Private View : Thursday 7 June, 6.30 - 8.30pm
The Exhibition continues until Saturday 9 June, and is open Thursday - Saturday 10.30 - 5.30pm
elysium gallery is pleased to announce that they will be once again exhibiting (in association with Poetry Jamboree), in Hay-on-Wye during the annual Hay Festival of Literature.
elysium gallery has commissioned Anne Price-Owen to curate a site responsive show which features work from the Wales based artists Tim Davies, Craig Wood Jacob Whittaker, Nervous Energy and the poet John Powell Ward.
“From Purgatory to Paradise in the Salem Chapel culminates in a dynamic interplay between the artists’ interventions which accumulate significance in relation to one another. The exhibition’s theme is entirely congruous with the nature of the artworks in terms of the space, connotations and limitations of the fabric of the building. This complementarity is the crux of the installation: colours, materials and concepts share a contemporary dialogue, that reflects our fears of, and hopes for, the future - whatever, and wherever that might be.
Given my abiding passion for text and image, I felt especially complimented when the invitation was offered to curate an exhibition for elysium gallery, during the Hay Literary FestivaI. The loose association that exists between elysium and Poetry Jamboree was a gift for including a text piece by appropriating John Powell Ward’s Concrete Poetry into the Chapel, thereby creating a concrete link between the Image and the Word.” Anne Price-Owen
Tim Davies, originally from Pembrokeshire, lives and works in Swansea. Working in a range of media, including installation, sculpture, performative video and two-dimensional processes, his work is held in several public collections, including the Arts Council Collection, London, the British Council, the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff and the Glynn Vivian Gallery, Swansea. He won the Mostyn Open prize in 1999, the Gold Medal at the National Eisteddfod in 2003 and was the only European artist shortlisted for the inaugural Artes Mundi visual arts prize in 2004. In 2011 he represented Wales at the Venice Biennale of Art.
Davies will exhibit his DVD, Wreathmaker II(2006), in the Chapel vestry. The natural flowers and plants that the wreathmaker selects contrast sharply with the array of artificial and plastic flowers that are normally displayed in this domesticated space. To compound the residual irony of the installation, the small window overlooks a tiny, overgrown wilderness of a garden, and this entreats further dichotomies with the ordered arrangements of the blooms in the vestry, and the weeds and tangles outside its protected space.
Wreathmaker is the second in a series originally conceived for an exhibition at the National Botanic Garden of Wales. Davies chose to respond to the display dedicated to the Physicians of Myddfai. He was interested in playing a counterpoint between the Physicians’ research into the healing properties of local flora and that of the symbolic use of flowers at a time of loss. The film is a real-time document of a usually hidden process.
Craig Wood is an internationally acclaimed artist who is constantly experimenting with materials and techniques in response to the site/gallery conditions where his work, entitled No Place, will be installed in the alcove on the north side of the chapel. Wood explains:
“Utopia is a term invented by Sir Thomas More as a title for his book of 1516; consisting of the Greek term 'ou' - meaning 'not' and 'topos'- meaning 'place', literally No Place.
The work is inspired by the many Victorian bell jars situated on grave plots within the grounds of Strata Florida in mid Wales. There, as in many graveyards, they contain arrangements of porcelain flowers, along with doves, clasped hands, crosses and other Christian symbols. Some are maintained in pristine condition, but others are strangely poignant through their varying degrees of disintegration or neglect. These tiny ruins reveal the waning memory of a loved one and the diminution of a once powerful belief system.
My contribution to the Hay exhibition is the creation of a new ‘bell jar’ containing bone china flowers, inspired by the Victorian originals, along with a variety of more contemporary objects. Collectively, this arrangement refers to a broad range of utopian projects, from the on-site religious, through to the scientific, the political, the architectural and the consumerist.
Thus, the contents reflect our evolving values and our shifting, arguably stalled, quest for the ideal. Undeniably nostalgic, the work also references the futuristic aesthetic of space stations or the Eden Project. The jar protects and nurtures these cultures within a tiny, fragile eco system. Although bone china may allude to our mortality and the death of Utopia, the work also commemorates idealistic thinking and suggests that their No Place may lie in the future.”
Jacob Whittaker, a video artist who seeks to impress the work’s processes on the spectator
as well as the connotations that the images engender in the viewer, will exhibit Proses y Pererin Teithio’r Bargod/ The Pilgrim’s Process(2011), on the chapel’s east wall above the inscription ‘God is Love’. The slow rhythm of the ‘pilgrim’s’ steps as he wades through the river Bargod, together with the swishing sounds of the fast flowing water as it eddies and tumbles over stones, resonate a sense of tranquillity and a meditative ethos. But the hardship he endures may also elicit fond memories that are often tinged with loss and a sense of grief.
Nervous Energy is a group of 4 women who collaborate on themes that interrogate ‘wo’mankind’s position in the world in the 21st Century by drawing attention to the (r)evolution of the f(eminine) world ) during the last 5 decades. They will exhibit two pieces. The first, a site-specific piece Fall (2012) - made for this chapel), will complement the River Bargod in Whittaker’s video installation. The flowing fabric engenders perceptions of purity, virginity, the bridal veil, healing & an individual’s life journey until the end.
Nervous Energy’s other piece, Four Queens (2011) is to be situated outside the chapel in the small cemetery.
Four Queens, overtly feminine, celebrates the female form and was originally contextualized within the architectural space of a former Victorian laundry. It is constructed from ordinary household sheets into an impossibly proportioned corset. The concept is that this echoes the constraints of women throughout the ages, whilst addressing the dilemma of the modern woman’s personal shape and identity within today’s still male-dominated society, particularly as portrayed in the media. The corset will surround the only tomb in the graveyard protected by railings.
It is hoped that the incongruously situated corset will attract the attention of visitors to the Hay Festival and encourage the intrigued literati to visit the exhibition whilst making reference to those who, in the main, tend to the graves of the departed.
The poet John Powell Ward will exhibit a portfolio of his concrete poetry entitled Poetry & Type, and will participate in the Hay Poetry Jamboree 2012. Poetry & Type has been shown previously at the Cardiff, Kent & Aldeburgh Literary Festivals.
Powell Ward is an Honorary Lecturer at Swansea University and lives in Suffolk and on Gower. His poetry has been extensively published and he is a critic and broadcaster.
elysium gallery is in partnership with Poetry Jamboree, who are holding a series of events
and readings in the venue next door to the Salem chapel.
elysium gallery, Swansea, established in 2007, is an artist-led organisation run by professional volunteers who share the same vision for artists working in all mediums in Wales and the rest of Britain.
elysium gallery promotes the work of emerging artists by providing a solid platform from which artists can anchor themselves and provide a comprehensive national and international network to increase their exposure.
elysium gallery strives to provide support for new artists and arts organizations, including educational establishments, as well as encouraging pride and participation in local visual and performing arts in an environment that encourages experimentation, freedom and appreciation in all creative practices. Its mission is to bridge the gap between emerging and established artists, whilst continuing to strengthen, promote and sustain the vibrant Welsh arts scene.
elysium gallery is now home to 13 artist studio spaces at 2 Mansel Street .
elysium gallery is run by directors Jonathan Powell, Sarah Williams, Ann Jordan and Daniel Staveley, and supported by a dedicated core of loyal volunteers.