Friday, 26 November 2010

Antonia Dewhurst

Antionia Dewhurst - Gimme Shelter series - seen here

I have recently been intrigued by the work of artist, Antonia Dewhurst, currently studying at Coleg Menai in Bangor. I am particularly interested in her Gimme ShelterTŷ unnos series of models, actions and performances. The term Tŷ unnos means One night house in English. It is an old Welsh tradition; if one could build a house in a night on common land and have a fire smoking in the chimney by morning, the land could be claimed - this feat having been accomplished, one could then claim the land around the house as far as an axe could be thrown from each corner of the house.

The artist has made a series of models for shelters using photographs she has taken of local shelters and buildings. I wanted to find out a little more about her ideas and she kindly agreed to answer a few questions.

KC: I really like your 'Gimme Shelter' series of models. Could you tell me a little bit about how you came to work with this concept. 

AD: I've been concerned for some time with questions of where or what home may be, this comes from my own rather ambivalent feelings about where constitutes home. During the summer I did a lot of running in the hills around Llanfairfechan and the Tŷ unnos idea came to me fully formed, it was simply something I felt I needed to do whether or not it constituted "art". 

KC: I really like the technique of physically making the models from photographs - kind of hybrids I guess. Are the models things in themselves or maquettes for larger structures? 

AD: The model-making arose from the need to explore the concept as fully as I could. Initially I considered chopping up dolls houses, then, while researching architectural model supplies on the web, I came across cardboard models for model railways. Neither of these options were quite right, but it occurred to me that I've been photographing doors, windows and corrugated iron for years and I could print these onto card and make my own, uncompromised, designs.

The models aren't maquettes, they are structures in their own right, though they do explore the aesthetic of how the Tŷ unnos may look. It was important to me that they are made from photographic material collected from the local area so the aesthetic is specifically a North Wales one.

Antonia Dewhurst - Gimme Shelter series - seen here

KC: Where do you think the project is going? I saw the images of the work in Estate Agent windows - what's the idea with that? It seems very pertinent in the current climate...

Antonia Dewhurst - Accent Properties - seen here

AD: The project is very much based around actually building a Tŷ unnos on March 19th 2011, and this is likely to represent a peak of activity and energy though it may not actually be the most important element of the project as a whole; I remain open-minded about that. 

At the moment I am exploring other aspects of the project such as the estate agency angle. One of the characteristics of the original Tŷ unnos is absent from my project and that is the idea of encroachment. The originals were squats in order to annex a pocket of land. I have permission for my Tŷ unnos so I am exploring other ways to encroach, one of which is to introduce the models and photographs of the finished Tŷ unnos into estate agencies. I'm hoping this will impart a certain gravity to the project; the models tip-toe around the edge of the rather romantic and sentimental aspects of home, I would like the project also to be concerned with darker themes like ownership, encroachment and the universal need for shelter.

I have been extending the video element of the project, building minimal shelters in two different locations in the village using deliberately inferior materials.

Antonia Dewhust - Woodland Shelter 2 - seen here

I'm looking forward to see the outcomes of the project, thanks to Antonia for her time.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

LUX at Oriel Myrddin Gallery

JAMESPLUMB - Dog Lights 

Our winter exhibition at Oriel Myrddin Gallery, LUX presents work from London based sculptors and designers, JAMESPLUMB (Hannah Plumb and James Russell). Light is a central theme in their work which takes forgotten and overlooked objects, transforming them into beautiful and functional new pieces.

JAMESPLUMB - Concrete Stiches series

Other artists and makers in the show reflect on the domestic, the beautiful and the well crafted. Some use up-cycled and reclaimed materials in their work, bringing discarded pieces back into the spotlight in a new form. Other artists' work celebrates the simple and the functional in daily life.

I'm really pleased with the show, and the work we have on show, here's some installation shots from the gallery.

LUX - Oriel Myrddin Gallery
Anna Lewis - Colin the Magpie with pearls and book

JAMESPLUMB - Cluster Chandelier
Hetty Rose - shoes made from vintage kimono fabric
Gwyn Williams - Love Spoons (Screen print)

LUX - Oriel Myrddin Gallery

Justine Allison - ceramics

Laura Plant - ceramic knives

The show includes:

Justine Allison, Donya Coward, Gareth Hugh Davies, Ivor Davies, Virginia Graham, Eloise Grey, Ainsley Hillard, Buddug Wyn Humphreys, Caitlin Jenkins, Carol Kingsbury Gwizdak, Anna Lewis, Laura Plant, Jo Pond, Hetty Rose, Holly Ross, Serena Rowe, Gwyn Williams, Daniel Wright and Mizuyo Yamashita.

More images of LUX here.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Mat Collishaw - Magic Lantern

Mat Collishaw - Midnight Icarus - seen here

This looks amazing - Mat Collishaw has been commissioned by the V&A to create works that animate the museum's architecture, Magic Lantern - worth a visit after dark I think:

"...A monumental zoetrope - the cylindrical device first designed in 1834 to project a rapid succession of images to simulate motion - is the result. Magic Lantern transforms the Museum's edifice into a beacon of light, brought to life by fluttering moths visible from dusk each evening. Exploiting the theme of enchantment to the full, Collishaw plays with scale, much like Lewis Carroll in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by grabbing the attention of South Kensington passers-by with his monumental fluttering moths in the Museum's uppermost dome, the crown cupola.
This commission is accompanied by a smaller replica zoetrope which will animate the John Madejski Garden during the day, allowing a close-up view of the enchanting motion of moths in flight." 

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Sandra Winkworth

Sandra Winkworth - Sleeping Beauties - seen here

I met Sandra Winkworth through this blog, and when she came to visit Wales from Australia earlier in the year, she came with a friend to visit Oriel Myrddin Gallery and we had lunch together - I hope I can get over to Oz sometime soon and learn more about the art/craft scene down-under. I like Sandra's work very much, and her latest show, Sleeping Beauties is at Hand Held Gallery in Melbourne. Here's Sandra's gallery information about the show: "Sleeping Beauties focuses on the bird and the unwanted book exploring issues concerning loss and denial. I collect, forage, assemble discarded ephemera and old books then rework them to hold images of bird studyskins sourced from a 19th century collection at the University of Sydney’s Macleay Museum. Here the bird is out of context, outside of nature and perhaps is a reminder of our tenuous connections with the natural world."

Sandra Winkworth - Sleeping Beauties - seen here
Sandra Winkworth - Sleeping Beauties - seen here

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Spectral Visitations

Thanks to our spectral visitors at Absent But Not Forgotten: 2 last Sunday - here is a link to the gallery of Polaroid images we shot on the night!

Thursday, 4 November 2010

LUX at Oriel Myrddin Gallery

Laura Plant - Found Blade with Ceramic Handle

I've been flat out this week hanging the next show at Oriel Myrddin, LUX with the team of gallery staff. It's all taking shape now and I'm so pleased with the beautiful work we have selected and invited. Today we received a delivery from newly graduated ceramic student, Laura Plant who incorporates reclaimed domestic knife blades with new ceramic handles to make extraordinary hybrids. Laura states that her father is a butcher and her friend has a fear of being stabbed - she is interested in the paradox of the knife as a weapon and as a functional tool.

Absent But Not Forgotten: 2

On Halloween night we staged a one-night-event as part of my ongoing collaboration with artist, Jacob Whittaker. After days of rain, we had a clear night here in the hills of Carmarthenshire where the work was shown in a stone barn in a remote location - so thanks to those hardy souls who ventured out to join us!

We made new work for the event including a sound piece which built upon ambient sounds from the location and questions and silences recorded as part of a ghost-hunting EVP session. We also projected waveforms taken from sound readings along with screened and projected white noise.

The project has a strong inclusive element, and from the 50 word ghost stories submitted by participants in our first show earlier in the year we developed a film and sound work which was projected onto furniture. I'm very interested in the significance of personal objects and possessions - the way we project our personalities onto them and mediate our lives through them.

This time we asked our visitors to pose for us under a white sheet (ghost-in-a-sheet style) for a series of Polaroid images - everyone was most enthusiastic and inventive in their performance! I'll post some images when they are available. Meanwhile you can see more images and find out about the project here: