NEWS: February-March 2018

Dewiswch o’r blwch i gyfieithu.

Up to 2nd April the gallery is only open formally at the weekends while it is being prepared for the new season. From 3rd April onwards it will be open every day 11am to 4:30pm except for Mondays when closed.

We are in the process of adding to the website the information about the guest exhibition programme for the spring and summer selected from our open call. The first exhibition is of Holographic Images by Patrick Boyd. We are looking forward to seeing this fascinating mix of science and art. The exhibition will be showing from Tuesday 3rd to Saturday 28th April with a preview evening at 7:30pm on Monday 2nd April. All welcome. (Read more)

As well as the guest exhibition there is always the marvellous Captives of the Cosmic Web painting by Bernard Barnes to see, covering the whole north wall of the hall. Bernard and Reyna Rushton continue to use the space as a working studio, so you can see their work in progress and finished on display. Bernard Barnes is working on panels which will eventually be added to the ceiling. You can read about progress with those on his blog at

We have also allocated a space to the Mawddach Art Group to showcase a picture by one of their artists in rotation through the season. The first artist showing her work in this space will be Erica White. The art group will be exhibiting work from all of their artists in August (Read more).

The regular Monday evening acoustic folk music sessions will start up again from Monday 2nd April.

Books by Bernard Barnes

Bernard is a published author as well as artist. Check out his titles on Amazon or signed copies available in the gallery. The Captives of the Cosmic Web, City as Superorganism, Travels with an environmentally friendly puppet and The cat who said woof. The catalogue of his most recent work, Fragments of Devon, is also available to buy.


Goethe Quote

“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”

Quote from Goethe, or is it?

Review of 2017 – St John’s Hall Gallery, Barmouth

Repairs to the Hall

I’m pleased to report that the Gallery, in its 7th year as such, has been open and busy for all of the summer. It took some time to get going this year after a winter of momentous interruption. Over the winter 2016/17 the gallery closed completely for the first time and the main work renovating the actual hall came to a conclusion. It required a clear out of all the inner partitions and furniture, the safe removal and storage of all the artwork so that the remaining insulation work on the east wall could match that of the west wall. It also required that the large painting on the north wall (Captives of the Cosmic Web) be taken down and stored, so that an insulated plywood layer could be added. The ceiling was painted white and much electrical rewiring and new lighting was carried out at the same time.

Continue reading

Putting some ideas into practice

A busy few days has seen the central panel of the picture mounted in one of the bays of the gallery. Visitors may easily see the progress.

The central panel 8′ x 4′ will form the centre of a larger picture that may take its place on the ceiling of the gallery.

Its subject is the 20th century, leading to the enlightenment that is displayed on the north wall. It is a mystery that men who have behaved so badly can still have any redeeming features at all.

Copyright Bernard Barnes

I am planning to add a ring of events surrounding the inner chaos. Events of momentous proportions, the wars, the great characters, the arts and cultural references. My original hurricane shape based on the vortex I am thinking of bearing the multiple images.

Copyright Bernard Barnes

Throughout the images I am looking for small bubbles of tranquility where I can paste a small scene, an aside, a reference that together will all the rest paint a summary of a momentous century.

Copyright Bernard Barnes

You may be able to see from these pictures that I have cut boards that fit around the edge of the central picture. It will be made up of pieces that I will fit together on the wall, but which I can work on separately on the easel.

I am also beginning to adapt the central image, adding new ideas to fit the theme. I have been experimenting with an optical illusion that can be built out from the surface of the picture to give the illusion of an inner recession.

Copyright Bernard Barnes

Here I am interested in suggesting the receding streets of fear exploited by Giorgio de Chirico in the surrealist paintings and it does add to the tension of the work.

A new ceiling panel is taking shape, and will be on display in the gallery from 18th September

Original painting copyright Bernard Barnes

This painting is 12′ x 6′ and intended for a place on the ceiling of the gallery along with 7 other pictures. Its theme is the 20th century, and it reflects a century of turmoil, war, etc. This image is an artist’s mockup, showing my intent. I will be adding the decorative border while the picture is on display. Here on a blog, I will try and document the development of the picture.

Address of Blog:

Bernard Barnes

Open Day and Carnival

carnival-poster a4

Giant Puppet Dance – Calling for Puppeteers


Fancy being a Puppet Master? We are experimenting with creating a Giant Puppet Dance Group, to perform, initially, at the Puppet Carnival on July 23rd. The aim is to create simple round dances that can be performed by these giants. Hard and hot work, but could be a lot of fun.

First meeting will be on Friday 15th July at 7.30pm in St John’s Hall Gallery, Barmouth

Just turn up if you’re interested.

Philosophy in July from Jasper Elgood

Jasper Elgood

For those interested in philosophy, Jasper Elgood is giving a series of 4 talks in July on Thursday evenings, each starting at 7:30pm. The titles and dates of his talks are:

  • Thurs 7th July: Malice – Invasion of the Narcissists from Hell
  • Thurs 14th July: Barrack Obama and Donald Trump – The Noble and the Base a Lost Theme in Political Discourse
  • Thurs 21st July: Walking Meditation – How to Get from A to B Without Leaving A
  • Thurs 28th July: What is ‘Why’? – Questioning Questioning

For a flavour of previous years’ talks, recordings are available here:

jaspers talks-for web

A kind of Cubism that I keep returning to


I keep returning to this style. Cubism in first appearance, but from a different angle.

There is so much to explore in this style of painting. I return to it over and again. This time I come to it as a complex in the centre of a web. As we go closer to the centre of the web, so the image becomes more complex, until an illusion of reality begins to appear. It parallels the working of the eye, where only a small area of the retina is sharp.

I will explore this approach a little more, maybe combining clusters into the same image.

Part of the development of the puppet theatre the gallery

This crude experiment is the first stage in the development of a scrolling background in the puppet theatre. It has established a traditional method to create illusion of movement while the figure remains stationary. It will form part of our introductory sequence to the opening of the talking head theatre.

Date of New Carnival Fixed for September 19th and 20th

Barry (Lim) has persuaded me that there is enough home grown talent and creativity in the town to sustain an end of summer event over the 2 days. Work is well advanced with the theatre, and lots of ideas are flowing. We look forward to hearing from anyone who has an ‘act’ a ‘contribution’ of any kind. We are looking for good ideas that are wacky, thoughtful, beautiful, awe inspiring…. anything that will contribute to the pleasure of the day. If anyone is interested in contributing, call in at the gallery and we can talk about it.