Saturday, September 18, 2010

Another week, another show

Another exhibition of paintings has opened in Cardiff. This time a series of works by Corrie Chiswell who was winner of the 2009 Welsh Artist of the Year.

The exhibition is being held at a relatively new contemporary art gallery called Off The Wall. The Private View was on Thursday and was packed. There was a great buzz.

The paintings are figurative and tell ethereal, disturbing stories that seem linked to fairy tales. One of the main pieces was called “The Princess and the Pea” and was a beautiful and enigmatic piece. (You can view it on the homepage of Corrie Chiswell's website).

All sorts of images and themes emerged with a visual language that I barely understood – lots of half-eaten apples, pomegranates and a green orb. I like what she says in her biography that "Her perception of reality can be compared to a crime scene where clues are left to indicate what is happening."

Apart from the paintings there were drawings and studies as well as a portfolio of press cuttings. That made for a greater sense of connection with the artist and an understanding of her work. It was also helped that the gallerist (who I have known for some years since she was at a previous gallery) took the time to mingle and to talk about the work.

We talked about how difficult it was to run a successful contemporary art gallery in Wales when the work that sells is largely traditional landscapes with cottages and miners! I have to say, I wondered how contemporary the work was when there is such a serious lack of any video, sculpture or installation art. I’m sure there are artists producing this stuff but you never get to see it! Maybe I’m just not connected to the right people and places.

Nevertheless, a good, imaginative and technically excellent show of work.

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