The invitation card arrived a few weeks ago inviting me to the Oriel Myrddin Gallery at Carmarthen on the 8th March, to the opening of Bryn Ogwr, an exhibition of photographs by my cousin Anthony Stokes and paintings by his partner Jacqueline Poncelet. At the last moment I was unable to attend but decided that on the following Wednesday I would attend a talk at the gallery which Anthony was going to present; second time fail, I missed the train and the next one would have been too late for me to arrive on time. A week later, on the 19th March Anthony’s partner Jacqueline was to give a talk so decided I’d attend that and duly caught the 11.59 train from Bridgend to Carmarthen which would give me time to view the joint exhibition before listening to Jacqui’s presentation.
A descriptive leaflet about the exhibition was available and I make no excuses for quoting directly from it: “Bryn Ogwr is the name of the house in Cwm Ogwr (Ogmore Vale) where Jacqueline Poncelet and Anthony Stokes live and work. The two separate bodies of recent work were made at Bryn Ogwr. They both respond directly to their surrounding land and landscape.”
“Anthony moved to South Wales in 2001 and quotes ‘I’ve always taken photographs, family snaps and records of my work with artists over three decades, but when I came here I began to make pictures with my camera. I revisited places I remembered, and recorded how they have changed.’ “
“Jacqueline arrived at Bryn Ogwr five years ago. Following her training at the RCA she worked as a potter, but found her practice in that context was constrained. Sculpture, painting, installation and commissions with textiles and in the built environment followed. Her response to Bryn Ogwr has been through painting.”
Now I must confess to knowing very little about Jacqui, I was first introduced to her a number of years ago but had no idea what she did in life. And so it was I found myself listening to her talk, very eloquently presented in her gentle manner and I gathered a little insight into her work. I decided that on my return home I must do a little internet research, as clearly she seemed to be fairly prominent in the art world. Later on, at the station, whilst waiting for the train home I chatted to two students who had been at the talk and they told me of the amazing artwork for which Jacqui had been responsible. I confessed my ignorance but they told me to type her name into a search engine and take a look at some of her achievements.
I have to say I was a little surprised when I saw some of her major works, but the masterpiece of all which I shall leave you with is her massive work Wrapper at Edgware Road tube station; at 1500 square metres it is Europe’s largest vitreous enamel artwork. Copyright restrictions prevent me from reproducing the photographs on this page, but please follow the link, it really is very impressive.