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.
Not everyone’s aware that 2021 has been designated the year of Wales in Germany! https://www.wales.com/wales-in-germany-2021 with a series of events planned to take place in both countries.
Having moved back to Wales in 2019 I am keen for my new home town of Abergavenny to be part of this celebration. It’s not the ideal time during a pandemic to be thinking of such a thing! However in the spirit of friendship and post-Brexit collaboration I’m in the early stages of curating a cultural project between Abergavenny and it’s twin Östringen in Germany.
My high level plan is to curate an exhibition of contemporary art (painting, photography, mixed media & sculpture) by professional artists based in Abergavenny to be shown in Östringen in the Autumn/Winter 2021, and for the exhibition to return and be shown in Abergavenny in the spring 2022.
Watch this space..
Gallery at Home, Llancayo Court, Usk, Monmouthshire, Wales, NP15 1HY (nr Windmill)
Moving to Abergavenny in South Wales in the summer of 2019 gave me many opportunities to develop my practise. It was exciting therefore to recently have a solo exhibition at the fantastic Gallery at Home near Usk.
The exhibition was part retrospective featuring 25 photography and video works made in the last five years, as well as new works made since moving to Wales. For the first time I was able to show many of my more experimental collages as well as straightforward landscape documentary works.
Unfortunately the COVID-19 pandemic cast a bit of a shadow over the exhibition run, and limited the amount of people who could visit the gallery. Sonia at Gallery at Home however was very proactive on social media and made this lovely short film to share the show with a wider audience.
I recently became a member of Shutter Hub. They’re an organisation who provide opportunities, support and networking for creative photographers worldwide. I had become quite frustrated in applying to open submission exhibitions and photo festivals, mainly due to the level of administration, cost and rejections I’d received. Shutter Hub are like a breath of fresh air in that they’re not too expensive, provide loads of opportunities to exhibit and have a really open-minded creative ethos.
So far I have exhibited in the following exhibitions:
Home at Gallery at home, Usk – an exhibition supporting homelessness charities across the UK. The exhibition showcased donated images, with all profits donated directly to Crisis uk, Shelter Cymru and Toiletries Amnesty.
‘Across the Water’ (River Severn) represents home for me. Whether living in Wales or England the bridges across the river Severn have always had a big impact on me.
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..
utopia:dystopia is an ambitious series of exhibitions and events curated by Geoff Dunlop and Sophie Erin for Fringe Arts Bath during 2016. This creative initiative is inspired by the 500th anniversary of the publication of Utopia, Thomas More’s reflections on the idea of an ideal society. Since 1516, the year of Utopia’s release, the world has witnessed countless attempts to establish a perfectly ordered community, in reality as well as in print. Yet the frequent outcome of such ambitions has been the decay of Utopia into Dystopia. From no-place to bad-place. In modern times the two concepts seem inseparable.
I will be showing pieces from a new body of work ‘Cofio | Remember’. The work pays homage to the rallying cry of Welsh nationalism ‘Cofio Tryweryn’. This remembers the flooding of Twyweryn valley in 1965 to create a reservoir to provide water for the city of Liverpool.
Walking under electricity pylons in the Severn Estuary during a very foggy Autumn day, at times you could see no more than twenty metres in front of you. You could however hear the buzz of electricity. ‘Cofio | Remember’ re-imagines the purpose of the pylons, in that they are not in fact carrying electricity but instead transporting light, i.e. away from the area to somewhere else. It imagines a dystopian future when a communities light is taken from one area to provide light for another. With water becoming the new oil, whose to say light might not become the new water?
28 May until 12 June (10am – 6pm)
Walcot Gate, off Walcot Street
Bath BA1 5UG
I’m very happy to been showing a short film as part of the Of the Sea exhibition at the Historic Dockyard Chatham in Kent. The show contains lens based media, sculpture and performance art responding to the ‘freedom of the seas’ principle, which covers powerful topics such as conflict, ecology, territory, migration, piracy, border disputes and the ebb and flow of oceans.
My film ‘The Crossing’ is taken from a body of work made during a residency on Cape Cornwall in March 2013. The residency explored the relationship between the land, sea and sky, specifically the transitions between those elements. In ‘The Crossing’ the sea, horizon and sky have merged into one powerful mass.
The boat is almost lost, but not quite. Seemingly against the odds it makes headway. Quietly and steadily it traverses our field of vision, then starts all over again, it never tires. The film is about human endeavour; to battle with and harness the power of the sea. It slows the viewer down to the pace that the sea demands and requires he/she to see rather than look.
Of the Sea
5th May 5-9pm (Private view)
6 May until 24 July (daily)
The Historic Dockyard
Kent ME4 4TE
Artists Aksel Haagensen, Anoushka Haviden, Bruce Asbestos , Chris Alton , Daniela Zahlner, David Morgan-Davies, Fiona Townend, George Eksts , Greta Hauer, Guo – Liang Tan , Helen Barff , Jane Pitt , Jessica Ackerman , Kathleen Herbert , Louise Long, Lucy Andrews , Matt Gee , Rachel Thomson , Steph Goodger , Stephanie Grainger , Tamara Van San , Tom Davies, Jessica Sarah Rinland , Hania Ferrel, Magnus Maarbjerg, Matthew Krishanu , Sidonie Robert and Sonia Levy.
Selected by Adam Chodzko, Hannah Conroy, Kathleen Palmer, Victoria Pomery and Nicole Mollett
I am very pleased to be showing two pieces of work from my new ‘Life Before Colour’ series at the first Plymouth Contemporary Open exhibition.
As a starting point the Life Before Colour series uses my fathers and grandfathers colour slides of Cardiff from the 1950/60’s (Bute Park Nursery and Alexandra Gardens). The work reflects upon my own roots; photography as historical documents and cities as evolving landscapes.
Playing with the perception that history is often seen in Black & White, the works juxtapose prints of my forefathers slides sitting behind my own black & white images printed directly onto glass. These physical printed layers create a subtle optical tension between old and new; both in terms of the images and technologies used to create them.
Plymouth Contemporary Open
11 July – 29 August 2015
Peninsula Arts Gallery
1A Roland Levinsky Building
Devon PL4 8 AA
The full list of artists featuring in the exhibition is as follows: Bram Thomas Arnold, ATOI (Amy Thomas and Oliver Irvine), Dan Beard, Harriet Bowman, Jennifer Boyd and Alice May Williams, Jessie Brennan, Bristol Diving School, Chloe Brooks, Michael Cox, Tim Foxon, Naomi Frears, Laura Gower, Jane Hayes Greenwood, Will Kendrick, Samuel Levack, Jennifer Lewandowski, Cathy Lomax, Mateusz Marek, Pilar Mata Dupont, David Morgan-Davies, Ailbhe Ni’ Bhriain, Steven Paige, Sarah Poots, Michael Porter, Ruaidhri Ryan, and Paul Vivian.