Exhibition-Résumé-The Signifier-Six Shot Gallery

I am delighted to have been offered to exhibit six of my newest works for the online art magazine The Signifier in the Six Shot Gallery project.

The exhibition Résumé will run from the 1st to the 31st of October and will be available to see by clicking here

Following the outbreak of Covid 19 I started to respond to the situation. In autumn 2020 I began a series of watercolours in a book made of Khadi paper. The book took me to a space of expression on the consequences of Covid-19, on personal lives as well as on economic outcomes.

There was and still is a sort of contradiction between blunt statistics, sheer facts, numbers of deaths, the state of the economy, the loss of the known, the routine and the organic side of things. The virus is part of life, and life isn’t always about beauty and miracles, it is also about destroying, colonisation of cells, invasion.

To illustrate that contradiction I chose watercolour for its organic feel, contrasted with texts illustrating the cold facts we now hear every day of our lives, about the changes, the losses, the restrictions.

Eventually I made 40 individual works on the subject, from which these six are an extract.

Last Saturday

After managing to attach each double sided painting to several trees, my first observation was that the works seemed to be swallowed in the vastness of the woods. It seemed that however big one thinks a work is, nature transforms it into a detail.

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Now I had only to wait and see if my plans would work. Although the wind sometimes moved the paintings too much for my taste, I managed to secure them by tightening the string.

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It was a very successful day, despite the bad weather, and the advantages of exhibiting in the woods were many. Because most of us stayed on-site during the day, we could have direct feedback from the visitors, but I also started to notice that people (children and adults alike) couldn’t help interacting with the paintings by pushing them with their index fingers, making them turn a bit more rapidly.
It taught me a lot about the nature of a painting when it is presented as a 3D installation, and I enjoyed the interaction people got with each piece.
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I managed to film some of my paintings in motion, which I have put on the
Video section under the Work tab.

Nearly there

Getting close to the 30th and the Ogwen River Festival. All of the 5 double-sided paintings are done and ready to be displayed. I hope the weather won’t be too bad on the day and that my installation won’t blow away with the wind!

What have we done to our woods? 3 (A side)

The temptation would be to flip each painting to reveal a more recognisable image, but all of the paintings have actually been painted the way they’ll be displayed. My goal was to play with the shapes and try to focus on them, and to introduce to the woods a focal point that would act like a moving sculpture attracting the eye to these spots.

What have we done to our woods? 4 (A side)

What have we done to our woods? 5 (A side)

More photos to come when the work is installed in the woods.

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Gŵyl Afon Ogwen River Festival

I am taking part in the Gŵyl Afon Ogwen River Festival, which is in Bethesda and will take place on 29 September. I chose to apply my work on abstracts inspired by rural and urban landscapes (on a series of small canvases in my last exhibition) to the woods of Bethesda. The woods of course also include the Ogwen river.

I decided to make five installations of paintings, which will hang from several trees in Parc Meurig. Each work will have two paintings, one on each side of the board, transforming them into 3D objects. So far I have made two paintings, which I found when finished had a Pop Art feel to them with their flat colours and thick black outlines. They reminded me of Patrick Caulfield or Roy Lichtenstein. This was not entirely intentional; my idea is to reduce the complexity of an ecosystem such as the woods and the river to lines and colours, to have a bold sense of rhythm and dynamic without too many details. The intention is also for the works to be seen from a distance and to play with several shades of green.

Initial sketches

Graduation

So I finally graduated in June with a Fine Art Degree and received a First Class honours classification, and I feel that all the hard work has paid off.

I will be adding the work that was presented in the Degree show exhibition, including all the paintings, the prints, the miniature canvas part of an installation on the floor and a short film. So far the paintings and prints can all be found in the “Work” section of the website.

Here are also some more photos of the exhibition.

Noise of our Time

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I have been working for the last few weeks to prepare for the degree show. There were prints to mount, glass to replace in the frames, working on the last painting and battling with the hot weather that started to play tricks on the wet paper, which meant more paper to stretch for it to be ready for the big day.

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Mounting prints

We had three days to prepare the exhibition and take decisions, and, despite some last minute changes and the weather being even hotter, we made it.

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Andrew and me

The exhibition opened on 25 May. I think we were all relieved that the hard work was over.

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About my work in the exhibition

For the past four years, my work has focused on mental illness, and more specifically schizophrenia, after the loss of somebody very close to me who suffered from it. The heart of the work attempts to describe the negative symptoms of the illness:

“Negative symptoms of schizophrenia are so called because they describe thoughts or behaviour that the person used to have before they became ill but now no longer have or have to a lesser extent and so have been lost or taken away from their psyche. It describes normal aspects of the person’s behaviour that they no longer have. Negative symptoms can include lethargy and apathy. […]
Anhedonia (one of eight negative symptoms):
This describes an inability to experience pleasure. People with schizophrenia who experience this often describe life as being grey or empty, devoid of the normal emotional ups and downs that we all take for granted. Others have described it as feeling empty or hollow.” (1)

I chose to represent this particular aspect of the condition by portraying images of cold, still, deserted and atmospheric landscapes, mainly in black and white. Some of the images were taken by the ill person, others by myself, and I interpreted this material through the media of painting, printing and photography. My practice expresses my thoughts, intuition, experience and research into the subject and is a representation of what lives within and is never seen.
Young Minds, Mind and Rethink Mental Illness are the three main organisations I have worked with in the past. Their work has been a great resource and inspiration, adding to my personal knowledge of the subject.
Much of the pictorial material in my recent work is drawn from photographs, and in this way takes inspiration from the works of the painters Peter Doig, especially his 1990s work at the time of Swamped, when his work was at its most eerie and gloomy; Gerhard Richter, for his landscapes made in the late 1960s and the 15 pictures that formed the Baader-Meinhoff project in 1988; and Luc Tuymans, for his monochromatic representational scenes (more than his portraits), often inspired by photographs and films. On a conceptual level, Mary Kelly’s work Post-Partum (1973-79), which is about femininity and motherhood, recording the progress of her child, was a great inspiration to my own work.

(1) (LIVING WITH SCHIZOPHRENIA, 2017. Negative Symptoms of Schizophrenia: Understanding Them [WWW] https://www.livingwithschizophreniauk.org/advice-sheets/negative-symptoms-understanding/)

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The exhibition remains open 11 am to 5 pm until Saturday 3 June.

Photos © Kerry Swatridge, Alice Swatridge and Jess Hill

Degree exhibition

I am approaching the end of my part-time Fine Art degree at Bangor University and preparing for the degree show at the White Box in Pontio, Bangor. There is a private view at 6 pm on Thursday 25 May, and the exhibition is then open 11 am to 5 pm until Saturday 3 June. Anyone in the area, please do come!

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