Oriel Davies Gallery
The Park, Newtown
Powys SY16 2NZ
Telephone: +44 (0) 1686 625041

Email: desk@orieldavies.org



SHOP Tuesday-Saturday 11-4

CAFE Tuesday-Saturday 11-4

CAFE GALLERY: Melvyn Evans: Imprinting the Landscape

GALLERY 1: Our Isles: Celebrating the Art of Rural Living

Coming soon:





Beyond Pattern

Exhibition: Beyond Pattern
Date: January 2010
Writer: Elisabeth Mahoney
Publication: guardian.co.uk
Publisher: Guardian

A riot of delicacy and colour, this imaginatively curated exhibition tussles with the pleasures and politics of pattern. Its point, which it makes in tiny details of individual works and also in sheer scale (the show includes a disused riverside building clad in 300 sheep fleeces), is that pattern is everywhere.

Given pattern's importance to the home, it's no surprise to find artists exploring this dimension, and the femininity associated with it. Andrea Stokes displays a love-hate relationship with net curtains, copying them in exquisite pencil drawings and then, in a short film, ruthlessly snipping flower motifs out of them. Pamela So uses talcum powder, stencilled into an intricate pattern, in a work that evokes a mother's dressing table, while Catherine Bertola pays homage to members of the Bluestocking Society in her drawings of lace stockings.

But it's not all feminine and homely. Doug Jones's extraordinary installation of 27 shrouded bishop figures is creepy and clever, subverting conventional religious garb with his own additions in tartan, combat, graffiti, fair-trade fabric, zebra and leopard print. Michael Brennand-Wood's apocalyptic sculptures, exploding from the walls, evoke stained-glass windows and medieval art, but offer us only playful fragments.

Rather more solid and substantial is the exhibition's undoubted show-stealer, Steve Messam's Clad, a temporary installation wrapping a building in wool from locally bred sheep. It specifically references Newtown's textile industry past and the local architecture of black-and-white timber-framed buildings, but at first sight it's a thing of spooky, fairytale magic reminiscent of Hansel and Gretel. Glimpsed from a ­distance through a tangle of trees, with the swollen river rushing past, Clad is like something from a strange yet oddly comforting dream.