The launch of the Valentine exhibition at the Dockside Art Gallery, Pembroke Dock brought an opportunity to meet the featured artists Perryn Joanna Butler and Gary Keat and admire their work as well as enjoying the generous hospitality of the gallery’s talented host, Dawny Tootes.
It felt more like the meeting of old friends than a formal Meet the Artist event on Wednesday afternoon, which was attended by the Mayor of Pembroke Dock, Cllr Pam George. Wine and beverages flowed freely and guests were offered a tempting array nibbles.
Based in Pembroke, Gary Keat came to Pembrokeshire from Yorkshire about a year ago and this is his first exhibition in the county. In an era of digital photography, Gary still prefers traditional developing - a craft that is becoming increasingly expensive as the price of the chemicals soars. He told the Observer that the creative process in the darkroom is his favourite part - more satisfying than photography itself. He is aware that anyone equipped with an iPhone can take a great photograph given the right scenery, but this exhibition is less about the original shots and more about the darkroom techniques that result in smouldering images.
Born in Pembrokeshire to artist parents, sculptor Perryn Butler creates diverse works of art from stone - including Preseli Bluestone bronzes - and slate. Perryn has a studio gallery in Goat Street, Haverfordwest. She is also able to use a friend’s farm in Carmarthenshire to work on larger items. You’ll find many shapes and icons from ancient civilisations in her work, which springs from the poweful emotions of love and belonging, free from modern distractions. More major works by Perryn can be seen at her main exhibition in The Harbour Lights Gallery at Porthgain.
If you are hoping to make your loved one’s year with a truly unique gift, or you are simply an art lover, visit the gallery in Dimond Street to see the beautiful artwork, sculpture and hand-crafted jewellery by Perryn Butler, darkroom photography by Gary Keat, art materials by Ludow Colours and molten aluminium wall sculpture by Dawny Tootes. There’s a lot of love to be found in this little gallery. You can even get a free selfie taken with the ones you love, framed in a molten aluminium heart.
The Dockside Art Gallery is open Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm. The Valentine exhibition runs until February 21.