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Review: St David’s Hall Christmas Exhibition

(January 04, 2013)

Review: St David’s Hall 2012 Christmas Exhibition

St Davids Hall - Geraint Evans Billy Banks
Billy Banks, PenarthGeraint Evans
in situ at St David’s Hall 2012 Christmas Exhibition

© St David's Hall, Cardiff

If your Christmases have ever involved sneaking around corners trying to peak at treats that might be coming your way, you may find St David’s Hall Christmas Exhibition as satisfying as I do.

St David’s Hall, in the heart of Cardiff’s Hayes, is now hugged by the new St David’s 2 Shopping Centre, so tightly it may be missed. The Hall is renowned for world class classical concerts and a more intimate venue for stadium - bands and circuit comedians. It also hosts two open art exhibitions each year.

The design of the building, including the vast height of the theatre space, leaves a winding trail of stairs and escalators with balconies and seating areas where you may grab a coffee and meet friends. With all this comes loads of wall space.

St David’s Hall hosts Welsh Artist of the Year and you always see recipient’s work as part of the show. This being an open exhibition, any artist can submit work. Criteria reflect the limit of the space and the possible audience of the work.

The works are usually domestic in scale, but are varied between oils, watercolours, prints, ceramics, photography and multimedia works. You would be a culture vulture indeed if you liked everything, but the real advantage of the mix is that everyone will find something of interest and to intrigue them.

I spotted two works by Richard Cox; calming labyrinths, very flat and ordered.

Geraint Evans, Billy BanksBilly Banks, PenarthGeraint Evans
© St David's Hall, Cardiff

Geraint Evans shows a selection of detailed monochrome drawings of urban decay. They are so detailed and, although they show parts of the urban environment many people would turn away from, have a delicacy and composition in which beauty has been reached. They make you look and study the images, and I think they would be very pleasant to live with.



Geraint Evans, Billy Banks Geraint Evans, Billy Banks

Billy Banks, PenarthGeraint Evans
© St David's Hall, Cardiff

Anne Giles-Hobbs shows Chagall-like compositions of women’s faces and birds. The lines are precise and clear, and yet the effect is at first ethereal. They were very popular pieces.

This year’s show has many pieces by Naomi Tydeman, who was also featured heavily last year. At the opening I heard several contemporary artists comment that they had never found watercolours attractive, but after seeing hers they felt they should give it a go. To describe them you would imagine very competent, but ordinary watercolours. But to see them for real, they are a joy. Each new one I found made me feel immediately “This is good, I like that.” Naomi is a member of the RI (Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour)

If you are out and about shopping in Cardiff, this can be a peaceful stop off to browse and discuss. It’s free to pop in and works are on sale, with no pressure to buy and at a very large range of prices. You could buy a one off milk jug for under forty pounds or an original painting from two hundred. If you’ve been really good it may be worth adding some of the works to your Christmas List for next year.

Exhibition runs to 12 January 2013

Jennifer Pearce, 1 January 2013

St David's Hall's next exhibition features the work of Gareth Griffith, Morgan Griffith and Ioan Griffith; running from 26 January to 1 March 2013


Jennifer Pearce - a volunteer with Made in Roath and g39, the artist-run gallery in central Cardiff - is the founder of Art Club and can be followed on Twitter.

If you liked this, you'll also enjoy:

     Review: Eight and a half Welsh comedians, December 2013
The Albany Gallery, Cardiff
, Christmas Exhibition, December 2013
John Gingell Award at g39
, September 2013
Response, Annie Giles Hobbs, June 2013
     Review: Arcadecardiff, June 2013

     Review: St David’s Hall exhibition space - Triad and Mount Analogue, January 2013
Review: St David’s Hall Christmas Exhibition, January 2013
     Taming the Drew? Graffiti as art,
September 2012
     Review: Nothing Like Something Happens Anywhere - Chapter Arts Centre, Canton, Cardiff, August 2012
     National Museum of Art, contemporary galleries, March 2012



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