Discovering Wales - by Hugo Ares. Published in Bold Magazine

Thu, 01 Mar 2012

My first contact with Wales’s culture was with my family trips to Patagonia in the early '70s. That's when I discovered among other things, the Eisteddfod, the traditional welsh tea, the Cymraeg and the Patagonian Black Welsh cake, by the way, and it’s one of my favorites cakes. Certain Welsh artists explore custodial aesthetics, in which artists of all forms consciously or subconsciously become guardians of their culture, particularly of cultures under pressure from more dominant ones, like close neighbors. After many years of walking through the world, was here in Toronto where I re-found the poetry of Wales in the colorful paintings by artist Richard Noel and Frank Austin. I had the opportunity to see their work in different galleries in Toronto, and I was struck by the contrast between the deep dark colors with bright contrasts. Art should not always be pretentious, overdone or supercilious, often the beauty of simple things are what the viewer looks. Sometimes, I discovered beauty when I'm going to an artist's atelier or in a simply touring for the city galleries.

Frank Austin works out of a light filled studio in the Uplands area of the city. Frank a Swansea born artist, has developed his experience of art along a scenic route of extensive travel in Wales. His wide ranges of interests are expressed through a variety of mediums. Frank develops an aptitude and feel for solid materials, experience as a designer has instilled knowledge of colors and shape. His objective is creating a painting that produces a pleasing without hidden meanings or messages. In "Strike a light" we see solid and strong colors, full of life, in another work as "Marina" we can see how the artist evolves in shape and color and in "Washing Machine" the simplicity of bright colors.

Brynmil Marina
Washing Machine

On the other hand, in the work of Richard Noel, you will see a lot of black in his paintings. He loves using it and it works really well with the often-eccentric color palettes that he chooses. The black also represents the dark moods that sometimes come to haunt him. A lot of his work represents feelings and emotions that he has gone through. Like Frank, Richard thinks it’s half the enjoyment looking at a piece of art and finding your own interpretation. The art of Frank Austin and Richard Noel is definitely influenced by their Welsh upbringing. - "Who couldn’t be inspired by Wales with the amazing countryside and coastline?" - "The Welsh are proud and passionate – we’re certainly not afraid to show our feelings"-, as Richard's said.  Richard’s work is a mixture of expressive and abstract geometric painting. That means suppression of details, and to put a generic type for productive purposes. In his work "Awake", according to what Richard said to us, -"Occasionally I find the inspiration and creativity seem to evaporate"-. In "The Journey" we can observe a criticism to our contemporary lifestyle and how at one point; as everything can turn around. In "Animated” he expressed how often he find difficult to demonstrate his feelings. Meanwhile, in "Time To Leave" we can see as manifested in exile and adventure to be away from the family, his town and friends, like a blossom that opens to the adventure of colonizing a new world. Perhaps, the most colorful work of his series, is also, significantly the first work of Richard just arrived to Toronto.

Awake The Journey Animated Time to Leave

Today Richard Noel and Frank Austin are two artists who continue to explore the world of colors and shapes, to expose a world of emotions through a simple and graceful art.

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