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Artist's work animates Cardiff surgery

A painter’s work has been incorporated into a Cardiff NHS surgery’s interior design to tell the story of the Welsh capital’s past.

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Ruth McLees, from Cardiff Bay, is a fabric painter who uses a combination of light, reflection and pattern to experiment with unusual styles and ideas.

She was commissioned to create designs for Cloughmore Surgery in Splott. The interior of the building has Ms McLees’s vinyl paintings in glass panes displaying the history of the area.

“I wanted people to be able to take a walk through Splott in time and place. I listened to tales from people around the area and wanted to capture their experiences and memories,” she said.

Some of the images include the chimneys of the steelwork factory and Pengam airport.

HP_Painter4_Print“What Splott represents to a lot of people who do not live in the area is the image of pipes curving up over the steelwork in the distance as they drive around the city,” she explained.

The work also had to comply with the privacy standards that need to be respected at a surgery.

“I had to have the right balance between limited visual access, allowing patients to see what is going on and creating art.

“That is why I made small windows rather than a floor-to-ceiling piece. This allows privacy and the idea is to convey the gap in the steelwork fence.

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“The windows also represent snippets of memories being pieced together. People can link these up to memories they have, something that belongs to them.”

In other works Ms McLees experiments with various fabrics and paint. Her recent collection of tree images uses different plant pigments as colour. She also uses materials such as fibreglass and silicon.

Over the coming months she will be preparing an outdoor feature on the Cardiff Bay Barrage. She will join an environmental team on a boat, searching for samples of what is beneath the water’s surface.

“I will be looking for things that point to the past,” she said.

“Things from a ship or sea creatures that will help me create a representation of the history and life of that area.”

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