Diana Heeks & Zena Blackwell
Location: Canfas, Manchester House, Grosvenor Hill, Cardigan SA43 1HY
Date: 02/04/2022 - 30/04/2022
Diana Heeks trained as a painter at Birmingham College of Art in the early sixties. During 2006-2009 she studied for an MA Fine Art at Cardiff and Aberystwyth. She has worked as a teacher, art therapist and ceramicist, and spent very formative spells in Italy during the sixties and seventies.
“I work across a spectrum of ideas and materials, taking inspiration from many sources: landscape and the natural world, literature, the art and design of eastern cultures, other artists, and often from the materials themselves. My approach is intuitive, with a process that often starts playfully and then becomes more serious and specific. I mainly work with oils, but also love to use watercolour”.
The domestic setting is beautiful, still, and a touch awkward.’
– Sacha Craddock (art critic, writer, curator)
Zena Blackwell’s awarding-winning paintings and drawings investigate the chaos, humour, beauty and dark days of motherhood. Her work derives from the constant observation of her two children at play, at rest, or caught unawares in various typical childhood situations. Blackwell scrutinises the wide-ranging spectrum of heightened emotions experienced in motherhood and this can manifest in works that are beautiful and whimsical but also slightly ominous. Blackwell’s paintings have been described as being ‘psychologically charged’.
Zena Blackwell is a painter based in Cardiff, Wales, UK. She obtained her Masters in Fine Art at Central Saint Martins, London, and degree at Wimbledon School of Art, London. Returning to painting in 2016 following a break from the medium (during which time she explored sculpture, collage, performance and installation), she won first prize at the Cardiff MADE Summer Exhibition in 2017, presenting her first solo show consisting of over 30 paintings and drawings there the year after. The exhibition, ‘Seen Not Heard’, for which she was awarded a £5k production grant from the Arts Council of Wales, was included in a weekly list of the top 5 UK exhibitions by a-n (The Artists Information Company) and Wales Arts Review included it in a top 10 list of the best Welsh Visual Arts for 2018. In 2019 she won 3rd prize at ‘PAINT’, an open painting prize at PS Mirabel in Manchester. Zena was selected for the National Eisteddfod in 2018 and 19, and has exhibited widely. Zena founded the instagram blog Contemporary Cymru in 2017 and between 2003-2011, she co-founded a critically acclaimed live music event in London and also DJed nationally and internationally.
‘Painting is the perfect medium in using the framed edges as a stage to let you into the world as Zena sees it.’
– Zoë Gingell, Director at Cardiff MADE