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Trans Iberia

Front Cover: Andalucians, oil on canvas, 56” x 42”

Trans Iberia John Selway’s fifty years of painting the Peninsula

A Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre Exhibition 2015 A hardcopy of this publication can be ordered from

Photo courtesy of Robert Alwyn Hughes

John Selway Born to Welsh parents in the small south

John studied for a further two years at the

Yorkshire colliery town of Askern, near

Royal College of Art becoming part of the

Doncaster in 1938, John Selway has lived

golden generation at the Royal College

and worked in Abertillery ever since his

which included the young reactionaries

parents returned to their homeland in

Derek Boshier, David Hockney, Alan Jones,


R. B. Kitaj and Barry Bates. At the time John felt his year were different to many

John attended Newport College of Art

of the other older students who, although

from 1953–57 where he was taught by

talented, were also very orthodox and

Tom Rathmell and first became interested

lacked the rebellious nature of his group.

in abstraction being influenced by the work of Michael Andrews, sculptor Bryan

While at the RCA John immediately set

Kneale, Grahame Sutherland, and to some

about pursuing his own artistic agenda.

extent Francis Bacon.

Always working from memory, he has often ventured far and wide in search of

Following two years National Service

suitable subject matter leading to him

Newport College of Art

being awarded a University of London

Museum of Wales in Cardiff and a number

Boise Travelling Scholarship to paint in

of public galleries in Wales and England

Portugal. His landscape painting tended

hold his work, as does Johannesburg Art

towards abstraction being influenced by

Gallery, South Africa.

artists such as Roger Hilton, Peter Lanyon, Sandra Blow as well as the American Abstract Expressionists. On his return to Wales John became an influential teacher. He taught for many years at Newport College of Art and

was also visiting

lecturer at Carmarthenshire College of Art. John has exhibited extensively both nationally and internationally. John was an early member of the 56 Group and is its current Chairman. The Arts Council, Arts Council of Wales, National

The Rhune, Sunset and Clouds. Watercolour, 9 ½ ” x 9”

Trans Iberia The series of work in this exhibition

not my first trip to the continent. At the

covers a period of around fifty years. It

age of sixteen I made a summer tour of

roams from the French/ Spanish Basque

the Benelux countries by bicycle. However

country during the late winter to the high

travelling through Paris to Lisbon across

plains of the Alpujarra in Andalucia, the

the centre of Spain by train was an

beaches on the Portuguese Atlantic coast

extraordinary experience which made a

and the Costa Del Sol, Costa Brava and not

huge impression on me.

least the wonderful province of Aragon in Spain.

I spent the next twelve months living in Portugal taking frequent trips to Spain

In 1962 I made my first trip to Spain and

both for the cities and the coast. The

Portugal by railway. A four day journey

beach life, with its ramshackle beach bars

to a world that had hardly changed

and café’s, was amazing. The landscape

since the 1930’s; a land of abject poverty,

was equally surprising and it took many

extraordinary wealth and class division.

months to get to grips with it.

Though not a seasoned traveller, this was

I spent much of my time photographing

John (pictured centre in black hat) outside the bull ring in Setubal Portugal - 1962.

John (with straw hat), Portugal 1962.

and drawing but also working from the

where and when they were taken. This

best source of all, memory. Very few, if

exhibition resembles that, and as such

any, of the paintings in this exhibition are

there are still episodes to be painted. It

directly observed but contain memories

covers a fifty year journey through place

of locations, people and events that come

and time.

together. J.H. Selway March In many ways this exhibition reflects the rather haphazard nature of my many journeys over the years and my different responses. But mainly it is my memory I rely on and as such it has the same discontinuity as a 35mm film in an old camera; one where you use the exposures over a period of two to three years then don’t get it developed for ten years and you’re using memories to try and recollect


Artist: John Selway Born: Askern, Yorkshire 1938 Resident: Abertillery Gwent 1941 – Newport College of Art National Service 1957-59 Royal College of Art 1959-62 University of London Boise Travelling Scholarship 1962-63 Newport College of Art Lecturer 1964-91

Exhibitions: 1964/66/68/70 Roland Browse & Delbanco London 1972 Piccadilly Gallery 1973 Gallery Schreiner Basle 1975 Oriel WAC Cardiff 1978 Browse & Darby London 1982 Surrey University Guilford 1984 Andrew Knight Cardiff 1985/90 Christopher Hull Gallery London 1987 Chicago Arts Fair Christopher Hull Gallery London 1989 Chapter Cardiff Wharf Gallery Cardiff 1990 Kutiasi Georgia USSR Mystic Connecticut USA 1994 Carmarthen 1996 Glamorgan Purchase Prize National Eisteddfod Joint winner Painting Coliseum Gallery Ceredigion Museum 1997/02 Queens Hall Narbeth 1998/01/02/05 Washington Gallery Penarth 1999 Browse & Darby Brisitsh Artists 2002 Dylan Thomas Centre Swansea Newquay Dylan Thomas Festival Trelaze France 2003 ‘L’Orient’ Celtic Festival Welsh Artist 2004 Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre 2006 GPF Gallery Newport 2006 Washington Gallery Penarth 2013 Bay Arts Cardiff/National Museum Cardiff 2014 1914-2014 Centenary Exhibition Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre

Group Exhibitions: 1961 Howard Roberts Gallery Cardiff London Group Young Contemporaries 1963 Welsh Drawings ACW Dillwyn Gallery Swansea 1964 Towards Art Royal College London 1965 Café Royal Centenary Exhibition London 1966 Geffrey Museum London ‘John Selway’ 1967 Jefferson Place Gallery Washington DC British Modern Paintings MOMA Sao Paulo Brazil One Hundred Exhibition Edinburgh Spectrum 67 Haverford West 1968 Vision of Landscape Arts Council GB English Landscape Tradition Camden Arts Centre 1969 Art in Wales..Today 56 Group ACW 1970 Celtic Triangle ACW/Scottish/N.Ireland Councils Artist at Work North Wales Arts Assoc Mold Clwyd 1971 Art Spectrum Wales ACW British Painting Roland Browse & Delbanco 1972 Four Welsh Artists Demarco Gallery Edinburgh 1972 International Arts Fair Basle International Arts Fair Dusseldorf 1977 ACW ‘From Wales’ Edinburgh 1978/79 Probity of Art ACW Flowers ACW exhibition Flowers Francis Kyle London 1979 Women Washing Francis Kyle London British Council Touring Exhibition Spain/Turkey 1980 British Art Show 1983 Courtald Institute Lillian Browse Collection 1987 International Arts Fair Chicago 1991 Irish Welsh Art Exchange Dublin

2001 2002 2006 2006

Ysbryd Exhibition Mall Gallery London ‘A Propos’ National Museum of Wales 56 Group The Gate Cardiff 56 Group National Library Wales Aberystwyth

Awards: 1960 Owen Organisation Purchase Prize Industrial Wales ACW 1970 ACW commission Award 1972 Graphic Arts Prize National Eisteddfod 1976 Welsh Arts Council Travelling Bursary 1986 Worked with poet Duncan Bush illustration the book ‘The Genre of Silence’ Seren Books – travelled to USSR – Lake Baikal, illustration National History area 1996 Winner purchase prize University of Glamorgan Joint Winner National Eisteddfod Painting Prize 2012 Chairman 56 Group Wales

One of a series painted during early spring in the Basque Country. This particular mountain was right on the border of Spain. It was painted in all sorts of weather. This was particularly testing as it changed by the hour from rain, sun, snow and mist etc. The Rhune Sunset 2009, oil on canvas, 36� x 36�

The Rhune Sun and Snow, watercolour and gouache, 30” x 22”

The Rhune Morning Snow shower, oil on canvas, 40” x 28”

The Rhune Evening Storm, watercolour, 9 ½ ” x 9”

The Rhune Rain and Clouds (2009) watercolour, 30” x 22”

Café Azul, Oil on canvas on board, 50” x 68” one of a series starting with drawings in 1962 and culminating in the above piece carried out in 2001-2002

From my first encounter in 1962 I became fascinated with Spanish and Portuguese beach scenes.

Figure and sunshade, oil on canvas, 48 “ x 45�

Andalucians, Oil on canvas, 56� x 42� Late evening beach scene at Benalmadena, Costa del sol

Alpujarra Landscape, Digital print 5 layers Digitally generated image using Autodesk SketchBook Pro , an application with a limited range of drawing tools and restricted palette. By layering images its range and capabilities could be considerably enhanced.

The road to Cadiar, Digital print - 6 layers

The road to Cadiar, Digital print - 6 layers

‘Trans Iberia’ A Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre Exhibition. Design: Hillview Design Published by Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre. Text LGAC 2014 Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre St.David’s Road Cwmbran Torfaen NP441PD T: +44(0)1633 483321 E: W: Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre is part of the Arts Council of Wales portfolio of Revenue Funded Organisations. Registered Charity no: 1006933 Company Limited by Guarantee no: 2616241 Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre is funded by the Arts Council of Wales, Torfaen County Borough Council and Monmouthshire County Council. This publication may not be reproduced in whole or in part in any form without written permission from the publisher.

Back Cover: John Selway – The Rhune, evening storm (2009). Watercolour 9.5” x 9”

Trans Iberia - John Selway’s fifty years of painting the Peninsula  

Exhibition catalogue from John Selway's Trans Iberia exhibition at Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre. March 2015.

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