Anthony Skates has lived in the Wye Valley for 4 years though he is originally from the Rhondda Valley in South Wales and lived for a number of years in Bristol. He studied Art at South Glamorgan Institute in the 1980’s and returned to painting in the last decade after a break of several years.
The majority of the works in this exhibition represent his interpretation of the ever-changing landscape of the landscapes of the valley and the neighbouring Forest of Dean. His practice as an artist is dominated by a sense of specific location and season and as a result paintings in the exhibition clearly indicate the place which is their subject and the time of year in which they are depicted. The works exhibited reflects this local bias and the show includes views of the Wye and the Severn, woodland, meadows and monuments such as the standing stones at Trelleck along with one or two images which represent locations which are further afield such Badminton and Hereford. The works in the exhibition also illustrate is secondary focus upon the seasons and as such the pictures can clearly be seen to illustrate the changing nature of local landscape within the context of the turning of the year and its progression through Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn.
A third feature of his work is a focus upon objects within the context of the landscape. These objects can be both natural and manmade or a combination of both. He is particularly keen to explore the relationship between individual structures be they tree or standing stone and the locality in which they are set thus we see a hawthorn tree in flower isolated in a meadow and standing stones within a forest.
Whilst his paintings are completely contemporary and his ongoing interest is on the landscape as it is now his work is also heavily Influenced by the art of the past particularly by 19th century landscape painters such as Troyon and Rousseau and other members of the Barbizon school which had a bias towards woodland images.
His current works largely in the medium of acrylic paints which combine strong and vibrant colour with the ability to work place the paint upon canvas or paper is a wide variety of ways ranging from dramatic brush-strokes to washes. The paintings in this exhibition are a selection from work completed during 2008-11 in the coming years he intends to explore further changing imagery of the local landscape and in 2011 his ambition is to undertake a more in-depth analysis of the forest in spring and the meadowland which borders the Wye.
During the duration of this exhibition he plans to undertake two workshops at Taurus Crafts in which visitors will be welcome to explore and discuss his methods of working with him.
“On March 12th and 13th(11am-3pm) I will be demonstrating how I develop landscape images utilising acrylic paint. I will be showing visitors how a work develops over time using a number of canvasses to illustrate progress.”
Exhibition runs from 26th February until 3rd April 2011
Taurus Crafts, Lydney, GL15 6BU, 01594 844841, www.tauruscrafts.co.uk