An artist delves into the mysteries of an author’s life in a Llangoed mansion

Julie Mayer at Plas Bodfa, discovering the life of a former resident of the house

Written byJulie Mayer

This week we chat with artist Julie Mayer, 53, from Southampton, whose work is one of many creative projects that will be on display at Plas Bodfa. His exhibition will be based on the enigmatic life of an artist and author who once lived at Llangoed Manor, Anglesey.

Tell us about your family

I met my husband Norman (also an artist in Bodfa’s “Continuum” exhibition) at art school in the 90s. We have three children, the eldest recently graduated from the University of ‘Aberystwyth after studying fine art – I guess it’s in the blood! I also have a toy poodle called Eddie, who follows me everywhere!

What are you best known for?

I am an abstract painter who does geometric abstract paintings using oil paint. My practice is process driven and plays with the relationship between form, pattern and color. For more information visit my website www.Julie Mayer.org

Tell us about your exhibition (what is it called, how does it take place/where is it held?)

I take part in the Plas Bodfa Continuum exhibition on Anglesey. I made paintings in response to research on one of Plas Bodfa’s former residents, Anita Tregarneth. She was a painter and author who wrote many books on the history of Anglesey and a collection of poems called ‘The Call of the Sea’. She traveled extensively and regularly in the 1920s and 1930s only to Quebec, New York and Buenos Aires aboard some of the largest ocean liners of the time. It will run from April 9 to April 24.

What can people expect?

I worked with a historian and found Anita Tregarneth to be a bit of an enigma! Records of his story and accomplishments as an artist are very fragmented and pieces of his life are missing. Many mysteries also surround her life, her marriage to George (their names changed in 1928 from Thomas to Tregarneth) and her death in Jersey in 1972. The work reflects on this.

Tell us five things that make your exhibition great?

Exhibition host Julie Upmeyer, her husband Jonathan Lewis, their children Ffion and Nesta and of course the house itself! It was great working with such great people and spending time in residence while doing research. Julie was very supportive, open, and allowed my ideas to grow organically rather than being constrained in a rigid exhibit structure.

Tell us what’s good about the place

Plas Bodfa is steeped in so many layers of history and the house draws you into its many and varied pasts and stories.

One of Julie’s abstract works based on life research by Anita Tregarneth

Tell us a little-known fact about yourself:

To relax, I like to watch David Suchet as Hercule Poirot in ‘Agatha Christie’s Poirot’!

What’s next for you? What are you currently working on or what do you plan to work on?

I can’t give up on Anita’s story and plan to continue researching her life as I find it fascinating and enjoy following the trail and trying to fill in the gaps. Or as Poirot would say “exercise the little gray cells”!

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