Charles Burton was born in Treherbert in 1929, and grew up in the Rhondda Fawr between the wars. At Cardiff College of Art in the late 1940s he was at the heart of the Rhondda Group, alongside his friends Ernie Zobole and Glyn Morgan. They painted their responses to their everyday surroundings with individuality and freshness, and together had a powerful influence on contemporary Welsh art.
Charles won the Gold Medal for Fine Art at the National Eisteddfod when he was only 25, and after post-graduate studies at the Royal College of Art he became a teacher known for his ability to see talent and develop it. He was Head of Painting at Liverpool College of Art, and from 1970 to his retirement, Head of Art and Design at the Polytechnic of Wales. He was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Glamorgan in 2004.
His work has embraced many subjects: landscapes, still-lifes, interiors and figures, but his paintings are unified in their painterly balance of pictorial space and in their quiet presence. His paintings of the valleys evoke warm memories of a more innocent time, whilst avoiding any hint of sentimentality.
His exhibitions are infrequent – the last solo show was at Martin Tinney Gallery in 2005. This exhibition celebrates Charlie’s 90th Birthday and marks the publication of a major new book about the artist and his work. The monograph is written by Peter Wakelin and published by Sansom & Co and will be launched at the opening of the exhibition.
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