19 April – 18 June 2011

What do the objects you own mean to you?

Over an eight week period, Oriel Myrddin Gallery invites four artists; Carwyn Evans, Peter Finnemore,

Becky Adams and Jools Johnson to occupy the gallery space with special objects that evoke intruiging stories.

Using objects both personal and particular and a spirit of experiment and happen-stance, each of this artist-led series will develop differently. Visitors and community groups will engage with each of the stages in order to explore the stories, history, memory and associations of objects.


Sunday, 24 April 2011

Sgwrs yn yr oriel..

Having spent the week with us in the gallery, Carwyn Evans came back this afternoon to talk about the work he has installed in Project Object: Altro.

Carwyn started by telling us a little bit about his practice as an artist. Coming from a Welsh speaking farming family in Newcastle Emlyn in Ceredigion, he sees his work as an extension and a re-interpretation of this farming legacy. Previous work, especially from his first major solo show in Oriel Davies in 2009, Y bore hwnnw, gwyliodd y wawr yn torri/That morning he watched the dawn, began to explore notions of 'cefn gwlad' (rurality) in relation to migration/immigration to/from the city. Alongside an exceptional collection of sculptural installations, a series of dry point etchings Arolwg/Survey showed field plans for ploughing on the land worked by his father. A series of occasional tables Troi/Turn with routed tops, like ploughed fields brought the language and physical actions of the farm into the artist's repertoire.

During his MA studies at The Royal College of Art this year, Carwyn has developed these ideas and begun to find a more open and experimental attitude to making his work. Oriel Myrddin Gallery has become a place where he can test out the relationship the works have to each other and the gallery space.

The main activity that has taken place during Carwyn's time in the gallery is the sieving of clay from the family farm in custom made buckets, the intention is one of 'purification'; an investigation to find out if there may be a way of disinvesting the material of place and identity and its potent associations. The muddy residue of the process has been placed by Carwyn high up on the plates of some quasi-agricultural forms which he calls 'rammers' leaning against the gallery wall. The process elevates the 'stuff', offering it up. 

As you enter the gallery a loosely constructed wall made from slats of wood or louvres runs into the space. It has a function of defining space, but also operates as a screen. Although reluctant to pin down a meaning for this construction, Carwyn suggested that personally, he may have utilised the screen as a way of 'excusing' or obfuscating his activities in the gallery. There is perhaps a reticence or shyness in him to  expose the process he is engaged with, the eradication of culture, the filtering of identity.

Elsewhere in the gallery, a series of bone china forms are placed, made from the off-cut material that his girlfriend, ceramicist Lowri Davies generates from the fine table-ware she produces. They have become sculptural objects in Carwyn's hands. One of the forms, propped on a wooden frame has had clay from the farm forced through the centre. Carwyn alludes to many layers of reference in the work, one of which sees a slightly anthropomorphic shape in the form - perhaps a child in a high chair - the clay becomes a metaphor for the imbibing of the personal and cultural stuff of which we are made. Scatological references lead us to think about the residue of that process. 

Alongside the sculptural works, there are also two projections running in the gallery. The texts, one in Welsh, one in English are a response to Richard Serra's Verb List Compilation: Actions to Refer to Oneself (1967 - 1968). A series of verbs which relate to the actions of farming are brought into the gallery by Carwyn to become an artwork.

The self portrait that Carwyn has created with the use of the OHPs shows an image of him with a bunch of Gypsophila flowers in his mouth - a play on the phrase - giving (people) 'gyp' - whether he is giving gyp or being GIVEN gyp is not necessarily clear! Further projections echo the patterns of the Gypsophila in pin prick circles of light - Carwyn suggested that we hold that image in mind whilst looking at the show - the idea that there are a constellation of ideas and interpretations for the work and that nothing is final or fixed.

It was great to have Carwyn with us to give us this insight into the processes and outcomes of his work. I left feeling he had been very brave to use the gallery in this way to show fledgling work as yet untested out of the studio and to embrace the experimental spirit of the project. I think it is particularly poignant for Carwyn to show this work in Carmarthen, so near to his family home. He respectfully raises many crucial questions for all of us who live in Wales either by birth or by choice and gently opens a platform to begin to question the very nature of identity and belonging.

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We'd like to hear your comments about Project Object here! if you have any images, video, text etc you'd like to contribute to the blog please email to kcampbell@carmarthenshire.gov.uk. Thanks/Diolch.