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Oriel Wrecsam - Exhibitions

Oriel Wrecsam has a commitment to promoting Welshness through exhibitions of contemporary visual and applied arts, while also enriching the local arts environment by inviting first class practitioners to work with us on a variety of projects.

As we enter a period of peripatetic project making, we have offsite plans that will see our Siop//Shop become a focus for our stranded project programme. Over the next couple of years these projects will see the town become our gallery space.

The following will keep you informed of what is currently on show in our galleries as well as what we have coming up.


Harness Your Hiraeth

A group exhibition curated by James Harper

Graham Bowers
Sean Edwards
Przemek Pyszczek
Colin Thomas

Exhibition Dates: 26 February - 19 June 2016
Opening Hours: 10:00-16:00, Monday - Saturday

The fourth and final exhibition in Oriel Wrecsam’s inaugural PERICLO programme, focuses on the role art plays in preserving our social and personal heritage. This is an exhibition which meanders through notions of nostalgia in order to illustrate the importance of art to a wider audience. The Welsh word ‘hiraeth’ has no direct translation into English though a close representation would be the word ‘nostalgia’. More accurately, hiraeth translates as ‘a longing for a home to which you cannot return’.

In the early 1980s, the photographer Colin Thomas documented numerous community events in Wrexham and its surrounding communities. A selection of these photographs was subsequently exhibited in Event (1984) at the Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool. Times change, people change, places change. Through the arts we are able to capture or recall moments in time that would otherwise be forgotten. Photography and filmmaking perhaps play a central role in this act. Using Thomas’ photographs of Wrexham as a point of departure, Harness Your Hiraeth will introduce contemporary works in other media that convey a sense of loss or longing.

The late filmmaker and musician Graham Bowers created cinematic works that conjure up feelings of nostalgia towards the Welsh coastline and seaside attractions. Sean Edwards is an artist who works in a variety of media. For Harness Your Hiraeth, his film Maelfa (2014) will be exhibited, documenting a since demolished and redeveloped shopping centre on the outskirts of Cardiff.

In psychology, an involuntary memory (or involuntary autobiographical memory) is one that is not deliberately recalled but is triggered by a sensation, often as nostalgic memories. These nostalgic memories can be captured in ways other than photography and film. Contemporary Polish artist Przemek Pyszczek uses his colourful sculptures to evoke memories of childhood and playgrounds. They are also reminiscent of Poland’s communist-era architecture and industry.

Also exhibited will be archival documents relating to the events in Wrexham that were documented by Thomas at that time.

supermarket sweep

P E R I C L O  is a platform for risk and experimentation in contemporary visual art. During Oriel Wrecsam's transitional period - moving from its home of over 40 years at Wrexham Library to an exciting proposed new cultural hub development in Wrexham People's Market - P E R I C L O  forms one exhibition strand with other peripatetic projects taking place across the town centre and beyond.

The fourth and final exhibition in this chapter of P E R I C L O 's programme will be Harness Your Hiraeth, a group exhibition curated by James Harper, from 26/02/2016.

P E R I C L O  is an Oriel Wrecsam exhibition programme supported by Wrexham County Borough Council, Arts Council Wales, Welsh Government and the National Lottery.

Public art commission by Jonny Hannah

Oriel Wrecsam have commissioned illustrator Jonny Hannah to produce an unique artwork that will wrap the entire exterior Siop//Shop and the adjacent workshop space.

The new work, in Jonny’s distinctive style, will illustrate Wrexham’s cultural, industrial and agricultural heritage whilst creating an attractive and instantly recognisable exterior for Oriel Wrecsam’s semi-permanent home on Chester Street.

The unveiling of this commission marks the start of a new way of working for Oriel Wrecsam as we enter a period of peripatetic exhibition and project making which will see Wrexham town centre become Oriel Wrecsam’s temporary gallery. This period will last for between two and three years in the lead up to the opening of a new and exciting cultural hub in Wrexham.

Jonny Hannah will be continuing his relationship with Oriel Wrecsam having previously exhibited as part of ‘A Child’s Christmas In Wales’ in 2014.

Jonny grew up in Dunfermline & studied at the Cowdenbeath College of Knowledge, Liverpool Art School & then the Royal College of Art. For the last seventeen years he has been a freelance illustrator, & is represented by the Heart Agency in London & New York. His many clients include The Sunday Telegraph, The New York Times & The St. Kilda Courier.

He happily lives in Southampton, with Sharon & their two bairns, & teaches on the BA Illustration course at Southampton Solent School of Art & Design. His studio has now returned to his back garden, in the loveliest of sheds, now HQ to the ‘Cakes & Ale Press’, a cottage industry publishing books, prints, posters, teatowels & badges.

Merrell books published a rather lovely book all about Jonny & his junk, last year. It’s called ‘Greeting from Darktown” & every home should have one.

Grip Fast & Defy Mediocrity.

Printmaker in Focus

Printmaker in Focus Exhibitions will be in our temporary home, SIOP//SHOP, on Chester Street. These printmaking showcases will provide a focus for regular exhibition visitors and include work by some of the best artists working in this field.

Neil Bousfield

Neil Bousfield ARE studied at Bristol’s University of the West of England where he gained a Master of Arts degree in Multi-Disciplinary Printmaking, awarded with distinction in 2007. Born in Middlesbrough, Neil grew up in the coastal village of Marske-by-the-Sea, in North Yorkshire.

Neil works as an artist, lecturer and researcher. Although contexts change, drawing and narrative remain steadfast within Neil’s personal practice of printmaking and the technique of wood engraving. Neil’s work has featured in Printmaking Today, the Washington Print Club Quarterly, the Society of Wood Engravers film ‘Modern British Wood Engraving: A new look at a traditional medium’ and their quarterly publication Multiples and in 2014 he was awarded Regional Prize-winner at London’s ING Discerning Eye exhibition.

An elected member of The Society of Wood Engravers and the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers, Neil exhibits regularly with both societies alongside exhibitions in the UK and USA. His work is held in private and major public collections including the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, National Art Library, Victoria & Albert Prints and Drawings Collection, Ohio State University Libraries, USA and Manchester Metropolitan University Special Collections

Neil now lives and works on the Norfolk coast where his practice explores and responds to issues of landscape and the concepts of transformation, change and fragility and the geographical palimpsest of place.