Life in Lime

Jan Williams


Pettigrew Tea Rooms & The Little Man Coffee Company

Williams’ paintings focus on memory and identity. Painted by layering tinted lime-wash on board, marks are left by the rubbing away of the lime-wash layers.Williams’ choice of lime-wash is significant, a memory from her childhood of the annual lime-washing of the cowsheds and buildings on the family farm near Brecon. Historically, earth pigments, pigs blood and even soot were added to the lime-wash creating tones and colours that personalised buildings in the landscape. In referencing this annual tradition of cleansing and protecting the walls and structural timber, Jan has applied a single coating of lime for every year of her life, an act that recalls the hard labour undertaken by her family on the farm.

The method of painting/erasing of layers creates surfaces that are open to chance as well as editing and choice. In the mixing and applying of the lime the process becomes repetitious and almost ritualistic. Initially minimal, these paintings slowly reveal a complex tension between surface and depth that creates a space that allows the memories of the viewer to be revisited.

As with Rothko’’s Seagram Murals for the Four Seasons Restaurant, New York, the role of art was to bring stillness and spiritual contemplation to a social space. Tea Rooms and Coffee shops are places we ‘take time out’, they are transitional spaces that we all pass through.

Life in Lime by Jan Williams is part of Cardiff Contemporary 2016 visual art festival which is displayed at venues across the capital until19th November. The theme for this year’s festival is Communication. The exhibition compliments Rob Smith and Charles Danby’s installation Limelight – illuminating the industrial landscape of lime presented in Williams Court in Trade Street.

Discover more about the artist Jan Williams visit

To find out more on Cardiff Contemporary visit


%d bloggers like this: