The Oriel Space

The Oriel Space is our biggest gallery space where we celebrate local artists and stories. Exhibitions in this space change regularly, so there is always something new to see!

To get in touch about exhibiting here, use our contact form. 

2019 Exhibitions

Will Tennant: “Thoughts (and Other Mental Activities)

Opens 4th January – closes 26th January

“Living in Aberdare for most of my life, I have always, as far as I remember, had a keen interest in the arts. From my time in Aberdare Grammar School, Methyr College, and University. I don’t think I can put a label on the type of work I produce, as it covers a wide spectrum, from surrealism, pop art and portraiture. I cannot say that I am catering for any one taste, I am always open to criticism as long as it is constructive. We all have something to learn. To me, a work of art doesn’t start when the brush meets the canvas but when an original idea is concieved in the mind of the artist. This idea in turn may then expand when the process of painting begins. As Damien Hurst once said ‘if someone leaves the gallery and thinks of my work 10 minutes later, my job is done’.”

Follow the artist – Facebook

Sue Hiley-Harris: Woven & Drawn

Opens 1st February – closes March 9th

Sue Hiley-Harri is best known for the abstract handwoven sculpture she has been making since the late 1990s. This may be understood in relation to constructed abstract art generally, whether two or three dimensional. Material, structure and form are interdependent. The forms are often derived from pure geometric shapes. These may be repeated or become multiple parts of a complete work. Sometimes they allude to natural forms or to life’s continuous natural cycle. The bare upland landscape of the Black Mountains and the Brecon Beacons has, for many years, been important in Sue’s life and has made an impact on her weaving.

Sue studied fine art at Queensland College of Art in her home town of Brisbane, Australia. Since moving to Britain she has studiued handloom weaving in Bradford and science with the Open University. In 2013 Sue was awarded a major Creative Wales Award by the Arts Council of Wales. She has exhibited and undertaken commissions both internationally and in the United Kingdom and has lectured and held workshops in Britain, Ireland, Australia and the USA. Her work is in public collections in Wales, France and Italy. She has lived in Wales for over thirty years, first on the western side of the Black Mountains, and, for the past twelve years, in the town of Brecon.

Follow the artist: Website

Blackwood Community Art Group: A Selection of Mixed Media Arts and Crafts

Opens 15th March – closes 13th April

“It all started with a small group of people who met every week in Blackwood Miners’ Institute to paint and draw together. In 2005 they decided to turn it into a more formal arrangement and became a voluntary organsation with just 7 members. After a few years the Group outgrew the room in the Institute an moved a few miles down the valley to Pentwynmawr Community Centre where they still come together on a weekly basis.

Members come from a wide geographical area, but all live in or near the ex-colamining towns and villages of the South Wales Valleys. As membership increased so did the variety of mediums and techniques used in people’s work. What perhaps makes this group a little different from most other art groups if that there are regulalry organised visits to art galleries and exhibitions, plus sketching to local areas of interest. Workshops, demonstrations and competitions are also popular features on the calendar.

Follow the artist: Facebook

Welsh Photographic Federation: Welsh Photographic Salon 2019

Opens 4th May – closes 1st June

*across both galleries*

The WPF is an affiliation of over 50 camera clubs in the South Wales area. It is affiliated to the Photographic Alliance of Great Britain (PAGB), the Fédération Internationale de l’Art Photographique (FIAP), and the Photographic Society of America (PSA). It aims to promote and raise the standard of Welsh photography and to support its members in achieving photographic excellence. This exhibition will consist of roughly 150 framed photographs from all over Wales, selected from the best of their members’ work for the year.

Follow the artist – Website / Facebook

Coleg y Cymoedd: Aberdare Creative 2019

Opens 7th June – closes 29th June

*across both galleries*

“This exhibition will include students’ work from the Level 1, 2 and 3 Creative Media, and Foundation degree Game Art and Design cohorts. This is a great opportunity to view the Coleg y Cymoedd Aberdare creative students’ end of year show. This will include a wide and varied range of work from digital media films, graphic art posters, game designs, photography and fine art. This is a brilliant occassion to promote the work of students from Aberdare and surrounding areas, and also to publicise some of the further education courses we provide at Coleg y Cymoedd Aberdare.”

Quilters’ Guild Region 12: Celebration of 40 years

Opens 5th June – 27th June

The Quilter’s Guild celebrates 40 years in 2019. As a region we would like to put out a challenge to our members and affiliated Groups. We would like as many members/groups as possible to make a quilt on the theme of ‘Celebration’. These quilts will form a touring exhibition which will be on display at the Cynon Valley Museum for this period.

Follow the artist: Website / Facebook / Twitter

Miskin Art Society: Group Project

Opens 2nd August – closes 24th August

Rugby 2019: an exhibition exploring the impact of the sport across the Cynon Valley

Opens 30th August – closes 28th September

In the run up to the start of the Rugby World Cup, this exhibition will explore the impact of the game in the Cynon Valley, from clubs bringing communities together, to international success stories from our doorstep.

Aberdare Art Society: Annual Show

Opens 4th October – closes 19th October

“The Aberdare Art Society was established in 1938. The members produce work in a variety of media and are inspired to produce their work from wide ranging sources of inspiration. This exhibition showcases the Society’s 2019 work and the talent of local people.”

Follow the artist: Facebook

Photography: Japanese Portraits & Intentional Camera Movement

Opens 25th October – closes 9th November

This exhibition will feature the work of two local artists focussed on the theme of Japanese Portraits and medium of Intentional Camera Movement.


Serialist Art Collective: Sufferance 

Opens 15th Noevmber – closes 30th November

“I am an abstract, expressionist artist based in Cardiff. I have been artistically creative most of my life but came a self-employed artist in 2009 as “arielartanddesign”. I have a studio in a warehouse on Splott and a small workshop at home. I prefer to work in oil on canvas but I design and make decor for festivals in acrylic on calico, some of which have been used for the BBC TV Series ‘Craith’.

I also write a fanzine, poetry and short stories, some of which I have illustrated. I like to invent themes and concepts for group exhibitions and am one of the founder members of the ‘The Serialist Art Collective’. including exhibitions Metemorphosis in 2009 and Epiphany in 2016. I like to work from a grid to which I add patterns and formations that build up over layer upon layer carefully blending vibrant colours. I pride myself on my colourisatio. I have developed my own idiosyncratic style and technique. This can be earily recognised as my own.

This exhibition is based aroudn the idea of people who ‘fight for their cause’, their beliefs, hopes, dreams, religion. Open to putting themselves in the line of fire. For example, the Suffragettes, the Chartists, the Starving artist or Martyr.

Fiona Harper: The Taff Trajectory

Opens 6th December – closes 21st December

“My work is a visual journey inspired by the ever-changing landscape along the Taff Trail. This trail is the route between Cardiff Bay in the south adn Brecon in the north. The trail has been achieved by using the former routes of tramways, railways, canals and the present day tow paths. These series of paintings were inspired by the experience of living and working in the South Wales Valleys where nature and the elements interact witht he iconography of an industrial past set within the context of today.

My fine art degree steered me towards sculpture I look for form within the landscape, a stone wall, the curve of the mountain. I compose my work around that form being sensitive to this particular landscape- hill farms meeting the industrial past. The paintings are sinister in aspect the landscape staggering in beauty contains uglyness and menance.

I walk many distances, I look, I witness, I understand, I paint.

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