The back story
With 2021 having been designated as the year of Wales in Germany I was keen for my hometown of Abergavenny to be part of this celebration. I spent much of 2021 curating a cultural exchange between the twinned towns of Abergavenny and Östringen. Unfortunately ongoing COVID-19 uncertainties both here and in Germany caused considerable project planning issues. In the end I decided to postpone the twinning aspect of the project, and concentrate purely on an exhibition by artists and makers from Abergavenny and it’s rural hinterland.
The Hibernation project is inspired by the time when the world when to sleep. The COVID pandemic starved both artists of the opportunity to exhibit their work and the public of opportunities to visit exhibitions. The aim of the project is to satisfy both groups, by firstly bringing together and developing a cohort of contemporary artists from Abergavenny, and then by curating an exhibition of work made during this period plus a series of artist-led workshops. The Hibernators exhibition will proudly celebrate Abergavenny and it’s sense of place, and showcase the breadth and quality of contemporary art made in and around the town.
My intention was always to base the project upon a core group of professional artists and makers based in Abergavenny. Possibly unknown to the general public, the artists would be as diverse as possible, of varying ages and working in different disciplines. They would represent a snapshot of contemporary art currently made in and around the town.
With a relatively small pool to choose from, I was aided by local arts organisations and able to select a fantastic group, working across the mediums of Photography, Painting, Sculpture, Drawing, Video, ceramics and mixed media: Catherine Baker Toril Brancher David Collyer Penny Hallas Lauren Heckler Ben Jones Clare Parry-Jones David Morgan-Davies Allison Neal Rachel Tudor-Best Daniel Williams Jessica Woodrow Catherine Wynne-Paton
The exhibition entitled Hibernators will take place at the Art Shop & Chapel in the centre of Abergavenny from June 4th to July 2nd 2022.
Whilst not directly about COVID19, the exhibition will feature work made either during the associated lockdowns or inspired by those periods, or new work made as a response to work made in those periods.
Opening up the exposure to art and offering the opportunity to be involved in creativity is an important aim of the Hibernation project. I believe this should be available to all, including those often marginalised by such events. Alongside the month-long exhibition a series of artist led workshops will be run with the Papillon Art Group and the Growing Space horticulture project. Where possible both groups have been workingwith those coping with mental health issues throughout the pandemic.
The work made in these workshops will be shown in the Red Square Community Window, Abergavenny from 2 June – 2 July to coincide with the main exhibition at the Art Shop & Chapel.
The Hibernation Project is generously support by the Welsh Arts Council.
‘I wander’ is the result of nine short walks made from my home in Abergavenny, Wales during the COVID-19 lockdown. The initial idea was to make a series of random walks that complied with the allowed one hour restricted exercise; to walk for thirty minutes: take a picture on a Fuji instant film camera then return home, recording the route on the Ordnance Survey mapping App.
I am not alone making work during lockdown, many others were/are trying to make sense of the ‘unprecedented’ times including the Stroud based group Walking the Land, who invited me to join their Sacred Space: two metre distancing project: 21 artists in lockdown respond to “social distancing” in their various ways. Using collage, they consider what they cherish around them, what they really miss, and how their experience during the pandemic might become a call for positive change.
After making a few walks I began to think about how I might make a piece of work using the photographs and mapping data I would accumulate. Using a grid to show all the photographs and maps seemed like a logical idea, and translated nicely into nine walks. But because I ended up taking more than one picture per walk I decided to make different pieces of work to show online and in a gallery setting.
The ‘I wander’ animation/slideshow is a moving collage that documents each walk, it shows the body of work as a whole. The ‘I wander’ grid of nine scanned and annotated instant film prints above is the first work made from individual elements intended for printing and exhibition.
For the past year myself and four other artist from BV studios in Bristol have been collaborating with artists from the city of Hannover in Germany. Inspired by the spirit of twinning the five of us enjoyed spending time and exhibiting with five German artists in Hannover last summer. Here’s a summary of the aims of the project written last year: http://davemd.co.uk/bristol-artist-exchange-program-baep-hannover/
Following a successful exhibition at the Turba Gallery in Hannover in July 2018 all ten artists come together again for a show at Centrespace Gallery, Bristol during March 2019. The work I will be showing is explored in this blog post: http://davemd.co.uk/responding-to-lyme-disease/ These works have no direct bearing on the relationship between Bristol and Hannover, more so to the concept behind the exhibition. This work is about the seen and unseen, where what you do see often hides a very different reality.
Artists: Marlene Bart, Sven-Julien Kanclerski, Catherine Knight, Robert Luzar, David Morgan-Davies, Ruth Piper, Jean D Sikiaridis, Alec Stevens, Conrad Veit, Rui Zhang.
8 – 17 March (Preview Friday eve)
6 Leonard Lane
Bristol BS1 1EA
The flyer I designed for the exhibition collages an image from Hannover with one from Bristol, both shot in woodlands in the respective cities. These seemingly ‘Wild’ places in each city have been landscaped and adapted for our leisure time. The images not only highlight the similarities between both cities and cultures rather than their differences but also emphasise that boundaries between wild and man-made, real and unreal are often blurred: Anderswo ist hier : Elsewhere is here
Elsewhere is here : Anderswo ist hier is the first exhibition to come out of the artist exchange between artists from Hannover and Bristol; the background to which I’ve written about here. Whilst aiming to challenge the assumption that engagements with others needn’t grow evermore distant, the project aims for a playful yet critical reflection on current times. In response to the cultural and artistic exchange around place, proximity, self and other 10 artists from the two cities present new work at the Turba Gallery in Linden, Hannover.
Alec Stevens (Sculpter) – https://www.alecstevens.co.uk
Catherine Knight (Painter) – http://www.catherineknight.com
Robert Luzar (Site-specific performance) – http://www.robertluzar.com
Ruth Piper (Painter/Curator) – http://ruthpiper.com
David Morgan-Davies (lens-based) – http://davemd.co.uk
Based at the Turba Gallery in the Linden district of Hannover
Conrad Veit(Film/Video installation)
Jean Sikiaridis (Performance / installation)
Marlene Bart (Print-Graphic scientific illustration)
Sven-Julien Kanclerski (Physical structures/installation)
Rui Zhang (Painter)
I’m currently working with a group of artists from BV studios (Alec Stevens, Catherine Knight, Robert Luzar and Ruth Piper) on an exciting artist exchange project with a group of artists from Hanover in Germany. The exchange marks the legacy of the 70th anniversary of the twinning between the cities of Bristol and Hannover. It was initiated by Alix Hughes, Bristol’s International Twinnings Officer and is supported by Bristol Hannover Council
The exchange will be the first of its kind during the 70 years of twinning between the two cities. In the current political climate we feel that now, more than ever, we need to celebrate the spirit of reconciliation; the links between the two cities and build connections for the future. During the course of 2018/19 the Bristol artists will make a trip to Hanover with the artists from Hanover making a reciprocal trip to Bristol. All artists involved will make new work to be exhibited at an exhibition in each city at the end of their respect visits.
Our working title for the project and both exhibitions is ‘Elsewhere is here : Anderswo is hier’, which will present a cultural and artistic exchange around place, proximity, self and other. The German “Anderswo is hier” and English “Elsewhere is here” act as loosely translated points of departure that respond to the European cultural legacy of Twinning – a programme encouraging certain cooperations and ongoing reconciliations between partner countries. This project focuses both on new and existing works (sculpture, performance, painting, photography and drawing) made in the artist’s home cities as well as work made during the artist exchange residencies. The works will engage with concepts and mediums such as landscape through photography and painting, space and identity using sculpture and installation, and events happening through performances and drawings made using internet streaming and video.
Watch this space..
Giclee print on aluminium, 66cm x 102cm
bless the weather i, ii, iii
Floating acrylic Giclee prints, framed
28cm x 28cm
F-Number showcases the work of photographers Alec Jackson, Charles Emerson, Dave Morgan-Davies, Emile Roberts, Nige’ Ollis, Marten Rostel, Michael Reeves, Milo Newman and Rachel Sokal. All are engaged in the most creative applications of the medium. F-Number aims to show a diverse spectrum of work, from instant candid moments to detailed, intricately arranged compositions.
9th – 30th March 2013
Private view – Friday 8th March at 6pm
The Grant Bradley Gallery
1 St Peters Court
Bristol BS3 4AQ
0117 9637 673
I spent some time this summer creating a mediascape for the Sweet History? project. The project run by the Architecture Centre in Bristol aims to make information about the heritage built environment of Bristol interesting and accessible to young people and lifelong learners. It explored the impact of the sugar and slave trade on the heritage built environment of Bristol, and enabled young people from the Archimedia group (Knowle West Media Centre) to create a host of digital media on the subject.
Using the young people’s audiovisual content as a starting point a website, a trail map and finally the mediascape have been built introducing 23 landmark buildings and houses linked to 18th century Bristol and the triangular trades of sugar, slaves and tobacco.
For information and downloads visit www.sweethistory.org
My friend artist Tony Eastman has been collecting tiger related memorabilia for many years. He shares his passion for all things tiger with anyone interested in tigers; collecting; art or purely having a curious mind. In the past he has shown his collection in his garden shed, complete with curator/guide in costume, but time was right to get with the 21st century. A web site has now been built, of which I had some input (mainly photographing the collection). The site tigermuseum.com does a great job of showcasing the collection and sharing Tony’s magpie like approach to collecting and enthusiasm for life in general.
To mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Isambard Kingdom Brunel funding was made available for various events to celebrate his life and work. Sculptor Tony Eastman and myself made a joint application to produce an artistic response to the hard engineering of Brunel’s work.
Through detailed research it became apparent that during Brunel’s lifetime equally important advances were being made though leaps in creativity in art, music and literature. With this in mind our focus shifted in the search for a medium that would allow us to express the achievements of Brunel and his peers in the fields of the arts as well as in industry and the sciences, and simultaneously create a unique series of contemporary artworks. The art works would deliver factual information in a visually exciting way and be seen as a celebration of Bristol’s industrial past and cultural present.
The solution was to combine contemporary images produced by Bristol artists with textual historical parallels or timelines, and to create four large banners covering specific date ranges and linked visually to Brunel’s work. The banners would work visually on an individual level but would be strengthened when displayed as a group. Our intention was for the banners to be viewed by the general public in a busy Harbourside location with strong links to the City’s industrial past, popular with tourists and locals alike. Unfortunately our bid was unsuccessful.