Celebrating the life and work of Ray Williams 1941-2009

A retrospective exhibition opens at the New Mercury on 3rd December

Ray, who died last year, was one of the founder members of Cinderford Artspace. This exhibition offers a unique opportunity to enjoy the work of one of the most quirky, humorous and unforgettable artists the Forest has produced.
Sara Weaving, another founder member and the co-ordinator of this exhibition, knew Ray for many years. Sara worked with him on many creative projects and considered it to be a great privilege to be his art and design tutor. She describes his artwork thus:

“ His images were often glorious fantasy – aliens, robots and fantasy animals. However images from his traditional Forest childhood were also the source of inspiration. As well as sketching a picture, Ray could paint … with words. He described to me how, as a child, he used to hide under the table when the family pig was going to be killed. He was glad of the draped table cloth and used to put his hands over his ears. Most of Ray’s tales are of happy memories of his life in the Forest of Dean. His vivid visual memory enabled Ray to sketch detail, ensuring crucial rivets, handles or an animal’s features were not left unrecorded. Ray was passionate about his sketching and it is no surprise that he was determined to complete a sketch on the last day of his very special life.”

Ray was a founder member of the Forest Artists’ Network , his unique untaught style recognised by fellow artists as a fascinating example of ‘outsider art’, inspiring others, including Mark Walker, Steve Hyslop and Joanna Weaving.

Artspace was a haven in which he began to develop his work in collaboration with other artists. He developed a very special relationship with Mark. Both Foresters and passionate about their work, Ray would tackle many subjects and projects with Mark. It became a very special and joyful relationship. This shines through in The Severn Boar, which came to be their signature work.
Later he explored oil painting with Steve whilst at the same time working on large textile commissions with Joanna . This collaborative work enabled Ray to see his ‘sketches’ develop into large scale works, in textile, three dimensional pieces and print. Ray explored ceramics, but he always returned to his original medium, his passion for sketching.

Open Studios – New Mercury– 2006
1997 – Severn Revels
1997 – Guildhall Arts Centre, Gloucester – Iron Horse and Other Stories – New Work, Drawings and Textiles ( with Jo Weaving). Jay Haigh – Exhibition Co-ordinator said in a letter to Ray Feb of that year “…what a joy it has been organising an exhibition of your work. I continue to be bowled over by the imagination and humour of your images and your talent as an artist”.
1997 – The Severn Revels
1996 – Shire Hall, Gloucester, with Sheila Hardacre and other members of the Artspace Thursday Print workshop

Gloucestershire Social Services bursary- 1995 – enabling Ray to work collaboratively with professional textile artist Jo Weaving, and culminating in the Guildhall exhibition.
1996 – Summerfield Trust Award – Severn Boar
1996 – Outstanding Adult Learner – Adult Learner’s week

1994 – Wall hanging for the Charlton Lane Unit – in collaboration with Jo Weaving


Proceeds from sale of work will go to The Ray Williams Exhibition Fund – to support local artists to exhibit their work.

Posted on Tuesday, November 30, 2010 by Roland | Permalink

Next - The Artspace Homegrown Exhibition 2011

Previous - NEW Outreach adult classes