An Everlasting Impression; Two Painters and Two Sculptors Stepped into the Unknown When They Were Asked to Produce Prints as Part of a Welsh Art Society's Birthday Exhibition. Karen Price Finds out More

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MOREthan 70 years ago, a society was formed to promote and nurture the best contemporary art in Wales.

Today the group is thriving and it is currently holding a special exhibition in Wrexham.

Making An Impression is a display of contemporary prints commissioned by the Contemporary Arts Society of Wales.

The show includes four new works created to celebrate the society's 70th anniversary in 2008 by artists Laura Ford, David Nash, Shani Rhys James and David Tress.

The society was founded by Welsh artist Augustus John and Lord Howard de Walden, among others, to buy art directly from artists which are then donated to recognised art collections in Wales.

The four original works which form CASW's 2008 anniversary portfolio are from two painters and two sculptors.

Laura Ford was born in Cardiff in 1960 and was one of the first artists to represent Wales at the Venice Biennale in 2003.

Espaliered Girl was produced in the print workshop at the University of Glamorgan in Pontypridd. It is Ford's first print for a number of years and references her Spring 2008 exhibition in Wiltshire in which three life-size figures were shown.

Ford has only worked in the traditional material of bronze since 2006. Her figures and groups of figures are often shaped in a hard material, jesmonite, and dressed in fabrics, wool, cloth, sacking, which renders them softer and more vulnerable.

Following a residency at the Scottish Sculpture Workshop, Ford produced a group of fallen figures, Armour Boys.

They relate to her experiences of living through the London bombings of 2005 and the vulnerability of her children in the city.

The second sculptor commissioned was David Nash. His works, mainly large, wood forms, are in major galleries throughout the world as well as in public spaces.Hewas awarded anOBE in 2005.

Nash spent regular boyhood holidays in North Wales and while still a student at Kingston College of Art, he rented and then bought a house in Blaenau Ffestiniog, later moving to a former chapel, Capel Rhiw, where he now has his home and personal exhibition space.

From 1971, a year after completing his postgraduate studies at Chelsea, he acquired a woodland near Maentwrog and has been working on projects there ever since.

Nash has a firm commitment to the environment and will not use trees that are not moribund.

When commissioned to work on a piece, he sources the tree and involves local students in the project.

He is responsive to the exact structure of each tree and is, in a sense, guided by the wood.

His contribution to the CASW portfolio is an edition of individually stencilled prints; Red Flash is referencing the large sculptures in yew, one example of which is in his collection at Capel Rhiw.

The tree is worked on by chainsaws and colour is achieved in his sculptures, for example, by using Californian Redwood, or by a charring process. …