The Explorations series explores the permanent collections of the Newport Museum and Art Gallery. Each project showcases rarely seen works belonging to the permanent collections of the Newport Museum and Art Gallery, and provides an opportunity for enjoyment, reflection and further conversation.
Each project in the Explorations series has been produced by John Wilson as Guest Curator, in collaboration with Roger Cucksey, Keeper of Art, Newport Museum and Art Gallery.
The Newport collections: Artists, genre, and the history of art
The Explorations series provides a frame to explore the permanent collections of the Newport Museum and Art Gallery, and address particular themes across the diverse range of artists, genre and moments in the history of art.
Commencing with THE POETICS OF PLACE, we collated art works representing the South Wales urban-industrial scene. The iconography of the coalfield was the hallmark of a populist cultural formation in the immediate post-45 period. This phase of painting of the Welsh industrial landscape stands as a counterpart to the earlier cultural achievement of the Welsh industrial novel.
THE ART OF COLLECTING provides a public airing of works by some of the better known artists in the Newport Museum and Art Gallery's collections, and an opportunity to reflect upon the formation of the Newport collections and the future of collecting in a changing world of art.
THE ART OF THE NUDE frames the artistic genre of the nude and provides a fascinating thread through the history of art. The study of the nude formed the basis of the post-Renaissance academic tradition of "Western Art", whilst the departures of modernism and the avant garde likewise saw a peristence of the nude as a vital genre for the artist's exploration. Whither the nude in today's world of CGI and the Internet?
In this process of art historical enquiry we may engage cultural critic Raymond Williams' revisionist challenge, When Was Modernism, to provide a historical redress to "the neglected works left in the wide margin of the century". We also engage the challenge of culture and the public sphere, to open up wider conversation around works in the permanent collections of the Newport Museum and Art Gallery. With a continued dis-articulation of the civic context and the art college as an institution at present, we seek to open up a wider public discourse. We also note the opportunity for a public art strategy to emerge in response to the City of Newport's current regeneration agenda, as well as talk of a Newport riverside locus for a Welsh Institute of Modern Art.