Gayle Chong Kwan discusses her exhibition, Terroir and the Pathetic Fallacy, at ArtSway (18.April 2009 - 14 14 June 2009, with ArtSway curator Peter Bonnell. Terroir and the Pathetic Fallacy was a large-scale installation inspired by ArtSway’s rural location, incorporating sculpture, photography and sound work, of an imaginary tourist resort which plays upon pagan myths and weather elements, made out of inert edible vegetables. ‘Terroir’ is an imaginary and all-encompassing tourist resort, populated by people whose real character is disguised through vegetable outfits and masks. A world of horrific beauty and pagan characters created out of inert materials into a landscape based upon the architecture and design of palaces of dictators and presidents. ‘Terroir’ is a themed resort of ‘naturalistic pantheism’, which explores, celebrates and critiques architectures of power and constructed by ridiculous and inert vegetables. The installation featured a large-format photographic wrap-around images of the resort accompanied by portraits of the characters that inhabit this themed resort. Sound works include secrets of this imaginary resort, as told by the characters.
Dave Lewis, Fieldwork, ArtSway, 6 February - 28 March 2010
Dave Lewis is a photographer and film-maker interested in identity and the ways in which people feel they belong to a particular place. Field Work is a new body of work generated through Lewis’ innovative combination of the role of the artist as a 'stranger', and that of the anthropologist as someone concerned with understanding cultural identity. In the process of gathering first-hand evidence in two particular locations, Sway in the New Forest in Hampshire, and Newtown in mid-Wales, Lewis draws productive parallels between these two roles, suggesting the way they pursue similar methods of investigation and share some common aims. Sway and Newtown are linked through this process of interviewing local residents and documenting events such as festivals and carnivals.
Dolly Thompsett exhibition at ArtSway 11 September - 7 November 2010
Dolly Thompsett creates sensuous, intricate paintings by building up layers of paint interspersed with glassy resin laminates that allow images to weave through the surface of the canvases. Her detailed rendering of people and objects, mysterious atmospheres and glistening textures are inspired by the high-gloss of Hollywood movies and the traditions of Romantic painting.
By taking as their starting point photographs of both historical and recent events where ordinary people are overcome by extraordinary circumstances, her paintings articulate a moment of transformation or transcendence filtered through the artist’s own experiences. Layering together special effects to express a sense of epiphany, each of Thompsett’s works is rendered intimate through her use of paint, and familiar through her sampling of popular visual culture.
Eamon O’Kane’s exhibition at ArtSway, entitled Re-enactment, included installation and video works. Using 17th century-style furniture produced for a previous exhibition at Plan 9 in Bristol (as part of the CASE HISTORIES touring programme), O’Kane staged (in the New Forest) a re-enactment of the meal James II had under the sycamore tree in Ireland. The furniture was installed in the gallery space with the video documentation of the re-enactment. This is connected to another re-enactment of a hunt led byJames II (James II was the last king to hunt in the New Forest in the late 17th Century). Both the meal and the hunt were reconstructed using actors in period costume. Drawings and paintings of the sycamore tree and the New Forest are also incorporated into the installations. Other works include wall drawings and wall paintings of maps and photographs charting the history of the artist’s parent’s house and its previous occupants. These included architectural plans outlining ideas for the restoration of parts of the house including a section which was demolished by a previous owner in the 1950s in order to avoid housing rates. Some of these ideas have a fantastical quality to them where O’Kane merges iconic architecture from a range of periods with the house he grew up in.
Re-enactment was one part of the touring project CASE HISTORIES by Eamon O’Kane, consisting of a series of international exhibitions of new work commissioned by Rugby Art Gallery and Museum; the Contemporary Art Society and Economist Plaza, London; RARE Gallery, New York; Galerie Schuster, Berlin; Plan 9, Bristol; and ArtSway, New Forest. CASE HISTORIES was financially supported by Arts Council England, Culture Ireland and Bristol City Council