Monday, August 7, 2017

A Darker Thread, Oriel Myrddin Gallery until 21st October 2017

I am delighted to announce that my latest curation project for Oriel Myrddin Gallery in Carmarthen, Wales is now open. Twelve artists are showcased and I'm honoured to have worked once again with photographer Toril Brancher and designer Heidi Baker to create a wonderful accompanying publication. Huge thank you as well to the inspirational Angela Maddock for her outstanding opening talk and publication essay.


L-R Alana Tyson, Llio James, Jayne Pierson, Philippa Lawrence

L-R Rhiannon Williams, Sally-Ann Parker, Laura Thomas

L-R Laura Thomas, Eleri Mills, Ruth Harries

Foreground: Ruth Harries
Background (on wall) L-R: Rozanne Hawksley, Philippa Lawrence, Spike Dennis

Foreground: Jayne Pierson

Ruth Harries (background), Laura Thomas (foreground)

L-R Indre Eugenija Dunn, Rozanne Hawksley, Rhiannon Williams, Sally-Ann Parker

Sally-Ann Parker

L-R: Eleri Mills, Ruth Harries, Jayne Pierson, Spike Dennis

Below is the exhibition essay, outlining the curatorial concept for the exhibition:

The curatorial concept for this exhibition evolved instinctively: it felt right in these times of political upheaval and disquieting daily news stories. Whilst I can’t help but feel affected by the darker tone of the times, in counterbalance, I also try to seek out and celebrate examples of hope, optimism, kindness and peace. I hope this exhibition reflects on these oftentimes complicated responses to our contemporary experience.

It is also intended to highlight some of the outstanding work being made through the medium of thread and cloth, by artists living in or connected to Wales. No doubt this is informed in some part by our rich cultural heritage of making both utilitarian and decorative textiles to furnish our living spaces and envelope our bodies from birth to death.   

I selected work that demonstrated visual poetic eloquence, a mastery of medium and an absolute sensitivity to making and materials.  I wanted work that would stop you in your tracks: to meet your gaze head-on, to challenge you, question you, but also offer comfort, reflection and embrace.  Some of the work has a punk confrontational self-confidence, others, a gentle yet searing resilience.

There are broad-ranging themes informing the work: gender politics, feminism, empowerment, memory, language, loss.  There are references to landscape, both internal and external and how we occupy it, or how it occupies us.  The recurring circle motif present in several of the artworks was possibly subconsciously sought out, due to its universal symbolism of eternity, the infinite, wholeness, totality, self and the cycle of life.  Its gentle shape has no awkward sharp corners; it flows infinitely, focuses the eye, draws us in, then acts as a full-stop to make us, pause and draw breath.

Some of these curious, provocative, intense, fragile works might feel comfortably familiar through their materiality or typically ‘Welsh’ colour palette of black, ecru and red; much hopefully, does not. There is a purposeful range of hard and soft materials across the exhibits to represent a juxtaposition of comfort and discomfort.  Sometimes a textile can soothe, but sometimes it cannot.

To conclude, I must extend grateful thanks to all at Oriel Myrddin, firstly for the invitation to curate this exhibition and secondly for all their tireless support throughout the project.  Also, many thanks to Angela Maddock for her eloquent and poignant essay, Toril Brancher for her exquisite photography and Heidi Baker for her considered design of the exhibition publication.  Lastly, I’m hugely grateful to all the artists for so willingly and generously contributing work to this exhibition.

Eleri Mills

Indre Eugenija Dunn

Jayne Pierson in collaboration with Neale Howells

Laura Thomas

Laura Thomas

Llio James

Philippa Lawrence

Rhiannon Williams

Rozanne Hawksley

Ruth Harries

Sally-Ann Parker

Spike Dennis