Exhibitions / Collections


"Cwmbran Exhibition" by Bryn Richards

The tragic accident which, last year, cut short the life of Colin Jones, robbed Wales of a man whose influence on the development of Welsh art, both as administrator and painter, was powerful and expanding. His outlook was not narrowly regional; more than many painters he was aware of art as an international language and his knowledge and love of the cultures of other times and places were a constant source of inspiration. There is, none the less, a strong Welsh flavour about his work, particularly evident in the paintings, which shows his kinship with a number of men whose work is well known in Wales, notably Will Roberts, Josef Herman, Thomas Rathmell.

This exhibition at Llantarnam Grange, Cwmbran, is sponsored by the South Wales Group. The drawings show that acute and sensitive observation of fact was the basis of Jones's art; their directness and spontaneity is the result of a rigorous elimination of unnecessary detail, and a concentration on formal and structural essentials. This is clearly seen in the drawings of trees, buildings and plants made in France in August of last year. Jones's concern for formal clarity can be seen in all his work, not only for its own sake but more in the interest of the precise expression of the human significance of the subject.

The paintings fall into two groups: those in which drawing and painting fuse in the service of an analysis of form and character, such as the portrait of "Paul"; and those which are heavier in technique and more Expressionist in feeling such as "Pit-Head Funeral" and "Seated Figure." I saw little indication that Colin Jones was moving towards any synthesis of these coexistent styles except, perhaps, in the very dignified and moving portrait of Father Caesar which must have been among the last works he painted.