Artist Residency Exhibition at The Josef Herman Art Foundation Cymru

Posted by on May 21, 2015 in Artist residency, exhibition


I have been wandering in the desolate, beautiful places of the surrounding landscape absorbing much from these places as well as from the local history, mainly from conversations with people who know the place and the landscapes intimately. I have been fortunate to have had three such walking companions. A chance meeting with an amateur archaeologist greatly influenced the course of my work. My responses to my research and explorations have been mainly through drawings, installations and photographs.

One of my  points of departure was recognising how much Josef Herman experienced in the landscapes around Ystradgynlais. Not something he painted so much as experienced and wrote about.

In Notes from a Welsh Diary, Josef Herman writes “The River Tawe below, Craig-y-Farteg above, in between the ground of daily life. Between walking and sleeping life like anywhere else, but nowhere else such a dreaming place…. One sleepless night I recalled how much I liked walking in the woods outside Warsaw. There I often felt that having a soul and a mind I needed little else. In the years of perfecting the painter’s craft I lost that wonderful feeling, Now it is back”

Josef Herman recalls “… walking with Llew all the way from Ystradgynlais, we talked of the strange attraction of isolated places’: …’You had to know him more intimately to share his knowledge of Wales and the things specifically Welsh”

I have been struck by the palpable presence in the landscape and the great sense of deep time, reflected in the local archaeology as in the Coal tree.

The work shown include slate drawings, museum cabinets of archaeological items, photographs and prints and five of Josef Herman’s tree paintings.

The Coal tree is a large installation in the landscape, photographic documentation of this is shown in the exhibition


The archaeological cabinets are viewable by appointment



Ritual archaeology. 2015   © Sarah Rhys


Museum case

Unearthed Palleg.2015. © Sarah Rhys


The exhibition of work from Sarah’s residency at The Josef Herman Foundation is being shown  at The Miner’s Welfare Hall until June 18th. It includes 5 of Josef Herman’s tree paintings.



Coal tree. 2015. Photo credit Frank Menger