Sunday, 27 May 2012

Research Point - Oriel Davies, Newtown

I live in quite a rural part of mid-Wales so there are not many galleries that are just local but as I was in Newtown I decided to visit Oriel Davis - a contemporary art gallery.  The current exhibition is by Pia Borg - she was the winner of the RE:animate Oriel Davies Open in 2010 and this solo exhibition was part of the prize.  I wouldn't have chosen this exhibition but as there is not a lot of choice locally I thought I would go and have a look.  I was a bit non-plussed at first but decided to sit on the benches provided and watch the films and I was surprised to find that I actually enjoyed the experience.

The Crystal World was projected onto a large wall and the soundtrack filled the gallery.  It was a black and white film and showed an old car at the bottom of a lake, half hidden by the plant life.  There was also a woman, drowned, in the water.  Crystals were forming over all the surfaces.  The soundtrack was just old fashioned type music.  I sat on the bench and decided to not try and "get it" and just enjoy the experience.  The film had a very serene feel to it, especially with the music playing - even though the image of the drowned woman was a bit disturbing.  The formation of the crystals was beautiful - the angles and shapes and subtle light changes.

Another film was shown in a separate little room, again with a bench and headphones provided.  I found the headphones drew me into the film more, as it cut out any distractions.  This was an film about a piano player and a woman upstairs listening to his music and dancing.  The characters were all animated puppets.

Also being exhibited at the same time was Lament by Sean Vicary, who is an artist and filmmaker based in Wales.  This film showed the local landscape, which is stunning anyway, the soundtrack was traditional music and a welsh accented woman reciting bi-lingual poetry.  I found the film very soothing, I liked the poetry and enjoyed it in Welsh - even though I don't speak Welsh - but the lilt and rhythm of the language suited the images of the local landscape.  I found the animations amusing.  Vicary uses found objects and animates them within the landscape - found bones were animated into a small dragon like creature with a beating heart (that was a decayed conker).

The exhibition was well displayed, the gallery space was created so that it was enclosed and dark.  The artist details were projected onto a wall, which I liked as it was a film and animation exhibition.  The benches to sit on were comfortable but contemporary looking.  There is a separate section, for students, to sit in and use the reference material.

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