When I Woke / Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre, Cwmbrân, Wales, UK
October 6 - November 18, 2012
When I Woke – an exploration of the human condition curated by Claire Curneen and Lowri Davies.
When Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre invited celebrated ceramicists Claire Curneen and Lowri Davies to curate an exhibition as part of the centre’s “Makers to Creators” series both artists relished the opportunity to expand their artistic horizons and provide a completely different perspective to their practice.
Inspired by Dylan Thomas’ poem ‘When I Woke’, the exhibition is full of questions about life, death and change. Each of the exhibitors examine the gritty questions which surround the human dilemma. The body and the figure are central to these artists and the exhibitors explore issues in relation to beauty, the visceral body, myth, folklore and tradition. The subject matter is complex and in very different ways they strive in search for something hidden or lost.
Artists: Tamsin van Essen, Sam Bakewell, James Page, Lina Peterson, Audrius Janusonis, Sophie Woodrow.
Tamsin van Essen explores the cultural obsessions with perfection and beauty. There is a tactile beauty in the objects surface and form yet they talk about the visceral decaying body which leaves us somewhat unsettled.
The visceral is also evident in Sam Bakewell and James Page’s work. Bakewell uses solid masses of clay to suggest the body, the objects are dense and immediately physical. These objects are not static forms, they are in a state of flux and are bursting with life.
James Page asks us to reassess our perception of our own bodies. His work is a celebration of the physical nature of the human body with an affirmation of our earthly connection.
Lina Peterson is a jeweller that tells a human story. Her work has a sense of the ritual, in some instances drawing inspiration from Roman artifacts. Peterson response to ancient artifacts is to ‘fill the gap’ and to put back what is missing, in turn creating a new and original narrative.
Audrius Janusonis and Sophie Woodrow use traditional figurative modes of practice. They explore a sense of place, often mythical and sometimes untangible. Janusonis is Lithuanian whose work is known across Europe but has never before been shown in UK. His figures have a strong allegorical message often referencing the texts of Ovid’s Metamorphoses. His understanding of the human form is extraordinary.
Sophie Woodrow entices us in to a strange world where the relationship between animal and human are blurred. Her figures stare out at us revealing some sinister folk story. They are reminisent of staffordshire flatbacks, domestic in scale yet subversive in nature.