Thursday, 31 May 2012

'Space and Change' FORUM tonight at G39

Space and Change FORUM: Thursday 31st May 2012: G39

We're looking forward to this evening's FORUM!
With presentations of video and sound works from Matt Cook and paintings concerned with transient spaces by Jan Williams. 

G39, Oxford Street, Cardiff. CF24 3DT. 
029 2047 3633

Also G39, in their new venue on Oxford Street, open their inaugural exhibition The Autobiography of a Super-tramp tomorrow from 6pm.
Featuring artists:
For more information about the exhibition and G39 click here.

Dialogue workshops & performances coming soon at Chapter

Dialogue is an evolving music event organised by post-graduates from the University of Wales Newport's Creative Music Practice MA course.
This month they will be showcasing works in the Stwdio at Chapter Arts Centre on Friday 8th June from 7pm.

Admission is FREE and the event features a range of activities including experimental new performances, video works, demonstrations of new technology and software and no-nonsense, cutting-edge pop and dance!

Follow the event on facebook for more information.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Aesthetica Art Prize – Open for Entries!

The Aesthetica Art Prize offers a great opportunity for artists to showcase their work and further their involvement in the international art world.  The prize is committed to innovation in the arts and welcomes entries from artists working in all mediums.

Artists can submit into four categories:
  • Photographic & Digital Art
  • Three Dimensional Design & Sculpture
  • Painting & Drawing
  • Installation & Performance
Previous finalists include Marcus Jansen, a leading modern expressionist who joins a legacy of artists featuring in Absolut Vodka’s artistic campaigns; Bernat Millet, also shortlisted for National Portrait Gallery’s Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize, and Julia Vogl, who was shortlisted for New Sensations: Saatchi Gallery and Channel 4’s Prize, and has exhibited at Zabludowicz Collection.
The Aesthetica Art Prize is open for entries until 31 August 2012. For more information please visit their website.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

FORUM/ Archives and Collections

Hosted at Ffotogallery, Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff on Thursday April 26th 2012.
Forum kicked off to a great start this month, as it coincided with the opening night of Chapter Gallery’s current exhibition, ‘The Institute of Critical Zoologists’. If you haven’t already, I really recommend you have a look. ( Curated by Ffotogallery’s Helen Warburton and Lauren Jury, the ICZ show investigates our relationship with animals through archival and photographic material that blurs the lines between reality and fiction.
The ICZ is really just one person, artist Renhui Zhao. Helen was the first to chat about the show and how it came about, offering an insight into the process of curating such a large exhibition in close collaboration with the artist. Helen first encountered Renhui’s work at Format in Derby and decided to approach him about a project in Cardiff.
The original basis of the exhibition was to present a sort of retrospective, including all the documents and archival material usually hidden away or locked in museum vault: making the invisible, visible. Helen, Lauren and Renhui were keen to experiment with alternative ways to present the work- the view-hole light-boxes in the second room of the gallery should not to be overlooked! Renhui’s practice investigates an overall concern with what is real, imagined and invented. What information do we really gain from the media and wildlife photography? The UV Plumage of birds informed the back gallery pieces which were entirely digital. Artistic simulations are present throughout the show, although it is down to the viewer to deliberate what may be real or invented.
Some pieces challenge the boundaries of the morality of food: Renhui has a particular interest in the issue of whaling, as expressed in the ‘Whiteness of a Whale’ project. His political views are interesting; the work is not dogmatic; rather, his core interest is how the media represent the subject of our relationship to animals rather than an attempt to make us feel a particular way. The work stands alone and is open to interpretation though it inevitably causes one to reflect on our relationship with other living creatures and how we share and occupy the world. For example, in one piece, what appears to be whale blood is actually human waste. As an ‘ex-activist’, he is not looking to be an ethical ambassador, rather he is still grappling with the idea of the institute he’s created. Part of Helen and Lauren’s role was a desire to develop the way Renhui presented his work and explore how he reflects his ides though collaboration.
Renhui is currently undertaking a residency at the National Museum of Wales. Lauren and Helen proposed that Renhui engaged with Cardiff through his work. The Museum, of course, is an ideal platform for this having been fascinated with the abundance of hidden archival material held in the vaults. This paved the way for Renhui to inspire a new body of work, becoming fascinated with slides, depicting bizarre exchanges between animals. The Institute of Critical Zoologists continues at Chapter Gallery, Cardiff until Sunday 17th June.
 Chapter Gallery, ICZ installation shot
Rory Duckhouse presented his recent project, ’25 people with cameras’. Rory is currently undertaking his MA in Swansea in Photography and Contemporary Dialogues.
“The work comes from an archive I bought from eBay, which had a collection of images from the 1960-1970's. The last geographical location of the archive was from the seller in Williamsburg, MA and therefore become known as the Williamsburg archive. With this series I am interested in the process of taking an image, what it mean in the present, and as a historical document. Through a series of re-appropriations, I attempt to explore the limitations of the images as informational document of events. Culturally we photograph events we deem of historical importance, however, what is the value of the images once they are removed from the contexts that deem them important. The work then becomes a metaphor for the shifting nature of the documents over time.”
The core of the work lies in an interest in archives and historical records. Rory presents photographs in which he has erased figures, in order to dislocate the person from any determinate social, historical or cultural links.  From these photographs, he retains the image of the camera, the core tool used to preserve a memory or document an occasion. How does a photograph either document or become a document of an event? What becomes of a photograph?
The image is defined by its quality and what surrounds the figures. Influenced by James Elkins, Rory explores the possibility of an objective experience of a photograph. In one particular image, all that remains of the figure are the hands holding the camera. Posing, in itself, often acts as an indication of culture and body language. A debate on context ensues; by removing the person do we still reserve any historical or cultural references? The camera itself dates the image, as does the object of the photograph: it’s size, format, quality etc. The clothing, furniture and jewellery all say something about a person and their surroundings. One person suggests the responsibility a photograph holds on a ‘document’ of that era, time, or event. Rory investigates how, through mild suggestion or fictionlisiation, he may remove this responsibility.
You can see Rory’s work exhibited at Swansea’s MA show, which opens on the 15th June- don’t miss it!
 Rory Duckhouse, 4 Minus Person, 2012
James Green trained as a painter at CSAD before completing an MA in Painting at The Royal College of Art, London. He is currently half way through his Phd at CSAD, researching through is practice: ‘To what extent does a piece of art have a mind of it’s own?’.
“The work I create as an artist often results in pieces that straddle between artistic disciplines, and is inspired by a wide range of artists and ideas, in particular artworks and belief systems of Non-Western cultures, physics, nuero-science, art history, and the daily goings-on of the Rhondda Valley. Hopefully, the result will be a subjective and visual inventory of parts of the twentieth and twenty-first Centuries.”
These cards, collectively titled ‘A Day in the Life…’ represent just a small fragment of James’ prolific practice. He began producing these pocket-sized collages around eight years ago whilst studying in London, as a creative exercise to realise ideas on a small scale. He would habitually make one or two every morning to keep active, even when ideas were running dry to keep the ball rolling. Now an ongoing ritual, these little cards are purely spontaneous and have ‘no particular grand theory’ behind them.
Nonetheless, they inevitably act as little indications of pop culture, having been collaged from newspapers, magazines and general visual debris found on his bedroom floor. By now there are hundreds of them, kept in boxes. Only recently have they begun to be dated. As a result, they have become an archive of each day of his life now documented, reading as a whole as a sort of visual diary. They are often carried around in his pocket, and sometimes given away to friends. This evolving archive has become a kind of small, intimate gallery which the viewer can hold in their hands, flicking through them just as kids used to do with their sticker collections: A collection that James plans to continue for the rest of his life- hopefully it will be much larger by then.
See more of James’ practice and his research developments at He is also curating a group show of Phd student’s work at Howard Gardens Gallery on the 21st June. 
  James Green, 'A Day in the Life', 2006-

FORUM/ Art Fairs

Hosted at G39, Cardiff on Thursday 29th March 2012
Gordon Dalton/ Amber Mottram
Following the Dan Rees talk, we had a great turn out at March’s Forum. Gordon Dalton got the ball rolling by discussing the nature of Art Fairs, experience he has gained within his own painting practice and as a curator and co-founder of Mermaid and Monster.

Mermaid and Monster is a Swansea based contemporary art agency. They represent both emerging and established artists and promote their work through curatorial projects, publications, events, and art fairs. Their artists include Nicholas Dietrich Williams (currently exhibited at Chapter’s Art in the Bar), Paul Emmanuel, Helen Sear and Alistair Owen.

M&M have had a range of experiences at various art fairs. Generally the commerciality of the experience is described as a necessary but arguably unfortunate aspect of gallery representation. The spaces are small and compact. The necessity for the buyer to meet the maker is considered during the discussion. It certainly helps, and self-promotion appears to be integral to any form of success, commercially or otherwise. Conversely, if a piece of art appeals to a buyer or dealer at an art fair, (whether that be for it’s artistic merit or simply because it matches their sofa,) they’ll buy it. Gordon describes positive experiences at smaller art fairs such as Manchester Contemporary ( who support a wider range of regional galleries. Still in it’s early years, The Manchester Contemporary aims to encourage and develop a market for critically engaged contemporary art in Manchester, with a focus on curating higher end galleries alongside those that are new and emerging. (

The question is raised; is there room for an event like this one in Cardiff or South Wales? How would it function, or affect the art being produced and promoted? March’s Forum occurred days before two artist-run, non-profit events: The Art Carbootique and Made in Spring, both aimed at promoting the diverse arts community in Cardiff and South Wales.

Gordon Dalton is an artist, curator and writer, recently having co-curated Motorcade/ Flashparade’s ‘The Man Don’t Give a Fuck’ in Bristol with Tom Goddard. See his website to see more of his work and for news on their upcoming projects and events. You can also subscribe to their mailing list, just contact

 Gordon Dalton, Installation shot, 2012

Since graduating from a BA in Fine Art at CSAD, Amber Mottram has recently exhibited her work at Chapter’s ‘Art in the Bar’ and currently occupies the TestBed space at Oriel Davies Gallery in Powys.  She describes her recent experiences at two art fairs in London through Woodbine Contemporary Arts, a gallery based in Uppingham.

Amber creates visceral works that lie between painting and sculpture, using thermoplastic screed (road paint). Manipulating the material’s depth and tactility, she experiments with chance against intention. Oscillating between representation and abstraction, the work represents an organised chaos in which her overflowing, organic forms are confined by gridded frames and structures. She explores the materiality of the substance to its limits and has recently departed from her explorations of colour, creating several monochrome works for the Oriel Davies exhibition and Battersea Art Fair. See Amber's Axis profile at, and the Oriel Davies website for more information on the Monopours exhibition. It is well worth a visit, especially alongside the Oriel Davies Open 2012. Both exhibitions continue until the end of June. 

Amber Mottram, Monopours, 2012

The Ian Parry Scholarship

The Ian Parry Scholarship is an international photographic competition for young photographers who are either attending a full-time photographic course or are under 24. Entrants must submit examples of their work from their portfolio and a brief synopsis of a project they would undertake if they won. The prize consists of £3,500 towards their chosen assignment £500 to those awarded Highly Commended and Commended.

For more information, visit the website:

The Ian Parry Scholarship 2012 deadline is June 30th. The application form can be downloaded HERE.

Photographic immersion with Brenda Ann Kenneally

The Hinterlands run unique photography residential courses in the Blackdown Hills in Devon. They've got an exciting workshop coming up with acclaimed American photojournalist Brenda Ann Kenneally.

The focus of the workshop is on creative development, process, production and dissemination of your work. Through group discussion, brainstorming and intensive one-to-one sessions Brenda’s in-depth approach will highlight how to maximise the potential of your stories by analysing your intent, your working methods and examining your work in a wider social and political context.
  • 24th – 29th June 2012
  • 6 night residential workshop
  • One-to-one sessions with Brenda to discuss exisiting work or work in progress
  • Daily photographic tasks set in the local area
  • Group discussion and brainstorming
  • Evening talks with guest speakers
  • Practical production and technical guidance
  • Delicious home cooked food and yurt accommodation included
  • Cost: £850.00
There's also scholarship places available - find lots more information on the Hinterlands website here.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Pump House Photo Call

The Pump House Gallery in London are calling out for proposals from artists for a participatory photography project commission and exhibition in late 2012/2013.

The galleries future curatorial vision is to create opportunities for artists through collaborative partnerships to explore new practices and engage with social and civic spaces. The aim is to extend the audiences cultural experience and create sites for exchange, dialogue and debate.

The gallery are seeking proposals from artists to work with photography in a participatory context to develop a new exhibition and project that will facilitate the gallery’s local audience participation in its realisation.
The deadline for this commission is the 30th June.

To find out more, visit their website and download the information sheet here 
This could be an excellent opportunity for anyone interested in community or participatory photographic projects, to engage with a local community and collaborate on a new body of work.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

'Critical Mass' at Artes Mundi 5

Critical Mass is a project specifically aimed at students and recent graduates, creating a platform for ideas in the run up to Artes Mundi 5.
Critical Mass will morph according to the needs and input of its population over the next few months, it is anticipated that by developing a number of forums we will be able to consider the embedded themes of Artes Mundi, discuss, and develop ideas (which may also activate extended projects in relation to Artes Mundi 5).
The project will engage multi-disciplined and distinct voices interested in developing dialogues with contemporary art and Artes Mundi in particular, whether practice-based, literary, philosophical or sociological.  The projects aims in relation to Artes Mundi 5 are to:
- create a discursive space
- engage students and recent graduates beyond university walls
- generate, question and engage exciting, alternative critical discourse
- expand opportunities for students and recent graduates to engage with Artes Mundi
- explore potential extended projects in relation to Artes Mundi 5.
The project will culminate in the ‘Critical Mass Symposium’.  It is anticipated that this one day event will evolve from, and be led by, the Critical Mass forums, offering the opportunity to engage with the exhibition and the National Museum Wales through interpretative papers, critical thinking and open discussion.
The foundation of the Critical Mass project is in providing an exciting and dynamic platform, generating discussion and possibilities for students, recent graduates and arts practitioners; encouraging new voices in relation to Artes Mundi 5 and the wider contexts of contemporary art.

More information about the project can be found here or through contact by e-mail