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Book review: IMPACT/Ardrawiad by Angharad Pearce Jones

01 Jan 2024 3 minute read
Impact/Ardrawiad by Angharad Pearce Jones is published by the H’mm Foundation

Tess Powell

Angharad Pearce Jones is a prolific Welsh artist whose work often centres around Welsh identity, politics, feminism, and pop culture.

She’s created on both a global and national scale and has been featured in galleries throughout Wales.

The handsomely produced volume IMPACTArdrawiad takes a peek into the productive life and works of Angharad with a particular focus on her 2023 exhibition at the Canolfan y Celfyddydau in Aberystwyth.

Context

The book both sets out her working practice and sets it in a wider context. As her fellow Welsh artist, writer and curator Anthony Shapland puts it: “When we consider sculptors working with metal we think of Serra, Judd or Caro – minimalist, formally structured works where the material is allowed to rust, to display its heft and weight and strength.

“While Angharad does all of these we also get wallpaper, pattern and paint; we are allowed to touch, play and interact. There is an understanding of her lineage, but a disregard for any gallery conventions and an acknowledgement that her work takes its starting point not solely from the accepted and understood notions of art, but also from the world that we inhabit. We are a product of our time, it all exists simultaneously.”

Interrogation

Now when it comes to sculpture, I am no connoisseur, yet I find the meaning and construction in Jones’ pieces to have, as the name suggests, impact.

Dylan Huw writes that the works as displayed in the exhibition are “an interrogation of the notion of impact itself,” and in the artist’s own words, are about choice, which stems from her reaction to “increased divisions in British society following the Brexit referendum.”

ImpactArdrawiad
Canolfan Celfyddydau Aberytwyth Arts Centre

Vibrant patterns

Twisted, bent up, and destroyed metal fences painted in vibrant colours or pattern that warrant closer inspection prompt the viewer to consider the event that resulted in their creation, and the artistry that comes from something we may not look twice at in our everyday life.

The gallery provokes the audience to make many of their own choices throughout, a choice between left or right, and what path or side to take.

As Ffion Rhys states in her foreword, Angharad’s works are accessible to audiences as they give you “a way in.” A way of viewing and experiencing before the deeper meaning is revealed.

Dramatic

Detailed, dramatically lit photographs portray these sculptures from many angles and are accompanied by no walls of text or explanations, giving the reader the same experience, one might encounter in an exhibit: slowly wandering through the pages and contemplating to yourself before the intentions of the artist become known to you.

At the end of the book insight is given into Angharad’s life which delves into the art scene of Cardiff in the 90s and her reactions to current events throughout the years which shaped much of her work.

IMPACTArdrawiad is an insightful look into Angharad’s art and history and will be enjoyed by both sculpture lovers and more general readers and art appreciators.

IMPACTArdrawiad is published by the H’mm Foundation and is a Books Council of Wales’ Book of the Month for January 2024. It is available from all good bookshops.

The exhibition of the same name continues at Canolfan y Celfyddydau/Abertwyth Arts Centre until the 11th February 2024.


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