If Art works, it is said that it should stimulate, whether positive , or negative, but never before in my history of Exhibition going has my olfactory organs been so aroused.
One is accustomed to the visual and indeed audio stimulation, but at Rosemary Edwards’s installation Folds my nostrils were twitching like a Bisto Boy . The air in Elysium Atrtspace was full of the scent of bread, or rising dough. For that was exactly what was on show, rising and bulging out of various fabrics and items of clothing.
Edwards in the prior week had with the help of numerous volunteers mixed up 250 kilos of flour to make up enough dough for the exhibition itself.
Some of the flour was held in tied up in nightdresses and hung by the window. A large hammock was suspended from the ceiling filled with dough. Various other cloth constructions were also filled with the growing yeast propelling white ooze.
My particular favourite was the wig-wam like construction titled Possibilities 41 , placed in the centre of the gallery, where the ever expanding dough crept across the floor like some culinary blob. And that was the thing it was an exhibition of change, growth and eventual decay.
I revisited the exhibition several time to see the progress of the movement of this living organism seeping through the materials of each exhibit. Some worked more than others, but what did work for me was the smell which metamorphosized from the pleasant bakery dough aroma moving through a kind of fermenting beer. Finally by January a rancid smell of vinegar pervaded as the dough hardened on the outside and started decomposing from within, seeping out a dubious brown liquid across the gallery floor.
The exhibition was supported by video work, related to themes of life and death and smell. One featured Edwards wrapping herself up in scarves that belonged to her deceased mother enabling to remember her presence.
In the Basement area of Elysium a clattering cacophony assaulted the ears. The sound of industrial looms shown on three video monitors, impressive but purposefully too painful to reflect and absorb. This was a deviation from the theme upstairs, but suitably physically separated by the geography of the building, so as not to detract.
Overall Edwards’ show stimulated the body with sight , sound and smell, and one who has a nose for these things it was pure gravy!
I graduated from Howard Gardens in Cardiff in 2006 as a mature student in fine art (sculpture). Having completed my degree I was selected and exhibited at the National Eisteddfod in Swansea also in 2006. I also undertook a joint project alongside indigenous Australian artists and artists from Wales out in the landscape.
Most of my artwork could be called process art, coming from the physicality & energy of making. However, as with most artists, this is based around reoccurring themes and ideas that for me our about wrapping, protection and memory.
In my search for meaning, other than personal, of my work I have come across the fold in terms of philosopher Leibinizs ideas of the baroque. My fascination with materials, folding, wrapping and both repetitive and ritual actions in making work seem to have a resonance with the idea of linking the physical with the sensory. The title of this exhibition FOLDS comes from these ideas of the philosopher Deleuze that there are pleats of matter and the folds of the soul .
It is difficult to say who my main influences are as I admire many artists living and dead. In fact many of my influences come from life, nature, friends and experience, as well as the art world. However artists such as Eva Hesse, Barbara Hepworth, Susan Hiller, Jean & Claude Christo and Christian Boltanski have been inspirational and still excite me. I suppose it s not just the physical work but their actual approach to art and what it s all about.
This show will include sculpture, video and sound. The sound elements have been developed in partnership with artist Odysseas Constantinou. It seemed that the possibilities of my work (which is also the name of the pieces of sculpture) moved into creating their own song – by working alongside a sound artist we have come up with a random growth of sound that feeds off the object.
As the process and physicality of making is also important and the fact that the work needs to be made in situ means that I will be working in the gallery space for up to a week before hand so people can call in and say hi if they want (as long as I get time to work!).
I m really looking forward to being in Swansea and I d like to thank Elysium for the opportunity. I d also like to thank family and friends for supporting me in what seems at times a strange career but who never question my need to be an artist.