|Meri Wells - The Wakelin Purchase Prize winner 2011|
This year's recipient of The Wakelin Purchase Award is the mid-Wales sculptor, Meri Wells. The award allows a selection of work by a Wales based artist to be bought for the Glynn Vivian Gallery permanent collection in Swansea. The selector for 2011 was Andrew Green from the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth.
Meri Wells lives and works near Machynlleth and has been quietly making her extraordinary, ceramic, anthropomorphic creatures for many years. I remember seeing a show of her work in The Tabernacle in Machynlleth some while ago which exhibited some of the larger scale pieces she makes, including strange characters from the Mari Lwyd folk tradition.
The creatures she makes are uncanny, archetypal and perhaps slightly mournful. They strike a deep chord and their earthy, salt-glazed finishes make them seem to be from the most fundamental part of our psyche. Liminal beings half-in and half-out of the mythical and the imagined. For me her work has a very powerful quality, an otherworldliness that somehow imbues these sculptures with a supernatural presence. I feel very pleased that she has received this recognition for her work and hope to see more in exhibitions and collections in the future.