Rhodri Owen is intrigued by our increasing tendency to look back, often nostalgically, rather than embracing today and looking forward to the future. I’r Byw has two meanings – how our experiences touch us emotionally, and also shifting the focus from remembrance of the past to the living, to the here and now, and the future.
At the same time, whilst designing and making the 2017 National Eisteddfod Chair, the centenary of the iconic Black Chair, Rhodri was struck by how forces beyond their control swept away the lives and hopes of a whole generation, in a way that they nor their families could ever have foreseen.
Whilst that Chair was ceremonial and symbolic, here working in oak, pine and sapele, Rhodri has used the medium of wood to hand-craft furniture pieces with simple clean lines – a deliberate choice of style to allow the central concept of the newborn and life’s inevitable wear and tear to be developed.
The furniture, everyday objects familiar to everyone, presented clean canvases, and groups from very different backgrounds across Wales were the agents of change as the work progressed – with no holds barred, their life experiences are expressed on the furniture pieces in visually unexpected ways, and deploying a wide range of media, techniques and materials.
The exhibition itself will also change on tour, with different spaces offering new opportunities for installation, juxtaposition and emphasis – a living exhibition!
Marked, coloured, gouged, burnt or disjointed Rhodri’s “newborn” furniture has been transformed and expresses how life experiences today – joys, tribulations, heritage and environment mark us all.
Manon Awst, Rebecca F. Hardy, Llŷr Alun Jones, Christine Mills, Bill Swann, Lisa-Marie Tann, Catrin Williams, Pip Woolf & Kirstin Claxton.