29 August // Awst – 13 September // Medi 2017
Zara Kuchi was born in Cornwall and studied art at Carmarthenshire College of Arts and Technology going on to graduate from Falmouth College of Arts with First Class Honours in 2000. Kuchi is primarily an oil painter but also works in printmaking and watercolour.
Having travelled in South America and Europe and now raising two children in West Wales she draws together her experiences of life and visual culture in an on-going body of work. She is a long term member of the King Street Gallery artist’s co-operative in Carmarthen.
Starlings is part of a series of folk bird paintings originating in a homage to the ‘Love Birds’ of East European textiles and growing into a wider celebration of the symbolism of birds within art. Kuchi is currently working on a series of birds entitled ‘Peace in our Time’ echoing the use of the dove and the pigeon during the birth of the International Peace Conferences of post-War Europe.
10 July // Gorffennaf – 25 August // Awst 2017
A film about transformation
Gorse ~~ Meadowsweet ~~ Oak ~~ Broom
Bragu Blodeuwedd is a short experimental film which uses the flowers from the story of Blodeuwedd and follows their transformations through fermentation processes, evoking the spirit of Blodeuwedd through chemistry, colour and sound. For the duration of the exhibition, the film was available exclusively to Oriel Blodau Bach.
The work looks at brewing as a creative act, the recipe and process become a ritual, a conjouring.
Gorse, Oak and Meadowsweet wines blended in equal parts, add 3 drops of Broom infused spirit and place in a jar with a barn owl pellet.
The final infusion continues to change as the wines oxidise and the pellet breaks down.
Perhaps she is alive.
Ac yna y kymeryssant wy blodeu y deri, a blodeu y banadyl, a blodeu yr erwein, ac o’r rei hynny, asswynaw yr un uorwyn deccaf a thelediwaf a welas dyn eiroet. Acybedydyaw o’r bedyd a wneynt yna, a dodi Blodeued arnei.
Williams, Ivor, ed., Pedeir Keinc y Mabinogi, (Cardiff, University of Wales, 1951)
Bragu Blodeuwedd : Cerddoriaeth//music:
The soundtrack in the Bragu Blodeuwedd video was composed and performed by Deuair (Elsa Davies and Ceri Owen-Jones):
Description of Blodeuwedd from Llyfr Gwyn Rhydderch (c.1350, Parcrhydderch, Llangeitho) was entwined with chosen contemporaneous melodies (c.1320-80, Tyddewi diocese) whose words venerate female love and show honour with flower symbolism.
These words and tunes were included in an antiphonal made during the same period as the compiling of Llyfr Gwyn Rhydderch, intended for specific use in the Welsh liturgical calendar.
An arrangement of choral voices was transferred to Crwth, Telyn Wrachod, and Telyn Efydd, traditional instruments of poetic art in Wales with pre-Christian lineage.
The score was composed from these influences by playing with the shifting rhythms and tones of Jacob’s sound recordings of the brewing process and to his film images.
‘[…] blodeu y deri, a blodeu y banadyl a blodeu yr erwein.’
Flowers of Broom and Gorse. Mae telyn efydd yn canu ‘Sicut Lilium Inter Spinas’.
‘[…] nit oed gyueir arnei hi ny bei yn llawn oe garyat ef.’
Meadowsweet. Mae crwth yn canu ‘O Certe Precipuus Marie Magdalene Amor’.
‘Keisswn nineu ui a thi oc an hut an lledrith hudaw gwreic idaw ynteu or blodeu.’
Oak, strength and fuel. Mae telyn wrachod yn canu ‘Kaniad Yr Efail’, alaw o’r crynhoad cerddoriaeth canoloesol Cymreig.
Forged with magic and illusion, ‘Blodeuwedd’ appears while crwth enchants ‘Felix Maria Familiam Custodi’, ‘[…] hitheu a gymerth diruawr lywenyd yndi.’
Bragu Blodeuwedd was originally commissioned for Aberystwyth Storytelling Festival 2017.
Julie Ann Sheridan
15 May // Mai – 3 July // Gorffennaf 2017
Symbiosis : Lichens, small but critical
Symbiosis – A relationship between two types of animal or plant in which each provides for the other the conditions necessary for its continued existence.
Symbiosis in lichens is the mutually helpful symbiotic relationship of algae living among filaments of a fungus. Lichen is a combination of fungus and algae and as an entity has a very different form than the parts growing by themselves.
By cohabiting with the fungus, the algae can live in many different environments and extend its range significantly. The symbiotic nature and pattern of lichen illustrating these relationships serving as a metaphor for how we should live our lives by working together.
“This painting depicts Cladonia cristatella, commonly known as the British soldiers lichen, is a fruticose lichen belonging to the family Cladoniaceae. It’s a favourite of mine and served as the inspiration for my current body of work.”
These pieces are the beginning of a larger body of work currently being created by Julie Ann Sheridan in The Last Gallery Studio, Llangadog.
3 April // Ebrill – 12 May // Mai 2017
The Elephant in the Room
Oriel Blodau Bach are delighted to host a new piece of work by artist /activist project, Lonely Signpost.
“The elephant silhouette and its counterpart – the cut out shape which has been placed 30 metres north of the gallery on an empty signpost on the A485 – explores the notion that empty signposts ARE the ‘elephant in the room’, they are there in full plain sight, but ignored….no-one wants to talk about them….they are there, but not there…”
Lonely Signpost is an Art Intervention project devised to draw attention to empty and abandoned signposts in the UK.
20 February // Chwefror – 31 March // Mawrth 2017
The Sun Will Rise Again
“When I was invited to make piece for the old New Inn village noticboard I realised I could have fun with some offcuts of reflective signboard plastic from the County Council road sign dept; something cheerful to catch the light as we pass from winter to spring. I had a limited range of colours so the subject suggested itself.
Taking inspiration from Emil Nolde’s north German coastline work made during his Nazi imposed exile, when he had to use the only paint available to him: children’s poster colours; he created richly coloured streaky paintings of the sunsets and sunrises. I was also inspired by Klimt’s pupil Hundertwasser’s jewel-like images, and the striped watercolours made by Paul Klee. I used map pins to honour the tradition of noticeboards and the ephemeral nature of the information; the collage technique refers to the school that once existed in New Inn.
The title comes from Barack Obama’s last address as President of the USA before handing over to Donald Trump.
I’ve lived in Llanfihangel ar arth for over 30 years, having trained in fine art painting, initially in London in the 70s and then in Carmarthen School of Art in Job’s Well more recently.
Thankyou to Kathryn Campbell Dodd and Kirsten Hinks Knight for the opportunity.”
9 January // Ionawr – 17 February // Chwefror 2017
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.
21 November // Tachwedd 2016 – 6 January // Ionawr 2017
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.”
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
Christopher M. Hight
22 August // Awst – 30 September // Medi 2016
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.
Wondrous is this masonry; shattered by fate
broken is the city; labors of giants crumble.
Fallen roofs, ruined towers,
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
11 July // Gorffennaf – 19 August 2016
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?
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.
“I’m excited to be showing my art at Oriel Blodau Bach. Here I am holdin it.”
18 April // Ebrill – 27 May // Mai 2016
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.
Read more about the exhibition here
7 March // Mawrth – 16 April // Ebrill 2016
Artist Jonathan Anderson has made a new piece of work in his ‘Coal Dust Mandala’ series for Oriel Blodau Bach.
Using found materials and coal dust, these deceptively simple objects comment on environmental themes and thoughts about our current use of fossil fuels whilst simultaneously contemplating archetypal ideas about our spiritual condition.
“Mandalas and coal might equally be seen as power generators: one in the realm of the spirit and psyche, the other in the realm of human industry and technology. In our secular age a coal dust mandala might mediate a human desire for wholeness and reintegration in the continuum of the universe.”
Senior lecturer in History and Theory of Art at the Slade School of Fine Art
‘Coal Dust Mandala’ catalogue, Oriel Myrddin Gallery 2012
Read more about the exhibition here
25 January // Ionawr – 5 March // Mawrth 2016
Seren Stacey is a Llandysul artist who uses her observations of the natural world to create subtle interventions and site responsive works.
For Oriel Blodau Bach Stacey has created a colour chart of New Inn Village. Using walks around the village and a love of paint charts as her inspiration, the piece celebrates the small details of a place and the shifting moments of colour and beauty which you could drive past everyday and never notice. Each of the colours collected around the village has been given a name to create a comprehensive compendium of all of the colours of New Inn.
Read more about the exhibition here
15 December // Rhagfyr 2015 – 22 January // Ionawr 2016
Maya Mitten is an artist based in Newcastle Emlyn, Carmarthenshire. Working predominantly in collage, old books and magazines are her palette and the characters and places around her are the inspiration for the surreal landscapes for which she’s become noted. Maya is also known for her ‘portals’ such as The Magic Wardrobe, an installation piece which toured the UK and was voted one of the highlights of Green Man Festival by the BBC in 2013.
Maya is also well known for facilitating collage workshops in both the local community as well as in notable galleries such as the Saatchi Gallery in London.
Read more about the exhibition here
5 November // Tachwedd – 12 December // Rhagfyr 2015
Sound and video artist, Jacob Whittaker is based in Cardigan, west Wales and has undertaken many projects which utilise his vast collection of vinyl records. As a founding member of the Gwrando sonic art collective he created the Capeli project with sound artist, Lou Laurens over a six year period. The project visited chapels throughout west Wales performing and recording sound and visual explorations and encounters.
The piece he has made for Oriel Blodau Bach makes reference to minister and musician Ieuan Gwyllt who set up the periodic music journal ‘Blodau Cerdd (Flowers of Music)’ in 1852 with three friends which gave instruction on hymns and hymn tunes.
About Ieuan Gwyllt
Read more about the exhibition here
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.
Read more about the show here