Colin Mains is a young Irish artist who graduated from West Wales School of the Arts in 2009. His work is included in Oriel Myrddin Gallery's current show 'Outsider'. The work is a mix of documented performance, film and art object. The piece chosen for this show is part of a series in which the artist has made footwear from unyielding and uncomfortable materials. In this case he has roughly hewn a pair of clog type shoes from wood and the accompanying film shows him walking on a wooded slope in the shoes, struggling with their rigidity and textures to make progress.
It is a very moving piece of work; elegant, simple. The performance is masochistic almost, torturous - a trial, an endurance. It has the religious dimensions of the pilgrimage and of the martyr and the ritualistic feeling of a tribal rite. The presence of the shoes in the gallery as an art object brings another unexpected layer to the concept, they become fetishised. They make their own statement about materiality, about the stuff of the natural world and our struggles to master and dominate it. They become symbolic of the task.