Artist returns to display his work in Newport

AWARD-WINNING painter and ex-Newport lecturer Philip Muirden has returned to the city with an exhibition very close to his heart.

Mr Muirden, who was once head of foundation studies at Newport’s College of Art, is displaying his work at Barnabas Arts House, owned and run by Janet Martin, in his exhibition Coastal Command.

He said: “I worked in Newport for so many years and I know Janet well, so it was natural for me to come back here.” The exhibition has a total of 66 pieces, made up of pencil drawings, oil paintings and water colour.

The Pembrokeshire artist said: “Milford Haven was a fishing port when I was a boy. I grew up around fishermen.But there are different ways of looking at boats.” In the basement of the gallery are large pencil drawings of ships and fishing nets strung up like sails.

“Drawings can stand on their own right. I try to keep the worlds separate.

“I like working on a big scale – so I’m not falling off the page.”

The respect and admiration Mr Muirden has for the fishermen and their industry is apparent throughout the work.

“I’m trying to show the dignity of the fisherman. The knowledge required of the fishermen is incredible,” he said.

On ‘Illegal Immigrants’ doilies illustrate the frothing waves, while on others flocks of sea gulls fly off the canvas, bringing the dark oils to life. There are lots of night scenes with dark glassy seas interspersed by colourful buoys or fishermen’s boots.

Everything in the exhibition was created within the last three years.

Through this exhibition, both Mr Muirden and the viewers can return to the coast. For those familiar with the fishing harbours and ports of West Wales, the charm of Pembrokeshire is undeniable in the paintings. Barnabas Arts House on New Ruperra Street, Newport, will reopen on Tuesday January 7. The exhibition continues until the end of January. All works are for sale.

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