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Graham P. Matthews
. Arthur Giardelli
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"The Wave", 1976
(in private collections)
Arthur Giardelli was born in 1911 in London and died on 1.November 2009 at Pendine in Carmarthenshire. He trained in 1930-34 at the Ruskin School of Art in Oxford. In the 1940s he was involved with the Dowlais Settlement in Wales. Occasionally he also studied painting with Cedric Morris. From 1958 to 1998 he chaired the 56 Group Wales. He has lived in Carmarthenshire and Aberystwyth since 1947, and since 1969 he has had his studio in Pembrokeshire.
At the age of 90 Giardelli is still "creating the subtle and poetic relief constructions for which he is best known. Abstract in form, these echo the shifting of the seasons, the wind's energy, or the movements of the tide. They are made from evocative found materials, both man-made and natural, each of which brings its own history and associations.
There is a real power in Giardelli's dissection and assembly of the world around him - his constructions seem to travel on a journey from the baseness of their materials to expressions of the mesaphysical. There is a formal rightness to the compositions, and a frequent beauty, but there are deeper meanings too, concerned with time, space and transitory lives...In his own words:'...rubbish, discarded things, remind us of what they have been: a slate has been on a roof, a sack has contained potatoes, cork has held up a fishing net, and once you use sand you find that if put on canvas it may become the beach'...His originality in his chosen idiom at least kept pace with its generally acknowledged masters internationally; and the beauty and strangeness of his best work is both memorable and distinctively his own." (excerpts quoted from Peter Wakelin's paper "Arthur Giardelli & the Art of Conversation", published in New Welsh Review No.55 pp.43-48)
From an early age he also painted watercolours directly from nature wherever he has travelled in four continents.
Teaching experience: 1941-46 he lectured for the WEA in Dowlais/Wales and until 2001 gave extra-mural classes for the University of Wales
Awards: 1970 prize at the National Eisteddfod; 1973 awarded the MBE; 1979 winner of the British Council Award; 1979-85 Honorary Fellow University College Aberystwyth; 1986 Silver Medal of the Czechoslovak Society for International Relations; 2002 received a Silver medal Cyfaith Celfyddyd Cymru from the National Eisteddfod.
Commissions: 1969 Mural at the South Wales Argus Newport; 1971 & 72 Street Doors for two galleries in London; 1974 a painting for British Petroleum & in 1980 one for Texaco, both in Wales.
collections abroad=Municipal Gallery of Modern Art Dublin/Ireland; Musee de Beaux Arts Nantes/France; Saidenberg Gallery New York/USA; National Gallery Bratislava / Czechoslovakia; National Gallery Prague/Czech Rep.;
exhibitions abroad=1955-6 Renaissance City Chicago/USA (mixed); 1960 Galerie Greuze Paris/France (mixed); 1965 Jefferson Gallery Washington D.C./USA (mixed); 1966 Open Painting Exhibition Dublin/Ireland (mixed); many other in later years.