‘Of shit and sunshine’

Most of my practice tends to explore issues relating to my individual sense of place, through an extension and re-interpretation of my cultural experience.

The clay that I unearth myself in its raw state, straight from a source, is such primeval and primordial matter and speaks so much about land, matter, excavation and history. Since this comes from my Dad’s land, it’s also loaded with ideologies - of mother/fatherland - and as such, is inextricably linked with culture. I believe the idea of earth/land generally is seen as being a carrier of the presence of people and the culture that inhabit it. From digging, packaging and transporting the material to a gallery setting, it becomes even more loaded because it builds onto that history.

The intention of sieving this material through a tall item of furniture is one of ‘purification’ - an investigation to discover means of disinvesting the material of place, identity and its potent associations, so it has the potential to speak anew or come to a state in which I can build a new language from it. There is also so much potential in the creative application of the material when it’s in this pre-object state. The resulting work is conceptually a transformative process that functions in a similar way to the digestive system. Clay material is forced through the mesh at the very top before occupying the space within a drawer, which is then pulled out to deposit its contents on the floor, defining it’s own shape on the ground and offering it up for scrutiny. The top of the drawer even scrapes the caked material beneath the mesh away, preparing it for yet another process.

I also work with waste or used material in post-object state, such as the remnants left from a slip-casting process. Bone china forms are produced from the pairings/off-cuts from a slip casting process used to create fine tableware. Casting speaks of industrial repetition though the leftover has such expression and I believe in my hands, these remnants become sculptural objects. The ceramic material left on the studio table have subsequently been formed together to produce a ring, placed next to one another by playful manipulation, in a kind-of commemoration to the labour involved in some physical making processes.

Starting from a different threshold, ‘I found her in rhymes’ began with 3D computer vectors rather than physical material, which is then produced from being rapid-prototyped in resin and subsequently cast in bronze and earthenware. It has a surreal element of mystery and can be read as the ultimate cog, slide carousel, industrial wheel or offers up that moment of sunshine - a chance to smile – in and among the weight and responsibility of custodianship.

Gently cupping hardwood abstract forms are docked lambs tails. The hardwood forms are my own translations from the moment of ‘autonomous’ High modernism in Art History where there’s a clear stripping back of the idiosyncratic and ‘sense of place’ on the grounds that abstraction is more appropriate to the present age. Art, as a result, artwork became self-referential, thus transportable, placeless, and nomadic. I don’t want to see it as such, so whilst acknowledging the valid aesthetic qualities of this moment in history, the docked lambs tails now facilitate their display, gently penetrating or caressing these forms with residue material from a real time and place. In essence, the bullish work of the past is given a condescending cwtch.

I believe there is an interesting charge in the works between the potential for material to be formed and the echo/memory of what was formed. I also want it to speak of attraction and repulsion; of desire and disgust; of shit and sunshine. I ultimately want the work to have a sense of tension with moments that are dense and others that are light – making the viewer think or feel, rather than read.

Carwyn Evans, 2011