A review of the Between The Lines Exhibition at Art Central by John Parr, May 2013:

Following a recent visit to the exhibition ‘Between the Lines’ by Glyn Pooley at Artcentral in Barry, I felt compelled to share my appraisal with you.

Glyn's work here, a tripartite portrait offering of individual written statement, photograph and line pencil drawing, is a moving testimony to human beings, their collective appreciation that sensibility is there for something, that it is finite and bound by health and individual make up. It seems to add up to a struggle to find value in existence. It strikes you that people are about the particular and the universal at the same time. I kept going back to bits of Shakespeare. You just can’t help it.

What strikes you are the disparate marks and signifiers that human beings are capable of; the formality of modern typeface, familiar yet mysterious in its own way. The sometimes cautious sometimes not, pencil trace, reminiscent of the grey meandering line on my hikers Etrex 10 GPS. And maybe there is a clue. My first thought was make it all small and stick it in a spacecraft for someone to find in some distant eon. We have portholes here into people’s lives, a glimpse into individual struggles, and a will towards truth, compassion, and authenticity in the philosophical sense.

You sense sometimes a clinical desperation to avoid the cliché, the banal and the overstated.

Dr Barry Morgan - "A priest in every community". There is no eloquence here, just words that cling to the rock face. And John Haskel, who almost has an out of body experience of himself, rowing the Atlantic. Also the quiet determination of Molly Conway to spend her adult life improving conditions for residents of the Gibby Estate. Some of the pencil portraits are very fast and racy, like their owners you imagine. Look at the full face treatment of Steve Jacques who looks every bit like Wild Bill Hikcock as he faces you down for a gunfight. Other portraits are slower in tempo, inviting ambiguity. The quiet dignity of Dilys Colbourne springs to mind. One thing that struck me about the portraits is that they enabled me to see how people looked when they were younger. Another aspect of this collection is the time freezing snapshot that will form part of a corpus of primary source. It reminds you that life doesn’t just happen on TV or when Channel Four News says it does. What it does do very well is remind one of one’s own mortality, that time is something that gives us a lot of freedom and whether you’re a saint or an alcoholic or both, we all eventually end up in the same condition.

What Glyn has put together shows us the sparking wheel, the flash pan, the hand with the slow match that has the power to make every human being glow brightly. The only certainty is that it is a mystery how it happens. I don’t understand any of it. Am I in or am I out? Who the hell knows? What is consciousness? Haven’t got a clue...and so it goes on. 

‘Between the Lines’ an exhibition by Glyn Pooley continues until Saturday May 11th at ArtCentral, Kings Square Barry. I would urge everyone to take a look.

Real spiritual gains are at best undervalued, at worst entirely ignored.

Wassily Kandinsky.