Shani Rhys James

19 April - 19 May 2023

“Shani Rhys James' paintings are not for the fainthearted. Her large canvases embody the dark and potent tensions buried in family relationships.

Things unsaid, emotional dislocation and fear and anxiety are all expressed in a bravura expression of bold colour and skilful painterly force.

She is a painter's painter.”


- Susan Daniel McElroy

Former Director of Tate St Ives, former head of Visual Arts at the Scottish Arts Council, former director of Oriel Mostyn



Connaught Brown Gallery is delighted to present Shani Rhys James, a choice of the artist’s work in honour of her 70th birthday. Bringing together seven of her early large scale paintings and major later works, this exhibition charts the trajectory of one of Britain’s leading and most iconic contemporary female painters.

With award-winning highlights such as Red Beret, the display is a testament to Rhys James’ longstanding commitment to figurative art and the materiality of paint. Alongside more recent works, the paintings exhibited reveal her evolution and deepening engagement with the nature of femininity, domesticity, motherhood, and artistry itself. Drawing on the artist’s own fascination with the
transience of being, Shani Rhys James at 70 reflects on her life and career, highlighting her ability to charge the canvas with emotion and unwavering magnetism.


The works on display date from the moment of the artist’s rise to prominence in the 1990s, followed by great success and numerous prizes including Gold Medal at the 1992 National Eisteddfod of Wales, BBC Wales Visual Art Award, Jerwood Painting Prize, and an M.B.E. for services to Welsh art in 2006. She has been the recipient of three Honorary Fellowships, and was artist in residence at Columbia University New York in 2015. Her works are held in major national collections such as Arts Council of England, National Museum in Cardiff, National Library of Wales, Birmingham Museum, Pallant House Gallery in Chichester, Victoria Museum in Bath, and Europe’s largest collection of art by women at Murray Edwards College, Cambridge.


Installation Views