The following short film documents the Hibernators exhibition curated by myself at the Art Shop in Abergavenny. It was produced by Catherine Wynne Paton and Finlay Mitchell.
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.
Over the past few years I have been caring for my daughter who has Lyme disease, who with hindsight started to become ill about ten years ago.The disease is caught by having an infected tick bite, usually carried by deer. It’s a horrible disease that attacks every system in the body, causing neurological and autonomic symptoms as well as problems with the immune system. Because everyone is different, we all have our weaknesses, therefore aside from general Chronic Fatigue each person has their own set of health issues to deal with. This means there is no set means of treating Lyme.
My own work comes from personal experiences of landscape, primarily in the UK. In response to my daughters ongoing battle with the disease I have been re-thinking how I see the places and elements that have a specific significance to her story.
Frustrated by lack of understanding and support from the medical establishment, my daughter embarked on a course of treatment at a private hospital in Hertfordshire. Whilst staying nearby I spent some time walking small sections of the The Ridgeway National Trail. This piece is made using an image taken close to Ivinghoe Beacon, collaged with the Borrelia bacteria photographed under a microscope. The virus is everywhere, yet unseen.
My daughter remembers being bitten by a tick in Ashton Court Estate whilst still at school. At that time we knew nothing about the dangers of tick bites or of Lyme disease. The piece collages the location where she was bitten, the Deer park nearby and again the Borrelia bacteria. That moment created a fissure in my daughters life and family life in general; a fissure that continues to widen.
I see you – Video (6 mins) (2017)
Using an Infrared (IR) camera the film captures the tentative and intimate nocturnal wanderings of wild deer, but also the voids where no deer were seen. I am torn between being in awe of the beauty and secrecy of these animals and feelings of anger at how unwittingly they spread such a dreadful disease.
The artworks I have made don’t aim to give any answers, as I have none, but merely to raise awareness of the hidden danger of Lyme. I will continue to add to the body of work as and when we hit milestones in the path of my daughters recovery.
For more information on Lyme disease, please visit the Lyme Disease UK website
‘hidden’: 40″ x 26″ Giclée print, aluminium dibond mounted, available as an edition of 7.
they cycle past – one of two short films shown.
The Searchers began as a ‘one year’ gallery project in Bristol promoting collectable contemporary art. We are now a roaming group of artists aiming to support and challenge each other in our individual practices, with studio visits, shared experiences and critical discussion. Our latest show includes painting, drawing, sculpture, photography & film. As well as new body of work ‘Hidden’; inspired by the camps & structures of Leigh Woods by myself (photography and short films) the exhibition features the work of Harriet Aston, Stephen Buckeridge, Tony Eastman, Michael Hayter, Stuart Low, Jitka Palmer and Ruth Piper. In addition we have commissioned Bristol art historian & writer, Lizzie Lloyd to write an accompanying text for the exhibition.
It was John Ford’s classic western ‘The Searchers’ that inspired our name. Obsessive and curious by nature artists travel alone, searching through unfamiliar territory, hoping for fresh insights & new configurations.
‘Shooting from the hip’
12-24 September 2014
Private view – Friday 12th September at 6pm
6 Leonard Lane
Bristol BS1 1EA
Tel: 07711 541 852
I spent a fantastic day a couple of months ago taking part in the Sounding the City workshop. The day organised by Nina Williams from the University of Bristol explored the use of field recording as a way of guiding and documenting an urban walk. Ten participants split into pairs then followed the same mapped route around the city centre. Each group was asked to make a sound recording at ten allotted locations.
The edited recordings are to be aired at the following exhibition at the Edwardian Cloakroom, Bristol:
Sounding the City
15th – 16th August 2014 (12pm – 6pm)
Private view – Thursday 14th August at 7pm
corner of Park Row/Woodland Road
Bristol BS1 5LS
‘blown by the river’: 32cm x 47cm framed Giclée print, aluminium dibond mounted. available as an edition of 10.
As an associate artist with Walking the Land I am happy to be showing as part of ‘From the River and the Sea’. The exhibition will feature work by painters, printmakers, photographers and sculptors, please view the Exhibition eGallery
‘From the River and the Sea’
The Old Passage Inn, Arlingham, Gloucestershire GL2 7JR
Tel: 01452 740547
The exhibition runs from 6 May – 31 May
Tuesday to Friday: 11am – 10pm
Saturday & Sunday: 11:30am – 10pm
Walking the Land connect art, landscape and community, with the landscape and walking providing the catalyst for their creative activities.
‘From the River and the Sea’ is part of the Stroud Valley Arts Site 2014 Festival