Launch of inspiring solo exhibition for Swansea College of Art Alumnus


On Friday 4 November at 6pm the Strange Seasons exhibition will open at Stiwdio Griffith, Swansea’s newest contemporary art gallery, located at Swansea College of Art, Dynevor Campus. The exhibition celebrates the work of the artist Owain Sparnon.

Owain Sparnon

This exhibition celebrates the work of Welsh Artist Owain Sparnon, as part of his residency at Swansea College of Art after winning the Step Change Fellowship Program, a project funded through the Artist Benevolent Fund. The exhibition also marks the start of Owain’s role as Artist Mentor for the Welsh language here at Swansea College of Art. This solo exhibition at Stiwdio Griffith includes paintings, photographs, drawings and digital collage works.

Owain’s objectives during this residency were to develop and build upon visual strategies initially explored within his graduate exhibition, which addressed themes of memory, place and identity. In particular, Owain’s aim for this residency was twofold; to concentrate on practice without restriction and to explore the potential of working within a studio context. Working this way enabled him to concentrate on the quality of his work rather than the amount produced. As a result, Owain’s practice has metamorphosed over the past eighteen months, evolving through an exploration of both material and subject.

With the benefit of been provided with time to reflect, and time to be patient with the works created, the Step Change Fellowship has enabled Owain to discover different methodologies of working. Creating works that respond to the artist’s everyday encounters – photographs, landscapes, reflective lighting, sounds, shapes and forms of everyday objects – he has become intrigued by the idea of layering, unravelling, intertwining, and decontextualising the boundaries between objects, events, paintings and sculpture.

Owain’s practice addresses the human condition, how recollections, thoughts, secrets, and experiences can inhabit the space of painting. Like a mist that occupies a landscape, Owain draws us to a world where ambiguity occupies the subconscious. 

Owain Sparnon is 22 years old and comes from Neath. He graduated with a 1st Class Honours BA Degree in Fine Art from Swansea College of Art in 2021. Since then, he has been working in a studio at the College after winning the Step Change Fellowship Programme Benevolent Fund Award (2021-2022). He has recently started working as a Welsh medium Artist Mentor working with students at the College. Owain won the Friends of the Glynn Vivian Award, Swansea Open (2021); 3rd prize in the Holy Art Momentum Competition (2021); Recognition Award in Swansea College of Art’s Restart Project (2020); the Jane Phillips Mission Gallery Residency Award (2018); the Art Under 19 competition at the Urdd National Eisteddfod (2018); Second prize twice in the Art Medal competition at the Urdd National Eisteddfod (2017 and 2018) and his work was highly commended in the Main Artist competition in the Urdd National Eisteddfod (2021).

Owain’s work has been exhibited in various locations including MoMA Machynlleth as part of the first Young Welsh Artists exhibition (2020-2021); Arad Goch, Aberystwyth (2019 and 2020) and Mission Gallery, Swansea (2021 and 2022). Owain will have a solo exhibition of his work at Josef Herman Welfare Hall, Ystradgynlais in the near future, as a result of winning the Josef Herman Foundation Art Prize in memory of Carolyn Davies.

Caroline Thraves, Academic Director Art and Media said: “We are delighted that Owain Sparnon will be exhibiting his work at our gallery Stiwdio Griffith. This work is a culmination of the exceptional work produced as part of his residency here at Swansea College of Art and funded by the Artist Benevolent Fund. As a graduate of BA Fine Art at Swansea College of Art the residency provided Owain with a studio and mentoring which enabled him to further develop his practice as an artist. I am certain that visitors will be delighted by what they see within the exhibition.”

Gwenllian Beynon, Senior Lecturer at Wales Institute of Science and Art echoed these sentiments stating: "This is an Exciting opportunity for Owain to have his first one person show in such a fantastic contemporary space here at SCA. It has been fantastic to see Owain’s development since graduating to now having this significant solo show here in Swansea. The language and culture of Wales within the global and art historical context weaves through his practice."

Owain said: It’s an honour to have an exhibition at Griffith Studio. I have had four amazing years at Swansea College of Art being, taught by wonderful special lecturers. I have also had countless opportunities to experiment and develop my artwork. Having a solo exhibition in Swansea’s newest contemporary gallery is the icing on the cake. It is an excellent space to exhibit works that I have created during the last year and I am very grateful for this opportunity.”

Further Information

Llinos McVicar BA (Hons), MA, AFHEA, ACIM, MCIPR
Principal Communications and PR Officer Alumni
Prif Swyddog Cyfathrebu a Chysylltiadau Cyhoeddus Cyn-fyfyrwyr
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