In Reverence, Plas Glyn Y Weddw
Plas Glyn Y Weddw, Wales, UK
9 October 2022 – 9 January 2023
In Reverence toured to the Love Gallery at Oriel Plas Glyn-y-Weddw in October 2022. The Love Gallery is a beautiful, light, contemplative space, with windows that look out onto the sea. When Dr. Frances Woodley wrote about In Reverence in her article for Ceramics Art and Perception, she described the body of work as “strictly speaking, neither still life nor installation, but hover[ing] somewhere in between, in what Bachelard terms, a ‘cell of intimacy’.” This was a perfect description for me, and the space a perfect situation. I wanted to create a contemplative and intimate space, the individual works ghosts of domestic activity and labour. The window looking out to the sea was the perfect position for the CNC milled walnut writing table. The inspiration for the table came from a painting by Gwen John titled A Corner of the Artist’s Room in Paris. In the painting a small writing table sits in a quiet room under a window with a book open on its surface.
The exhibition In Reverence exists as a study of humanness. Taking the domestic realm as the site of its inquiry, it endeavours to engage with the intangible, unsettling and tender aspects of life through material processes and form. Material frailties and capabilities become metaphors for our own human experience, the residue of making and the repetitive activity of craft resonant of the ceaseless invisible labours we enact within the home.
Points of transition and the in-between space remain as enduring themes, specifically the imperceptible, uncertain nature of these spaces and their relationship to our human experience. The domestic spaces that we occupy, benign on the surface, operate as la- tent gaps within the narratives of our lives, potent with intimacy and disquiet. The exhibition In Reverence seeks to use this evocative space to capture the ghosts of moments that go unnoticed within ordinary domestic settings, to explore what is hidden and what is revealed, and to question where and to what we attribute value.
Forms have been carved from porcelain by hand, or from plaster on the lathe, before being moulded and cast in a liquid porcelain; the heat of the kiln chamber is used to seek out moments of fluidity. Work has also been made in collaboration with furniture maker Jennifer Finnegan, and Fablab Cardiff making use of their 3D scanning and CNC milling technologies to produce milled walnut tableaux that function as components for furniture pieces.
The exhibition In Reverence seeks out connections between material, form and the genre of still life. In his study of our relationships to the objects we live with, anthropologist Daniel Miller argues ‘Surely if we can learn to listen to these things we have access to an authentic other voice.’ The silence that accompanies a stilled moment offers a space to ‘listen’, as Miller suggests, to the forms presented and to the vibrant presence of material.
This project was funded by the Arts Council of Wales and partnered by Glynn Vivian Art Gallery.