Bryan Illsley, exhibiting at Swansea’s Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, is a well-established artist, whose diverse practice includes painting, print, sculpture in metal or ceramic, and also jewellery.
Working variously with colour, texture, form and structure, he absorbs abstraction with intensity. Unlike many artists, there are no preliminary working drawings or sketches to guide him through his meditative paintings.
Neither are there maquettes to steer the course for his rugged sculptures. Relying on spontaneous impulses, he picks up his brush, his clay or a handful of rivets and begins to work, often with a ‘wildness barely controlled’.
With a serious mind, and resolute spirit, he continues to develop his raw abstract creations with unrelenting vigour.
Bryan Illsley was born in Surbiton in 1937. He came from a working-class background with no interest in the arts. In the early 1950s, he became apprenticed to a monumental stonemason and later attended evening classes at Kingston School of Art in Kingston-upon-Thames.
In 1963, he moved to St Ives and worked part-time at the Bernard Leach Pottery. In 1968, he established a partnership with Breon O’Casey in St Ives, making studio jewellery. He now lives in London.
Bryan Illsley has contributed to numerous jewellery exhibitions at Arnolfini in Bristol, Ewan Phillips Gallery, Pace Gallery and Electrum Gallery in London. Mixed media shows include Oxford Gallery, Oxford, and The Maker’s Eye, Crafts Council Gallery, Waterloo Place, London. Solo shows include Bryan Illsely: Work in Wood, Metal & Paint, Crafts Council Gallery, Waterloo Place, London and Uncertain Joys at Barrett Marsden Gallery, London
Work in public collections includes amongst others, Contemporary Art Society, London; Kettles Yard, Cambridge and Plymouth City Art Gallery.
The exhibition is curated by Ralph Turner at the Craft Gallery, 2 July -11 October 2009.
For more information on the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery visit http://www.glynnviviangallery.org.