Denys Short

Oriel Fach

Continuation of the work by
Denys Short



Photographs by Patrick M Higgins

- view -


Main Gallery

5 August to 10 September
Square Dance


Denys Short is a well-respected artist with an incredibly diverse and long CV which shows a lifetime of commitment to his art. Although known mainly as a sculptor, he actually studied painting at Goldsmiths in the 1950s and won the Gold Medal in the 1958 Eisteddfod. He is now again concentrating on the 2D format, using digital technology to create ideas that eventually become vibrant paintings, often on a very large scale.

He has lived in Pembrokeshire since 1985 with his wife Eirian, who is also a well-known artist, working mainly in textiles. Her book on quilt-making has in turn inspired Denys’ present paintings.

He has worked on various environmental projects, including the development of the Garden Festival in Ebbw Vale and has exhibited widely, including at the Serpentine Gallery, Hyde Park; Margam Sculpture Park; and Bishops Palace, St David’s, and he has created a sculpture garden on the two acres around his house which has been open to the public over the years.

Black Maquette

Square Dance

Maquette 2

The exhibition in the gallery this month will include a few relevant sculptures, but will mainly show a new body of paintings, some of which were exhibited in the National Library in Aberystwyth last year, and at the International Quilt Exhibition in the NEC, Birmingham. Denys says ‘I love quilts and have done since I photographed them to illustrate my wife Eirian’s first book in 1967. I get far more satisfaction looking at fine quilts than from looking at the most highly praised pieces of abstract Fine Art. Were it not considered a feminine and folk pastime, the quality of the best pieces would be far more appreciated and valued.

A few years ago, tiring of the problems of making and transporting large pieces of sculpture, I decided to return to painting, to enjoy colour more thoroughly and to see if I could produce some things quilt-like in their essentials but carried out in paint. And my interest in the growth of simple geometric shapes in 3D constructions moved easily into 2D paintings. But it was not a completely new venture as I had made a “quilt panel” of miners in the 1960s while still painting the South Wales coal valleys.

Jazz Quilt 2

Variations 7

Red Quilt

I draw initially on the computer, which enables me to manipulate shape, position, and colour quickly and to experiment with overlays and scale. I am also helped by my relative inexperience in using the “box”, as things arrive on the screen that I am sure an expert would not have expected.’

Excited by the never-ending possibilities that these patterns produce, Denys has also created an interactive part to this exhibition that will allow the public and children to join in the fun by creating their own designs with magnetic shapes and to choose their own colours to recreate one of his designs. You will also be able to see how he arrives at the final design, from the original manipulations on the computer screen to the finished paintings on show.

As well as being treated to such visual delights, you will be able to appreciate the skills and passion that this amazing artist has put into his lifetime’s work.

The exhibition will be opened on Friday 5 August at 7.30 by Mike Francis (previously from the National Library of Wales).


To see the catalogue, complete with images, sizes and prices, please click here.