Saturday, 4 September 2010

To the Buddha - Veils and Voids

Peter Finnemore - Map Maker - seen here

Jonathan Anderson - Dark Bulb - seen here

I went to St David's Hall Gallery in Cardiff last night to the opening of To the Buddha - Veils and Voids, a joint exhibition by Peter Finnemore and Jonathan Anderson. The exhibition looks at ways in which the artists "...share a common attitude towards intrinsic Buddhist values within visual art practise. Notions of illusions, voids, noble truths, iconography, tolerance and contemplation..."

Peter Finnemore's resonant photographs of his family home - Gwendraeth House in Carmarthenshire, are charged with the poetic essence of the objects and places they capture. Tempered with the lightest touch of humour, this series of images are mindful and intelligent, operating subtly on one's attention as contemplative entry points to the deeper meanings they embody. The joy of Finnemore's work is his modest mastery of Roland Barthes ideas of the 'Death of the Author' - he opens an experience and leaves you to find your own relationship with it, it's slightly mischievous - there's the touch of The Trickster about him "A photograph is always invisible, it is not it that we see" Roland Barthes.

Jonathan Anderson's coal covered objects and drawings and indeed the practice of his Coaladonia Project are infused with darkness. The fetishised covering of objects in this highly charged material, with all its political associations, is a kind of active meditation. At once ephemeral and suspended in time through their coating of sparkling carbon, the objects he has selected are drawn into a living, symbolic otherworld project. They are a contradiction, both passively captured and actively energised. There is something quite sinister about the process. The forms cast in concrete are perhaps an even more direct encapsulation of these ideas. Anderson's humour is of a darker bent, but like Finnemore, it opens a space; it is a point of connection where the process of the artist meets the engagement of the viewer.

The show runs until 2 October 2010 at St David's Hall Gallery in Cardiff.

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