Wales is better known for music and literature than for the visual arts. To address this imbalance, Gomer has published a dictionary of artists working in Wales since 1945. Artists who were born, lived or worked in Wales are given short entries describing their career and output, with some colour illustrations. Welsh artists have had common themes but no national style. Much Welsh art derives from landscape (coasts, valleys and mountains) and industry (mining and sheep farming). Kyffin Williams’s impasto landscapes of gloomy mountains are the best-known works by a recent Welsh artist. Some successful international artists are classed as British and their associations with Wales are overlooked, as in the cases of David Nash, Richard Deacon and Ralph Steadman. From the 1960s to the 1980s the nationalist movement inspired political and Welsh-language performance art. Craft artists are included in the book, recognising the strength of crafts in Wales. This dictionary includes a useful introductory survey of trends, groups and institutions, and is an important, comprehensive reference work for scholars studying post-war British art.
• Alexander Adams is a British critic and poet. His latest long poem, On Dead Mountain, is published by Golconda
Post-War to Post-Modern: a Dictionary of Artists in Wales
Peter W. Jones and Isabel Hitchman
Gomer Press, 829pp, £45 (hb)