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Michael Organ (1939-2021)
Michael Organ, 12 May 1939 – 4 May 2021.
Stalwart Welsh Group member Michael Organ, who lived for many years in Griffithstown, Monmouthshire, has died at the age of 81. Remarkably, he had belonged to the Welsh Group for half a century, having joined around 1972, and he will be greatly missed.
I visited him in 2018 while preparing the book to mark the seventieth anniversary of the Welsh Group and vividly recall his creative energy and infectious enthusiasm. His large bungalow was stashed with an abundance of skilful and imaginative paintings, sculpture and ceramics. He was still remarkably active as an artist.
Michael was born into a mining family in Penmaen, Monmouthshire, in 1939. He studied at Caerleon Training College and Cardiff College of Art and then, as a mature student, at South Glamorgan Institute of Higher Education. Early on he worked for the Forestry Commission and he completed National Service in the RAF in Germany.
Working as a teacher of art and design in Cwmbran secondary schools he became head of department and a senior teacher. He would be appointed to the Art Committee of the Schools Council of Great Britain and a joint course leader in art education for the University of Wales. He held many distinctive and successful solo exhibitions in Wales and was also a member of the South Wales Potters.
Michael made intuitively-assembled ceramics and sculpture from derived, modelled or lost-wax-cast bronze and iron as well as from found objects and other materials. He loved to experiment and also painted in a highly distinctive style. Influenced by the freedom of expression found in outsider and folk art, eclectic drawings of young children and a multiple-strand view of art evolution, his works often referenced memories and aspects of art, craft and design history.
His wife Dorothy predeceased him and he is survived by his son Robert.
Michael Organ's exhibition, 'Multiple Memories', at the Pontypool Museum was disrupted by the latest lockdown and will, hopefully, open again on 18 May and continue until 1st August.
10am - 4pm Tuesday to Thursday and 1 - 4pm on weekends.
Please telephone 01495 752036 to check opening times.
Photograph: Michael Organ, 2016 by Robert Organ.
Artist talks at Found
A series of talks recorded at Found Gallery, Brecon during The Welsh Group's exhibition Twenty Twenty, featuring:
An introduction by David Moore
Sue Hiley Harris & Gerda Roper
Gustavius Payne & Thomasin Toohie
Wendy Earle & Karin Mear
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