This is the website for St John’s Hall Gallery, Barmouth, North Wales, UK. It can be reached using the address www.stjohnshallgallery.com.
St John’s Hall has been saved from redevelopment, and it has a secure future as a centre for the creative and enquiring mind in Barmouth. The building has been bought by Harald Gassner, an art collector from Germany, and old friend of the artists in residence, Bernard Barnes and Reyna Rushton.
Notes from the owner of the hall
It is a pleasure to me to introduce St John’s Hall Gallery to you, a centre for the creative and enquiring mind.
A lot of people volunteered and gave money to preserve this hall in its original beauty, and to re-open it as a space for public meeting. It was created as a sacred space, but also as a place for a living community, for dancing and singing. And now it has become a space of stimulation, contemplation, creation (forming new ideas), meditation, discussion, elaboration, conversation, consideration, and debate.
In Bernard Barnes’ and Reyna Rushton’s work you may discover concepts, emotions, involvements of both a loving and a critical spirit.
You may face an encounter between religiosity and natural sciences – one of the greatest debates of our time and our society. I feel, it’s worth to debate those issues, even in a painstaking manner, because we need respect for both of the approaches.
You may be able to watch the evolution of the human mind from the first living cell that ever existed, to the complexity of the city as a super-organism.
You may take your time and attention during your staying with the artwork surrounding you. If you feel stimulated by this environment, and wish to share something coming from your own creativity please don’t hesitate to contact Bernard. You may contribute a note, a painting. Eventually your mind wishes to contribute by a performance of music, singing, dancing. Whatever comes into your mind will be welcome, and taken serious. Bernard may even record it for the homepage.
Bernard will keep up for us on the website. We are very interested what comes up in people’s mind breathing and moving in this gallery.
We want this space to become filled with creativity, as it is already filled with a very human spirit.
With Kind Regards,
Dipl.-Psych. Harald Gassner
Psychotherapist, mediator, member of town council in Vaihingen/Enz, SW-Germany, and part-time curator of the exhibition.
About the Artists
The two resident artists, Bernard Barnes and Reyna Rushton, work and exhibit in the gallery. The exhibition covers a huge range of their work from a variety of their obsessions. The two artists have filled the space with images and sculptures made during a lifetime in Wales, most of it in this area of West Wales.
Bernard Barnes was born in Flint Mountain in North Wales in 1943. He went to a traditional grammar school in Holywell and studied art at a teacher training college in the Midlands. He was sure of his destiny as an artist from as early as he can remember. After an unhappy spell in London, where he taught in a junior school in Peckham Rye, he moved back to North Wales to found Bala Pottery with Mel Mars. For 12 years ceramics were his preoccupation.
Then there came a spell of travelling in Greece and Turkey, exploring and drawing the archaeology of the region and developing his ideas connected with ‘The Organic City’ series of pictures. It was during this period that he met Harald Gassner, still a student, who was travelling around North Wales exploring the ancient Celtic sites. He established his first studio in Barmouth at this time.
Detailed information about Bernard’s large panel of 24 paintings titled “The Captives of the Cosmic Web” that occupies the North wall of the Gallery is available on this webpage http://bernardbarnes.com/thewall.htm and an online gallery of his work is here http://bernardbarnes.com/galleries.htm
Reyna Rushton’s work currently on exhibition is a series of pictures dealing with important themes, which use archetypal stories or images that reflect the human condition.
“I have attempted to hold a balance between the stylized iconographic approach (the general) and images drawn from my own personal environment (the particular),” she says. “I am also interested in exploring from a technical and aesthetic point of view, ways of breaking up the flat smooth canvas surface to reflect the complex nature of the visual world.”