The New Year sees a wealth of new exhibitions at National Museum Cardiff offering visitors a great variety of temporary art exhibitions, covering nature exhibition, photography, glass and ceramic work. Visitors of all ages will be able to learn about the technical expertise behind the art work that can be appreciated as both crafts and pieces of art.
I Spy…Nature is a hands-on, family-friendly exhibition allowing you to try your hand at observing and recording nature. Experience how a Victorian naturalist sketched the natural world, or how modern technology allows scientists to image objects in 3-D. Discover how insects view nature differently, or get up close and personal with dozens of natural history objects under the microscope. The exhibition and activity programme that has been supported by players of the People’s Postcode Lottery is on display at National Museum Cardiff until January 2016.
The exhibition Maurice Marinot: A Passion for Glass (20 December 2014 – 7 June 2015) reunites forty-four pieces of glass from the collections of Amgueddfa Cymru, the Victoria and Albert Museum and Leicester Arts and Museum Service. They will be displayed together for the first time since they left the Marinot family in the 1960s and 1970s. The exhibition examines how the French artist, associated with the Fauvist movement, played with glass and striking, brightly coloured enamels and began to create his own highly experimental glass forms that he considered sculptures.
Historic Photography Uncovered (24 January – 19th April 2015) traces the evolution of photography, as both a means of scientific and social record and also as a medium for artistic expression. The photographic material on display places the history of photography within the context of the development of the Museum’s own collections and also illustrates how photography has contributed to the visual history of Wales.
The exhibition explores how, in the mid-nineteenth century, the Dillwyn Llewelyn family, based at the Penllergare estate near Swansea, were early, pioneering experimenters in the new medium, creating astonishing images of the south wales landscape and of their family life and social activities. Part of the display will also look at how photographic processes actually work, exploring the chemistry behind the images.
A new contemporary ceramics exhibition Fragile opening 18 April 2015 explores issues of materiality, process and expression, Fragile will address the diversity and beauty of contemporary ceramic practice in its widest sense. Key works from the collections of Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales and The Derek Williams Trust will be shown alongside exciting new commissions. This exhibition is generously supported by the Colwinston Charitable Trust.
A new photography exhibition comes to Cardiff in 2015, Chalkie Davies - The NME Years (9 May – 6 September 2015) will be an exhibition of images of famous rock artists from the 70s and 80s by photographer Chalkie Davies.
Originally from the town of Sully near Cardiff, Chalkie Davies who now lives in New York joined the NME as Staff Photographer in 1975. He worked there until 1979, where he shot numerous covers and features, as well as touring with Paul McCartney, Elvis Costello and Thin Lizzy for whom he shot the sleeve of Live and Dangerous.
The contemporary galleries at National Museum Cardiff will host from 14 November 2015 and until April 2016, a major retrospective of Ivor Davies, one of the foremost figures in contemporary Welsh art. During the 1960s, Ivor Davies was a key figure in the Destruction in Art movement alongside some of the leading avant-garde artists of the period including Yoko Ono, Ralph Ortis, John Latham and the Viennese Actionists.
This exhibition will explore Davies work across various media (film, performance, painting and drawing) around the themes of destruction and material transformation. A great opportunity to explore Welsh cultural heritage and Davies’ political work as part of the Beca group – a collective of artists who was the instigating movement in the politicization of art in Wales.
Autumn 2015 sees a new exhibition Reading the rocks: the astonishing map by William Smith based on the geological maps of geologist William Smith (1769 – 1839). Largely unknown by the general public, the canal surveyor William Smith of a humble background created the first geological map of a nation. His maps were ground-breaking, revolutionising our understanding of geology, geological time and the science of stratigraphy. This dramatic and colourful exhibition of his large maps marks the 200th anniversary since the publication of the first map. (26 September until 28 February 2016).
Entry to National Museum Cardiff is free, thanks to the support of the Welsh Government.