The 27th June saw friends and family of artist Ewart Johns congregate at the University of Exeter to celebrate the unveiling of Students on the steps of University College of the South West Bradninch Place Exeter (1951) in the Forum.
The painting which was a kind donation from the artist is now on display in the corridor outside the Seminar Rooms in the Forum Library. The style of the work is Cubist and the modern geometrical design of the Forum compliments the piece greatly in its new situation.
The painting depicts students graduating on the steps of what is now the Exeter Phoenix, and was at the time part of the University College. The artist requested that the work be hung in a place in which students continued to learn, and so the Forum Library seemed to be the ideal place. Mrs Barbara Johns, Ewart’s wife was pleased to see the painting on view and remarked that it was a great spot for the piece to be appreciated at some distance.
The painting is open to the public to view and can be accessed through the main Forum Street every day.
Above: Mrs Barbara Johns with friends, family and members of the Library and Arts and Culture Services at the celebration
About the Artist
Ewart Johns (1923 – Feb.2013) has exhibited widely throughout Britain, has had four London shows, is represented in the Arts Council’s (Welsh) collection and has had a number of public mural commissions. Amongst other locations, his paintings are in the University of Exeter’s Art Collection and a large number of his drawings are in the archives of St John’s College, Cambridge. He was born in Barry, South Wales, and a major formative influence was the teaching of Ceri Richards at Cardiff College of Art.
He later combined a university career with work as a freelance artist. His academic research – chiefly at Exeter – was in Urban Design, and led to a number of publications including a book on British Townscape for Edward Arnold. The combination of his interest in the practice of art with the study of design, led to his appointment as the first head of the Department of Visual Arts at Lancaster University. After retiring from the University, Ewart Johns worked as a full time artist in Devon. When he lost his sight he explored other ways of expressing visual concepts, including making sculptures in wood.