Book Arts

FRAGILE – artists’ books by Noëlle Griffiths

19/04/17 – 30/06/17

The Re-Take/Re-Invent project features 15 artists who responded to the art collection of the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff. Each artist interpreted their chosen art work from the critical standpoint of their current studio practice.

I chose a large abstract painting by John Hoyland (1934-2011). Hoyland painted Ligeia in 1978 as part of a series using a diagonal composition. In 1979 BBC Arena filmed Hoyland in his studio starting and completing a new painting in this series. I chose to work with the painting Ligeia and the film Six Days in September for the project.

The Arena film explores the creative process of making a painting. John Hoyland talks in a direct and honest way, making observations that resonate with artists who work in the isolation of their studio.

“…it’s so fragile an activity making a painting, trying to bring a painting into the world….” Day One

“…just making a painting seems like such a ridiculous activity….nobody wants it particularly and you don’t know if you can do it, you don’t know if you are strong enough….” Day Two Transcribed quotes from the film Six Days in September Ⓒ John Hoyland Estate

During 2015-16 I made a series of paintings and recorded my creative process for each painting. Whilst painting I recorded my thoughts, observations and feelings alongside sketches of work in progress. Each day I painted a record of each colour I mixed and applied to the painting. Using these pages of colour swipes, alongside text, I have made an artist’s book for each painting. In two concertina books I printed excerpts from the transcript of the film alongside colours used for two of my paintings. In other books I printed my own words, sketches or photographs of my studio.

Each book records the making of a painting and the creative process involved. I have called each book FRAGILE.

The Re-Take/Re-Invent project was initiated by Fine Art at Bangor University, Wales. Three exhibitions of artwork by 15 artists were shown in North Wales during Autumn 2016. The project has been generously supported by the Arts Council of Wales and in partnership with the National Museum of Wales.

Noëlle Griffiths is a painter who makes artist’s books. She studied Fine Art at St Martin’s School of Art, London during 1978-82 and left London to live in North Wales in 1985. She has exhibited her work widely since 1983 and received various awards, residencies and travel scholarships. Noëlle has taught part-time since 1987. Since 1998 she has been Course Leader and tutor on the part-time Fine Art Degree Programme at Bangor University, Wales as well as teaching courses from her studio.

As well as painting, Noëlle has made one-off artist’s books since 1996, and editioned books since 2003 when she started Hafod Press. Hafod Press books are collected and archived by The National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth and in collections including the British Library, V&A Museum, Tate, MMU Manchester, Leeds University, University of Creative Arts etc.
She started the website in 2005.

Noëlle Griffiths