Ken Elias

See some of Ken Elias's work in public collections on the Art UK website.

 

Ken Elias is one of Wales’ leading artists. Born in 1944, into a working-class family in Glynneath, his childhood was formed during the 1950s. He attended art school in the 1960s, during the height of the Pop Art movement in the UK.


Ken Elias's work is held in a number of public collections, including the National Museum of Wales, the National Library of Wales, the Arts Council of Wales, Brecknock Museum & Art Gallery and the Contemporary Arts Society of Wales.
 

Using acrylic paint, photomontage and mixed media, Elias creates powerful, striking images, with strong shapes and contrasting colours. Influenced by the memories of family and cinema during his 1950s childhood and his love of poetry and art, his work uses memory and imagination, responding to and drawing inspiration from global issues and currents, while also being strongly rooted in the visual language of the south Wales valleys.


In 2009 the National Library of Wales launched a touring retrospective exhibition of his work titled; Ken Elias: A Retrospective - A celebration of 40 years of painting alongside a publication by Seren Books, edited by Ceri Thomas; Ken Elias: Thin Partitions'.
 

In April 2013, Elias' work was included in a major exhibition at the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff, titled Pop and Abstract, alongside work by David Hockney, Peter Blake, Allen Jones, Bridget Riley and others.
He is a member of both The Welsh Group and the 56 Group Wales.

 

Publication:

Ken Elias: Thin Partitions, edited by Ceri Thomas, foreword by Dai Smith, together with essays by Hugh Adams, David Briers, Jon Gower, Anne Price-Owen and Ceri Thomas. Seren, 2009.

Born and lives: Glynneath, Wales.

 

Education:

1961-65 Medical Laboratory Technology, Neath.

1965-66 Foundation Studies, Cardiff College of Art, Cardiff.

1966-69 BA Fine Art, Newport College of Art and Design, Newport.

1969-70 PGCE, University College Cardiff.

1985-87 MA Fine Art, University of Wales Institute College, Cardiff.

 

Group membership:

The Welsh Group.

Royal Cambrian Academy.

56 Group Wales.

 

Awards:

1978 Welsh Arts Council Award.

1978  Welsh Arts Council Editions Alecto Award.

1989  Second Prize Winner, Wales Open.

1996  Prize Winner, The Watercolour Society of Wales Open Exhibition.

1997  Prize Winner, Aspects of Wales.

 

Public collections:

National Museum of Wales.

National Library of Wales.

Arts Council of Wales.

Contemporary Art Society for Wales.

Brecknock Museum and Art Gallery.

Carmarthen County Museum.

Newport Museum and Art Gallery.

Bangor College Normal.

School of Art, University of Wales, Aberystwyth.

University of Glamorgan.

West Wales Arts Association.

Editions Alecto London.

 

Solo exhibitions:

1973 26 Pictures: Recent Work of Ken Elias, West Wales Arts Association Gallery, Carmarthen.

1978 Ken Elias, Ffotomontedd a Phrintiadau / Photomontage and Prints; Frances Woodley, Cerameg a Phrintiadau / Ceramics and Prints, Oriel, Welsh Arts Council and Gallery, Cardiff.

1988 Ken Elias: Paintings and Drawings, Wyeside Arts Council Gallery, Cardiff.

1988 Ken Elias: Recent Paintings and Drawings, Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre, Cwmbran.

1989 Ken Elias: Paintings and Drawings, Swansea Arts Workshop Gallery.

1995 Going Home: Ken Elias Paintings.

1987-95, Oriel Henry Thomas, Carmarthen College of Art.

1997 Going Home: Ken Elias, Brecknock Museum and Art Gallery, Brecon.

1999 Ken Elias: The Pictures / Y Pictiwrs, Wrexham Arts Centre.

2000 Ken Elias: Y Pictiwrs / The Pictures, National Museum of Wales, Penarth.

2001 Ken Elias: Y Pictwrs / The Pictures National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth.

2001 Ken Elias: Paintings, Oriel y Bont, University of Glamorgan, Pontypridd.

2002 Paintings by Ken Elias, Fine Arts Centre, Glynneath.

2002 Ken Elias RCA, Royal Cambrian Academy, Conwy.

2003 Paintings by Ken Elias, Cynon Valley Museum and Art Gallery, Aberdare.

2005-06 Ken Elias: Finding a Way, Newport Museum and Art Gallery and touring to Theatr Clwyd, Mold, and The School of Art, University of Wales Aberystwyth.

2006-07 Zobole and Elias, Zobole Gallery, University of Glamorgan, Pontypridd (shared with the late Ernest Zobole).

2009-10 Ken Elias: Ôl Syllol / Ken Elias: A Retrospective, National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth and touring to Royal Cambrian Academy, Conwy, and Cynon Valley Museum and Art Gallery, Aberdare.

Howard Gardens Gallery, Cardiff School of Art.