The mountains resounded to the sounds of repetitive brass instruments calling to one another across this dramatic landscape. In a piece that explores the transitions and cycles that take place across the year on a hill farm such as Hafod y Llan at the foot of Snowdon. For the past three years Louise Ann Wilson has been observing the annual farming cycle. We were invited to take a remarkable journey on foot through installations and performances, inspired by this iconic location, its history and its people. The production is also supported by Migrations.

The last time such a gathering took place was with Gladstone and the route we took follows the Watkin Track that led many people up to hear the prime minister give his speech. (Interesting article here)

Along the way, as we were shepherded along the sometimes precarious path, we were able to see a number of art installations. We were in the first of many such groups and it felt as though our guide was quite anxious to set a good pace, so much so that we didn’t really have time to linger at many of the artworks, sites and live art performances on our way up. In fact, by the time we’d got to the more level ground I was quite exhausted.

The highlight, and in fact the most coherent bit of performance, or maybe I should say theatre, was in the slate mine nestling beneath Snowdon’s summit. Within the walls of a ruin a bed was placed. The actors gave a poignant and at times deeply moving account of the year in this remote Welsh speaking place where people and their animals’ lives are intertwined in an intimate and interdependent way. We came closer to understanding the term “cynefin”.

“I belong. Here. Now.
I have always known this,
I am. It is my place, cynefin.”
From Haf/Summer by Gillian Clarke

Another highlight was the band playing on the way down the mountain, as a flock of gathered sheep were brought in from the mountains and taken down to the safety (or maybe not) of the farm.

At over 4 hours the performance felt as though it was a little long, some of the art interventions were distracting and unnecessary, but over all it was a really enjoyable, if very tiring, day. The piece has been written by Gillian Clarke and her poetic sensibility pervaded the performance and was even physically transcribed onto the landscape. The acting was superb with standout performances from Meilir Rhys Williams, Ffion Dafis and Gwyn Vaughan Jones, but as often is the case with National Theatre of Wales I would have preferred a clearer narrative at times.

sounds

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More Than Honey

11Sep14

Originally posted on Lifeonthecutoff's Blog:

DSCN5512What better way to start or end one’s day than with a little dip into the honey pot, especially in September, which is National Honey Month?

During the harvesting season, I seek out vendors at local farmers markets and farm stands for jars of this liquid gold. It is said that consuming local honey has health benefits, especially for those with seasonal allergies. I don’t know how scientifically true this is, but, I do know that I don’t sneeze as much when I’ve had a wee tad of local honey on a regular basis.  I always find honey farmers are eager to talk about their honey and that this year they say their bees are producing more.

My gardening friends and I all agree, we are seeing more bees in our gardens. A good sign that leaves one hopeful, in a very tentative way.

I’m a romantic, at heart…

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Originally posted on Adrian Masters. Not the politics blog.:

Four photographs of Virginia Woolf by George Charles Beresford, 1902

Four photographs of Virginia Woolf by George Charles Beresford, 1902

If you’re remotely interested in Virginia Woolf, the National Portrait Gallery’s exhibition is both utterly fascinating because of the historical artefacts and images on display and worth experiencing for the quality of the art. I saw it in the summer but it’s on till the end of October so I’m hoping to make a return visit.

I’m already a fan so loved the frisson of looking at letters, photographs, children’s drawings, diary pages and books with a direct connection to Virginia, her family and friends.

Near the beginning of the exhibition are the four famous and haunting images of a young Virginia Stephen by George Beresford. Near the end are two heartbreaking letters written to her sister Vanessa and only found after she’d killed herself. I’ve read those awful words many times before:  ‘I am certain now that I am going mad…

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A while back I was asked to curate an exhibition for the cafe area at MOSTYN. Caffi Celf: Insight 2

Eleanor Brooks
Antonia Dewhurst
Morgan Griffith (Sonomano)
Sara-Jane Harper
Catrin Menai
Simon Proffitt
Alan Whitfield

All of the artists are part of Helfa Gelf, the month long artists’ open studios event in North Wales, which starts this weekend.

The idea behind the exhibition was that I wanted to find a group of work that explored the idea of place in some way using drawn, painted or graphic media. Eleanor Brooks’ work all features the hearth and fireplace which is the heart of her home near Beddgelert. This is the place of evenings and nights in the winter, where stories unfold and imaginings take place. It was a joy to install these works on one of the hottest days of the year, back in June. Toni Dewhurst’s work often references homesteads of one sort or another and I was really interested in her drawings of huts/sheds. We share a passion for corrugated tin. Morgan Griffith uses collage in a way that presents fresh perspectives on familiar objects or places. He plays with visual language to create works that are familiar and yet unsettling. Sara-Jane Harper uses drawing to map her surroundings. Her long drawings have a fluidity of line that I particularly like. Catrin Menai’s work is subtle and understated, there is untold narrative unfolding from within the beautiful images she creates. Simon Proffitt (Who will also be showing a major new work as part of Oriel Wrecsam Offsite at Undegun in Wrexham Town Centre this month) uses graphic design skills to portray a series of portraits which seem to explore the notion of whether a place is made up of those in it, or do people create the place, do we ‘belong’ somewhere or does somewhere ‘claim’ us. Alan Whitfield is a talented photographer and here he presents empty or abandoned spaces. All of the work has an element of unheimlich about it, the Freudian concept of an instance where something can be both familiar yet alien at the same time, resulting in a feeling of it being uncomfortably strange. I particularly like this in work. I like the duality of familiarity.

All of the work is for sale and available through Collectorplan

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http://www.fact.co.uk/projects/we-buy-white-albums.aspx

I went to visit Rutherford Chang’s We Buy White Albums the other day and loved it.. It looks like a record shop but they don’t sell records, they only buy the Beatles’ White Album. This was the ninth studio album by The band, released on 22 November 1968. It is a double album and has no graphics or text other than the band’s name embossed (and, on the early LP and CD releases, a serial number) on its plain white sleeve.

I like the fact that all these albums are coming together again as individuals, rather than as mass produced commodities. Each album is now different, carrying it’s own story, bringing together each individual’s personal history. It’s a poignant and beautiful piece of work.

http://rutherfordchang.com/white.html

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Something transient and transformative. A meditation on the Biennial itself?

At Central Library, next door to the Walker Art Gallery, Aiko Miyanaga, who was born in Kyoto, has been commissioned by the White Rainbow gallery to create Strata: slumbering on the shore, which is on show in the Picton Reading Room until September 21.

The 40-year-old is known for site-specific installations using materials like salt and naphthalene (an organic compound which is altered by temperature and humidity).

Her work includes a series of cast naphthalene objects encapsulated in resin such as keys and books.

Aiko Miyanaga
Strata: slumbering on the shore
3 July – 21 September 2014
Miyanaga is known for her site-specific installations: using ephemeral materials such as salt and naphthalene, her practice visualises transition. Transformation starts at the point the work is exposed to the air, physically dissolving, yet challenging the evanescence of the present. Through an array of media that may seem delicate – thin strings of crystallised salt, the sounds of ceramic glass cracking – Miyanaga contrasts material resilience with the flux condition of nature: her work becomes a microcosm of our being and surroundings.

White Rainbow is pleased to commission Aiko Miyanaga to create a new body of work for the Liverpool Central Library during the Liverpool Biennial 2014. Miyanaga is known for her site-specific installations: using ephemeral materials such as salt and naphthalene, her practice visualises transition. Transformation starts at the point the work is exposed to the air, physically dissolving, yet challenging the evanescence of the present. Through an array of media that may seem delicate – thin strings of crystallised salt, the sounds of ceramic glass cracking – Miyanaga contrasts material resilience with the flux condition of nature: her work becomes a microcosm of our being and surroundings. Miyanaga will produce a series of cast naphthalene objects encapsulated in resin. Keys and books are significant motifs recurring throughout her work, and she has collected many in the UK for this exhibition. Napthalene is a volatile compound which sublimates and re-solidifies to release itself from the resin. Naphthalene objects do not simply vanish, instead they are altered by the conditions of temperature and humidity, and ultimately replaced by the air in the gallery space, and even the breath of the visitors. Some of the pieces will have a limited airflow, holding them in a stable state as they lie dormant for their moments to be integrated into reading, whilst some will be allowed to sublimate. Bubbles are purposefully let into the resin, capturing the ‘atmosphere’ of the space in which the object was cast: each sculptural piece incorporates layers of time. Miyanaga’s perspective on the library is more than a collection of words, books or representation of history; she values hidden meanings and traces of thoughts. The exhibition incorporates the library’s historic magnifying glass, allowing the viewer to read through these strata of the present. Miyanaga’s work is one vestige of a larger whole, a stage in the continuous cycle of the elements – it is an apparatus which asks us to pause, to read between the lines and to wonder with serendipity.

Aiko Miyanaga (born in 1974 in Kyoto) graduated from Graduate School of Fine Arts, Tokyo University of the Arts in 2008 and is a Visiting Scholar at the University of Kyoto Art and Design. Her notable exhibitions include: Sapporo International Art Festival 2014, (Sapporo, 2014); House, Mizuma Art Gallery (Tokyo, 2013); Aiko Miyanaga: Nakasora – The reason for eternity, The National Museum of Art (Osaka, 2012); Beginning of the landscapes, Mizuma Art Gallery (Tokyo, 2011); Aichi Triennale 2010, Aichi Arts Center (Nagoya, 2010), Mirage of Water at Shiseido Art Egg (Tokyo, 2009). She received the grand prize of the Nissan Art Award 2013, Japan; The Gotoh Memorial Foundation Newcomer’s Art Prize; and The Creative Tradition Prize by Japan Arts Foundation, Japan, 2011; winner of the Best Young Artist Award by ShContemporary 09 – Discoveries, China. Liverpool Central Library and Archive provides a world-class service in a magnificent building located in the cultural quarter of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The historic sections of the building dating back to the 1860s have recently been extensively restored and fully opened to the public for the first time. The new-build sections include a dramatic atrium, high quality visitor facilities, access to extensive library and archive collections, free access to computers and wi-fi, a state-of-the-art repository for the archives and special collections which date back to the 13th century, and a conservation studio. White Rainbow is a gallery established as a platform for contemporary and postwar art from Japan. It shares work which is timeless yet of its time; addresses the local, yet is borderless in its relevance. Its ethos is to place the work in the context of its production, and to find counterpoint in its current setting. Through its programme of exhibitions, events and residencies, it hopes to deepen understanding and expand perceptions of Japanese art.
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Concretedog

13Jul14



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