Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Creating and Collaborating

With just under two weeks to go till I begin installing for my solo exhibition 'neuroanatomy' at Bocs in Caernarfon. My productivity in the studio, house, on the bus, in my father-in-law's studio has become more and more frequent. Finally the nerves have kicked in, until this point I have been feeding off my excitement and using this energy in exploring and playing with ideas and materials. Some of you might be shocked that in this eleventh hour I could be still creating work but sadly I don't have that luxury of working full-time let alone part-time on my practice, sigh. I also want to point out I have been waiting for this exhibition for nearly 4 years, I am reminded as my daughter turns four this week and it was a little after she was born I met Glenys Davies in the basement of Dafydd Hardy's Estate Agents on the Maes in Caernarfon. The basement was Oriel Dafydd Hardy a space for experimental and contemporary art, my husband and artists Morgan Griffith(Sonomano) was co-exhibiting with his middle brother, tutor and artist Ioan Griffith. We were living in East London at the time and to find out that there was a contemporary gallery for young and emerging artists in North Wales was inspiring and imperative for the contemporary art scene there. At that point in time I never thought I would one day work and run their second gallery space Bocs Celf. Hence the long wait, finding new premises, writing up business plans, applying for funds all took roughly 2 years and then I co-run and organised the gallery for 16 months.

I am extremely grateful that I had to wait these long years (which didn’t truthfully feel long at all when you have a baby, then becomes a toddler and now a 4 year old child). I feel grateful because my own practice has developed in leaps and bounds since I first returned to North Wales. In the summer of 201I when we returned back to live here I had my first solo show, a small affair in the upstairs art space of a small local art material shop. It was a fundamental turning point in my practice, as well as 6 months later when I exhibited a piece in Wunderlust 11.  A group exhibition curated and organised by curator Jess Matthews and exhibited in what was tactileBOSCH, Cardiff as part of International Women’s Day and Women’s Art Association celebrations. It was fundamental because I knew I had started to create new artworks that would leave this way of working behind; these exhibitions were to degree homage to that practice. A great big invisible underline and tick for me to continue down another route of self-expression, still using similar materials and topics but in another diverse way of channelling ideas.

Nearly three years on and I am still channelling, experimenting, expressing, exploring and playing with my new found language. I am reinstating old methods and regenerating old unseen artworks and photography from my University years at Cardiff. I recognise I have completed a full circle of 5 years to only come back and revisit materials like wax, clay, and varnish that I continuously used in my second year in the sculpture department.

Collaborations and co-working is a new language I am also dealing with amongst the preparations for the exhibition. I have invited six female artists/makers to collaborate with myself in the hope of creating a new piece of work for the exhibition. With the collaboration it works in many diverse methods and isn’t structured by any rules or briefs and may continue to co-work beyond the exhibition opening. The seven female artists/makers are Catrin Menai (Ynys Mon), Jo Marsh (Wrecsam), Cathryn Griffith (Abergele), Sian Green (Caernarfon), Gemma Lowe (London) Wendy Couling (Llandudno) and Laura Cameron (Caernarfon).

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