Glyn Morgan paints pictures that stay in the memory. Enigmatic and allusive, they can leave the viewer pondering their true meaning, questioning what was in the artist's mind when he first put brush to canvas. This is not surprising, as the influences and inspirations drawn on in over 60 years dedicated to painting have been unusually varied.
Although he has lived mostly in England, Morgan's Welsh origins remain important. As a young man he studied at Cardiff College of Art under another Welshman, Ceri Richards, whom he considered "a marvellous teacher." During these early years Morgan painted fine studies of the industrial landscape around where he had been born in Pontypridd, at the junction of the Taff and Rhondda valleys. After settling in England he returned to Wales periodically, and in recent years the Mabinogion, that ancient book of Celtic legend, has been a rich source for him.
As a young exhibitor in Wales in the mid-1940s Morgan was introduced to the artist and plantsman Cedric Morris. He remained a key figure in Morgan's life until the older artist died almost 40 years later. Morris invited the young Morgan to visit The East Anglian School of Painting, at Benton End, near Hadleigh, which Morris ran with Arthur Lett-Haines.For Morgan, this was an introduction to a personal Arcadia, and the artistic guidance of Morris as well as the fellow-students and interesting guests he met there enriched his life.
Morgan early realised that the type of dogged realism taught at the Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts, where he also studied, was not for him. It was part of the artist's learning curve. Over the years this included his initial stay and later visits to Paris and production of the portraits, still lifes and landscapes eventually drawn and painted, some the result of trips elsewhere. The most enduring relationship has been with Greece and its legacy of myth and legend. Morgan made his first trip there in 1963 and five years later a Goldsmiths' Company Award enabled him to paint in Crete for several months.
Morgan has produced an impressive stream of pictures inspired by Mediterranean legend. They range over Aphrodite, 1966-68, The Table of Minos, 1969-72, Europa, 1972. Orpheus, 1973, Apollo and Marsyas, 1977, Dionysos, 1980, and Gaia, 1991. The theme of his 1996 Chappel Galleries exhibition was the myth of the Green Man, inspired by William Anderson's 1990 book on the subject, a figure who for Anderson signified "irrepressible life." The Blodeuwedd series, from the Mabinogion, has preoccupied Morgan for several years. Another of Morgan's inspirations is music, which he listens to continually as he works. Liszt and Mahler have prompted memorable pictures.
Glyn Morgan is one of a growing group of painters and sculptors helping dispel the idea that the Welsh are not a visual nation. His are the paintings of a self-confessed romantic, aspiring to reveal the mystery hidden behind the surface of things, one for whom "The primary purpose of art is to uplift the human spirit." Underlying these richly painted, life-enhancing canvases is a sound craftsmanship, based on traditions which he regrets in recent years have for too long "been destroyed or disregarded."
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