Hywel Edwards

9 January // Ionawr – 17 February // Chwefror 2017

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Hywel Edwards recently graduated with an MA from Trinity St Davids in Carmarthen where he is based.

Talking about the opportunity to exhibit at the gallery Hywel says:

“I was mindful that it was January and I felt that we need a different response after the dismal year just gone; a new optimism as people make their new year resolutions.

As source material I relied on an old book of proverbs and selected ‘Eang yw’r byd i bawb’, primarily as in the Welsh version it is egalitarian in tone. With that egalitarian tone comes individual hope. Last year held numerous negative headlines and I hope this, in its way, counters them. I settled on the proverb immediately knowing it would be seen by walkers, cyclists and passing passengers when there’s a desire for change in the air.

Issues like migration and boundaries were dealt with many times last year. Hopefully this year will be far more peaceful, though the year is still in its infancy.

Recently I’ve been re-investigating lettering after studying Graphic Design and being interested in Art for many years.

Artists I’m influenced by; Ed Ruscha, Barbara Kruger, Mari Lloyd Jones and Iwan Bala.”

Hywel recently exhibited in an online exhibition, 404error.gallery, curated by Matthew Britton and Brett O’Connor.

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Louise Bird

21 November // Tachwedd 2016 – 6 January // Ionawr 2017

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Fluoroptimism

Fluoroptimism` is a site and light specific mixed textile piece .

“The ambient light that illuminates the side of Blossom Cottage and shines into The Oriel Blodau Bach Gallery can change greatly throughout an ordinary winters day. I wanted to use that light as one of the materials in a piece made especially for that wall at this time of year.

The fluorescent chemical dye colours used in the assorted textiles in `Fluoroptimism`, absorb light and then reflect it out in a longer wavelength. The spectrum of colour that we see in these reflections depends on the time of day, becoming most luminous at dawn or in the twilight, when light wave lengths are longest. Something to light up a dull evening.

`Day glo` colours were also omnipresent in the mid 1990`s `Free Party` culture which was active in the local Welsh countryside. I feel that what we need now, as in those days of social turmoil and political uncertainty is a bit of optimism, and to allow ourselves time to frivolously enjoy our lives. I hope that on a grey day cars that drive past Oriel Blodau Bach Gallery will catch a flash of glowing optimistic colour.”

Louise Bird

November 2016

Kathryn Campbell Dodd

3 October // Hydref – 18 November // Tachwedd 2016

Shelf // Silff

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For her second exhibition at Oriel Blodau Bach, Kathryn Campbell Dodd is making an ongoing artwork that will change and develop over a six week period.

Currently working on a research and development project with Carmarthenshire County Museum in Abergwili, Kathryn has selected items from the museum collection that were originally sourced from the Pencader area of Carmarthenshire.

Using museum documentation, images and found material she will present her responses to the objects and the museum records and processes.

Shelf // Silff is funded by the Arts Council of Wales

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Christopher M. Hight – The Ruin

Christopher M. Hight

22 August // Awst – 30 September // Medi 2016

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The latest exhibition at Oriel Blodau Bach is by Carmarthenshire photographer, Christopher M. Hight.

He says of his work: “I am based in West Wales and my inspiration comes from the local landscape, its nature, history, mythology and culture, with which I feel such a deep connection that I feel I could live nowhere else, though I have tried. It is an ever changing and evolving landscape, sculptured for better or worse by us the people who inhabit it make our living from it and gain our pleasure within it.

For me Black and white enables me to capture not only the vista before me but also the emotion and sense of a place not just at the moment of pressing the shutter, and will enable you to share that emotion and sense of place long after you have enjoyed the photograph.”

Responding to the original function of the gallery as a noticeboard, Hight has produced a series of postcard size images from his ‘The Ruin’ series of works. The images focus upon the ruined St Michael’s church at Llanfihangel Abercywyn, Carmarthenshire.Medieval in origin, the church has six gravestones, refered to locally as ‘Pilgrims’ Graves’ in the churchyard, to the south side of the church.

The Ruin
Wondrous is this masonry; shattered by fate
broken is the city; labors of giants crumble.
Fallen roofs, ruined towers,
rime-frosted mortar,
the mutilated roof collapsed,
undermined by old age. Earth’s embrace has
the deceased master builders,
the harsh grip of the ground, until a hundred generations
of people departed.
The Ruin from the Exeter Book 10th Century

Nazma Botanica

Nazma Botanica

11 July // Gorffennaf – 19 August 2016

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The latest exhibition at Oriel Blodau Bach is by Swansea based artist, Nazma Botanica.

We’re delighted to be showing two works from Nazma’s recent series of collages from a project called Eco Warriors. The portraits are created using found images alongside the artist’s photographs on canvas.

Nazma says of the work: “I started creating this body of work two years ago after falling ill suffering from panic attacks, anxiety and depression, with fear acting as a dominant force. Using collage to create anthropomorphic beings – half animal half human – I brought out the monsters of my childhood, the process has been a cathartic and empowering. Some of these monsters started to grow into warriors, with positive feelings of renewal and hope.

Eco Warriors is about caring for nature, for each other and believing in oneself. Being creative everyday is essential to our well-being and discussion supports a brighter future.”

The project asks questions of the viewer: What is an Eco Warrior? Do you know any Eco Warriors? Are you an Eco Warrior? How do you treat your environment every day? How do you treat the people around you? Do you treat animals the same way? What do you want to protect?

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George Manson: The Leisure Book

George Manson

30 May // Mai – 8 July // Gorffennaf 2016

The latest exhibition at Oriel Blodau Bach is by George Manson – The Leisure Book . The Greatest Hits . Oriel Blodau Bach Edition 2016.

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“I’m excited to be showing my art at Oriel Blodau Bach. Here I am holdin it.”

Oriel Blodau Bach has been lucky enough this summer to be hosting the work of Cardiff based artist George Manson. George used the opportunity to create a best of edition of his Leisure Book series in which he combines drawings and short stories. The work has its roots in a love of the absurd and the silly and Manson’s stories range through an alternate universe of lovable and deranged characters.

The news sheet style piece was different to any of the work we’ve had so far and took the idea of the gallery which is an ex notice board in a small village in west Wales and turned it on its head. Using the space which would once have housed local notices and information instead as a mouthpiece for the artist’s own bulletin style notices of the unusual and the wonderful was a great juxtaposition of the strange with the potentially mundane setting of the village noticeboard.

You can find out more about George at his website georgemanson.co

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Sam Vicary

 

Sam Vicary

18 April // Ebrill – 27 May // Mai 2016

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Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature – the assurance that dawn comes after night and spring after winter.

Rachel Larson, Silent Spring

“A walk in the aftermath of a storm at the beginning of this year confirmed that the lanes and bridal ways around Oriel Blodau Bach are wild and un-kept. They already showed signs of Spring even in the wettest, coldest weather and the promise of renewal.

For me making new work is about showing the ‘struggle’. I leave behind the physical process of drawing, continually over-painting and rejecting marks and colours for the sake of the form. Painting is about finding the correct balance, enjoying the subtlety of the relationship between form and surface. Revealing just enough of the intended.

Framing the smallest patches of land and sky, I realised my expectations of regeneration were replaced with a sense of loss and detachment. I noticed changes in the landscape and a much quieter dawn chorus. Flooding and high winds had felled great trees and paths had been washed away. Instead I saw hedges and trees cleared to make way for fresh tarmac and last year’s patches of flowers had gone. Those spaces reflecting the times and people I have lost in just one year.”

Sam Vicary lives and works in Cardigan, west Wales.

Sam Vicary

Oriel Blodau Bach’s current exhibition features four small paintings by Cardigan based artist Sam Vicary.

Vicary has come back to her practice in recent years after a long hiatus from creating work and her lightness of touch and sensitive eye have made it a return worth waiting for. Using the natural world around her as inspiration she creates works which take snap shots of the countryside.

These abstract compositions are meditative in nature – rather than trying to convey a place with broad brushstrokes and landscapes the paintings take a small square of the world and bring it in to focus. The paintings that Vicary has created for Oriel Blodau Bach explore the budding first emergence of spring in its fresh newness as well as in its darker moments. Vicary brings to life the feeling of winter light still falling on the first green moments of spring.

The four small pieces each find form in the natural world with branches and leaves creating abstract shapes. The artist uses the narrow focus of the pieces to offer a microcosm on the world and a moment of reflection. The first few tendrils of green in a new spring can be signs of hope and renewal in a new year but they also lend starkness to the dark around them and in so doing make it more profound.

The paintings make perfect sense placed in the village of New Inn. Bringing a small patch of the green all around it in to the heart of the village puts a different focus on it – the landscape is no longer the back drop to what’s going on but at the heart of things.

Kirsten Hinks

June 2016