Eleanor Greenwood | Paul Steer | Lily Ella Westacott | Dylan Williams
Hidden Voices III
Opening Saturday 08 October from 6pm.
Exhibition continues until 04 November
This is the third exhibition in this series, which explores the artists’ relationship and response to the natural environment and their personal interaction with the seen and unseen of these places. Often these places are overlooked or have been shaped dramatically by human hands, but still are precious and this exhibitions seeks to re-sanctify these hidden places and their hidden voices. This year’s exhibition sees artists Eleanor Greenwood and Paul Steer work for the first time in collaboration with artists Lily-Ella Westacott and Dylan Williams, whose work has many synergies and connections in their approach and work.
Eleanor Greenwood is an artist, photographer and film-maker originally from Talley in Carmarthenshire before moving to the Swansea Valley. She left Wales for university, and spent many years traveling before the hiraeth brought her back. Whilst growing up in what is a post industrial landscape she sought out those small areas where nature clung on and has seen the re-greening of the valley over the years. Her work investigates the sacredness in all nature especially the often over-looked, the little stream, an old hedge line, a tip grown over. She is also passionate about creativity in education and has for many years worked with the Arts Council of Wales on their Lead Creative Schools programme.
The work I make is the result of a continuing struggle with the human capacity for othering, including the rest of the non-human living world. But it is also about hope and connection to the living landscape. Life is resilient and returns even to the plundered extracted landscapes of post-industrial South Wales. I have been watching the process of regeneration and re-growth in the trees and biodiverse vegetation returning to the coal tip behind my home, and in the rewilding quarries of Penwyllt further up the Swansea Valley. New ecologies are forming, and this is what brings hope. We have shaped the land, perhaps now we need to let the land shape us?
Lily Ella Westacott
My work focuses on the value trees hold in the religious world, and the correlating story lines that the trees tell. The tree of life, of knowledge, the branch from which Adam and Eve picked their apple, the wood Christ was crucified upon. My particular favourite is the story of the Egyptians and their belief of the Mother Tree, the tree that held the power of reincarnation. During 2019, our world was flipped upside down and I headed for the trees. I began living a life ruled purely by imagination; humans were replaced by trees and they became my only living friends. These paintings are nothing other than a child’s soul, attempting to grow and survive in the adult world.
Dylan Williams studied at Swansea college of art, completing an MA in 2021 and has had a studio with Elysium gallery since 2018.
My work has always been rooted in the landscape around me, fascinated by the local landscapes where I grew up, the history and myths and the human impact upon it. My work is a portal into metaphysical and paranormal meditations into long walks around the Afan Valley, obsessed with the feeling of all time and past lives seeping out of the ground; digging with my feet to uncover the worlds and secrets underland. My paintings are calm and meditative renditions of the environments from walks and cycles while pondering these deep themes and the veneration of nature. I’m deeply attached and drawn to the Afan Valley where my ancestors worked as miners which adds to my feeling of belonging and to being born from the land, and the Black Mountain on the western side of the Brecon Beacons and Swansea bay where I swim during breaks from my time in the studio.