20 May // Mai – 1 June // Mehefin 2018
After JF: Frippery for the Soul
This short exhibition introduces new work from the series After JF: Frippery for the Soul, an ongoing project of works on cardboard and fabrics which pay homage to the designer Josef Frank.
Josef Frank was born in Vienna in 1885 and emigrated to Sweden in 1933 to avoid Nazi persecution, later adopting Swedish citizenship. Originally trained and practicing as an architect in Vienna, Frank became the leading designer for the Stockholm design company Svenskt Tenn. He is probably best know for his bold, naturalistic and colourful textiles and furnishings.
Frank was deeply disquieted by the prevalent ideas of radical Modernism. He felt that the Modernist project had been hijacked by extremists who wanted to limit and define the movement by their own narrow terms of simplicity, purity and objectivity. In his essay Frippery for the Soul and Frippery as a Problem he argued that these utopian tenets of stern functionality simply did not respond to most people’s psychological needs.
He felt passionately that design should be driven by comfort, and that his designs might provide a sense of joyousness and exuberance against the stresses of everyday life. Although influenced by the designs of William Morris and the British Arts and Crafts movement, he also understood the inherent problems of that project as well as critiquing the homogenising tendencies of the machine-made, he said: “One can use everything that can be used” meaning that one should take from whatever is available both historically and technologically (a presciently Postmodern idea). Frank’s exuberant designs and ideas were later influential to Ingvar Kamprad who founded IKEA in 1965.
Kathryn Campbell Dodd
3 October // Hydref – 18 November // Tachwedd 2016
Shelf // Silff
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
Kathryn Campbell Dodd
19 September // Medi – 5 November // Tachwedd 2015
West Wales based artist Kathryn Campbell Dodd has created a new installation piece for Oriel Blodau Bach’s first ever exhibition. Still Life with Flowers is a site responsive art work exploring the ‘blodau’ or ‘flowers’ of the gallery’s name. The piece references the tradition of still life painting which still looms large in European cultural history.
Oriel Blodau Bach is a brand new gallery space which has been set up here in New Inn. We are delighted to have locally based artist Kathryn Campbell Dodd taking on the first solo exhibition at OBB.
Kathryn Campbell Dodd was raised in Carshalton in south London where she attended Epsom School of Art and Design and Roehampton Institute training in fine art and lettering. It was after moving to west Wales in 1995 that she really began her practice as a visual artist. After spending many years establishing a career as a successful and well-regarded painter Campbell Dodd took a u turn in her career switching her focus to video and installation art and she has not looked back since.
In recent years Campbell Dodd’s practice has moved away from the subjects of her earlier works in paint and often looks towards the domestic for inspiration. She is interested in the seen and the unseen and often uses covering or wrapping objects as a way of exploring their purpose and meaning.
The 2013 project Untitled saw the artist laboriously wrapping toast racks in white fabric. The objects once wrapped were placed together on a light box to create an eerie city of what seemed like tents or buildings. As the project moved to different galleries and events it grew with the final showing at Colony Cardigan 13 composed of at least thirty or so pieces forming a sprawling townscape of works.
Campbell Dodd’s work for Oriel Blodau Bach continues this practice of wrapping and covering objects. The piece is very much a site responsive work taking its inspiration from the village of New Inn where the gallery is set. There is a long tradition of the use of the word ‘blodau’ meaning blossom or flowers in welsh and Campbell Dodd has incorporated this in to her piece.
An array of small vases are covered and wrapped in flower-patterned fabric and placed on flower-patterned shelves in front of a flower-patterned background. The visual noise of the piece disrupts the eye asking the viewer to question the way we regard everyday objects and the meaning and cultural position of floral depictions in contemporary art. Have we reached a point where the flower is a kind of short hand symbol for a certain cultural idea or is the magnificence of nature still the ultimate muse?
Kathryn Campbell Dodd