Alongside Ruthin Craft Gallery, three other galleries from Wales are present in New York currently to research at SOFA New York and and enhance Wales presence on the international craft, applied art and design scene.
Mostyn is the largest publicly funded contemporary art institution in Wales, and a flagship for art in the whole UK. Originally founded in 1901, it has a noted reputation for the quality of its exhibitions and its international work with artists and arts organisations, promoting a thoughtful approach to the issues facing individuals and society. Mostyn is a member of the prestigious plusTATE group of UK galleries bringing best curatorial and engagement practice to Wales, and a partner with major international art award Artes Mundi.
Reopened in 2010 following a major refurbishment and expansion programme Mostyn also hosts a wonderful bespoke retail space of over 100m2 with its own street frontage, striking curved floor to ceiling windows and art nouveau exterior mouldings. Presenting a range of contemporary craft, applied art and fine art originals the Mostyn shop has established a reputation for quality and flair in unique surroundings.
The Mostyn Art Gallery is believed to be the first art gallery in the world built to show the work of women artists. Lady Augusta Mostyn, head of the local land-owning Mostyn family and noted benefactor of the Arts, had it built in 1901 so that work by women artists could be exhibited when it was banned from the male only established galleries at that time. Sadly it only remained open until the First World War when it was requisitioned and then had various uses until it reopened as a gallery in 1979, incredibly with the beautiful original top-lit galleries still intact. Described as being ‘among the most beautiful in Britain’ the quality of light in these galleries is a noted feature.
The building is listed as being of ‘Special Architectural and Historical Interest’ and the challenge for the architects leading the development in 2007 was to integrate the old with the new. Ellis Williams Architects managed this beautifully, combining striking new features such as the concrete ‘tube’ and ‘hanging staircase’ with the original Victorian architecture. The new Mostyn has won numerous architectural awards and prizes including a prestigious RIBA (Royal Institution of British Architects) Award and Gold Medal in Wales’s premier architectural Awards.
With its wonderful selection of contemporary craft the retail space provides a rich visual welcome to the gallery as Retail Manager Gwenno Angharad carefully selects and displays the best in contemporary ceramics, glass, jewellery, interior and fashion textiles, wood and more which is complimented by limited edition prints and original works by exhibiting artists from the Mostyn programme. The bright and airy shop interior is able to show everything from small precious jewellery pieces to large-scale wooden sculptural vessels.
Themed craft showcases are arranged on a regular basis where a selection of makers has their work shown as a collection over limited periods. These have ranged from selections based on common materials or usage such as the recent Similar Threads showcase which celebrated the beauty of thread with objects by Severija Inciraskaite-Kriaunevicene, Misun Won and Laura Thomas among others to Black + Red, staged to compliment a major exhibition in the gallery by David Nash, and included work by Janet Hinchliffe McCutcheon, Ekta Kaul and Rebecca Appleby.
To celebrate the Christmas season an annual commission is been offered to artists/designers/makers to produce a unique and visually striking window display that has become an eye-catching talking point in the town. This large-scale site-specific commission has given designers fantastic scope and visibility for their skills as well as giving the Mostyn a platform to work with artists of different disciplines. The commission for 2012 will be advertised in August.
Oriel Mostyn Gallery
12 Vaughan Street
T: +44(0) 1492 879 201
F: +44(0) 1492 878 869
10.30am – 5pm
Monday – Sunday
Open Bank holidays
Admission is free