How about this for a new take on landscape painting? National Museum Cardiff’s Wales: A Visitation. Poetry, Romanticism and Myth in Art, (February 22 - September 7) takes the neo-Romantic work of David Jones, Graham Sutherland, Richard Long and contemporary abstract landscape painter Clare Woods and wraps it around an LSD-infused trip to Wales made by beat poet Allen Ginsberg in 1967.

The poem Ginsberg wrote after his adventure, Wales a Visitation, drew on an imagined Celtic past, landscape and folklore - let’s hope the paintings evoke old Ginsey’s beat mysticism - and vice versa.

Another Welsh landscape artist gets the retrospective treatment in Richard Wilson: The Transformation of European Art (July 5 – October 25), which marks the 300th anniversary of the death of perhaps Wales’ greatest artist and one of the first British artists to exploit the way landscape painting could have layers of meaning and convey mood and emotions.

The UK’s biggest Art Prize, the Artes Mundi 6, which for 2014 has produced a typically eclectic and forward looking shortlist, also opens its exhibition in Cardiff on October 26. The winner will be announced on January 22 2015.

At Natonal Museum Wales' picturesque partner gallery in Brecon, Oriel y Parc, Peter Blake's ambitious interpretation of Under Milk Wood follows up its stint in Cardiff (until March 16) with a spell in the beautiful National Park (May 27 - September 23) for the Dylan Thomas Centenary.

In the city of Thomas's birth, Swansea, the National Waterfront Museum continues its absorbing examination of Graham Sutherland's wartime sketchbook drawings From Darkness into Light - Mining, Metal and Machines (until March 23).

Oriel Davies, in Newport, kicks off its 2014 programme by showcasing one of its Open winners. Tracer: Melanie Manchot (February 1 - April 16) features a series of films focussing on Parkour runners as they trace a route across the urban environment.

Manchot lines up with fellow Open winners Mary Vettise and Morgan Griffith before the next crop of new artists emerges in the Oriel Davies Open 2014 (April 26 – June 18).

At Oriel Mostyn, in Llandudno, the little-known landscape work of renowned photographer Tom Wood (January 18 – April 6) will be hung "salon style" in the gallery’s Victorian gallery spaces. Made in response to the West of Ireland, Merseyside and North Wales, the photos make their premiere at Mostyn as part of a major touring exhibition of Wood's previously unseen and unpublished photographic works spanning 40 years.

Following up, The Biscuit Tin Photo Archive (April 26 – June 18) is a fascinating community photography project - inspired by the Wood exhibition - documenting rural life in North Wales.

Aberystwyth Arts Centre has an intriguing exhibition of Post Office posters in Designs on Delivery GPO Posters from 1930 to 1960 (January 18 – March 8) featuring the work of designers such as Edward McKnight Kauffer, Tom Eckersley, Leonard Beaumont and F. K. Henrion.

The prints make a nice entrée to the gallery’s William Kentridge as Printmaker  (March 8 – Friday May 16), which features the South African artist’s etchings, engravings, aquatints, silkscreens, linocuts and lithographs.

Finally to Oriel Ynys Môn in Anglesey who follow up their fine Kyffin Williams and Venice exhibition (until February 2) with Standing Stones (January 25 - March 9) which utilises the talents of local artists and Anglesey school pupils to capture the life of these fantastic monuments.

You might also like:

The best art exhibitions to see in London during 2014

The best art exhibitions to see in the North West in 2014

The best art exhibitions to see in the South West during 2014

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Also worth mentioning 'Correspondences', art inspired by the poetry of RS Thomas at Glyn y Weddw, Llanbedrog. Also showing Tim Davies's film which was shown at the Venice Biennale.
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