Rhod - The urban/rural dialogue continues
31st May 2010
Contemporary art in the countryside, where the urban meets the rural.
Kathryn Ashill's nesting performance on the duck island. The only approach was via a rickety bridge signposted with the warning that this brooding bird could be dangerous if disturbed while on her nest.
Kathryn nesting and protective of her charge, over 100 eggs.
Erin Rickard's 'Den' complete with toy binoculars. In the den you can feast on chocolate bars. As a child Erin was told by her father that an owl brought children cream eggs. Through the binoculars you can look up from the den to where Erin has also constructed a nesting box for the owl and written the story on its surface.
Maya Bryden 'So Long and Thanks for All The Fish'.
Kathryn Campbell Dodd, 'Shelter'. Installed in woods, beside a pond, nestling amongst disused chicken and duck houses. Kathryn stopped painting as part of her practice about 6 years ago, and the old work sits in the corner of her studio. She used to say that "At least, if I become homeless I can bang them together to make a shelter!" So that is what Kathryn has done. 6 feet by 4 feet, the structure incorporates abandoned bits and pieces from the place where she lives in the hills of West Wales. "After I made the piece I slept in it for three nights to see what would happen; it was so conducive I slept like a babe".
Good Cop Bad Cop
Sara Rees, Gathering 1,2&3
Penny Jones' 'Homage to Rafael Lozano Hemmer'. A reference to the abandoned project to site the Mexican artists work 'Turbulence' in the River Teifi in Cardigan. The Channel 4 project to bring artists with international reputation and respect into communities to create works of public art met with growing local hostility. Hemmer had proposed to site glowing floating balls in the Teifi that would recite poetry and interact with people on the riverside. As concerns about the impact on otters, on fishing and on navigation of the river were dismissed by independent consultation the opposition to the project began to get personal and offensive towards the artist and the parochial hostility eventually won out.
This work at Rhod is also interactive. Messages are written on the balls before the participants place them in the river.
Penny's balls are designed to biodegrade rapidly, but some might make it down this stream and into the Teifi - potentially reaching the site where 'Turbulence' had been proposed.
Sophie Wellan 'Gof / Memory'
In homeopathic remedies the 'active' ingredients are diluted in liquid. With this in mind Sophie Wellan has responded to this space, to this building in a sensitive and meaningful way.
As water drove the old corn mill and the corn mill was central to the community, there is a history, a relationship through time, potent with meaning, that these small glass vials filled with water from the river represent.
There is something very modern in an 'alternative' kind of way about using the homeopathic metaphor, there is a shamanic element too that a great deal of contemporary performance practice adheres to. It could so easily have gone wrong.
But it didn't. This work is relevant, beautiful and perfect for the space that it fills, both on a historical level and in its physical presence.
Dave Shepherd was not expecting rain.
Dave Shepherd, the mill's artist in residence daubed towells in white spirit and put a match to them, setting fire to the blue umbarellas. As Roger Lougher pointed out - "There's not much opportunity for artists to set fire to things or blow them up in the towns and cities. This rural arts space is a great opportunity for artists".
Some of the guests continued eating at the tables, as if they hadn't noticed the toxic fumes drifting through the trees. It looked like a picnic in hell!
Kathryn finally smoked off her eggs.
The nest at the end of the performance with the floral gifts of children woven into the structure of the nest itself by Kathryn as she sat on the eggs.
Also see -
Rhod 2 video
Kathryn Ashill profile
Good Cop Bad Cop profile
Ann Jordan profile
Erin Rickard profile
Sean Puleston profile
Rhod 2009 video
Erin Rickard ArtLog
Michelle collins ArtLog