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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

Supermarket Sweep: Bonus Round

Curated by Owain McGilvary and Yan White.

Artists include:
Beth Fox
Joe Fletcher Orr
Lucia Quevedo
Jack Strange
Kate Turner
Alex McNamee

Exhibition Dates: 8 January - 20 February 2016
Opening Hours: 10:00-16:00, Monday - Saturday

Press Preview: 13:00 Friday 8 January 2016
Private View: 18:00 Friday 8 January 2016

For the third exhibition in its P E R I C L O programme, Oriel Wrecsam presents Supermarket Sweep: Bonus Round, a group show curated by Owain McGilvary and Yan White. The show joins six practices, each holding connections to what we all see in our trip to the supermarket. Referencing the 90s TV show, the exhibition explores our experience of the everyday encounter and collectively touches on the impact of consumerism and theatricality of the supermarket.

Owain McGilvary and Yan White graduated from Central Saint Martins in 2015 with a BA in Fine Art. Recent Exhibitions include: Exeter Contemporary, Exeter; The Plinth, Glasgow; Like it or Lump it, Leeds; Treat Yo Self, It’s All Tropical, Sheffield; Supermarket Sweep, Nice Galley, London (also curated), Heckle, Bosse & Baum, London; Mostyn Open 19, Llandudno, Wales (All 2015).

Beth Fox completed her MA Fine Art in 2011 from Central Saint Martins. Recent solo shows include: My First Retrospective (One Day Only), IMT Gallery, London (2014) and I’M CURATING MY OWN SOLO SHOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!111, DIVUS, London (2013). Group shows include: I’MTen, IMT Gallery, London; Supermarket Sweep, Nice Gallery, London; IRISH ART DOES NOT EXIST, Station Independent Projects, New York; Filmarmalade, Arnolfini, Bristol (all 2014).

Joe Fletcher Orr graduated with BA Fine Art at Manchester Metropolitan University in 2013. Recent group Shows include: Adventures in Clay, Bronze & Stone, Furini Arte Contemporanea, Arezzo, Italy; SCOUSE HOUSE, Syson gallery, Nottingham; Tuff Crowd, PICNIC PICNIC, Sheffield; Champagne, BeatTricks, Milan; I refuse to participate in failure, SPREEZ, Munich; The Whole Wide World, The International 3, Manchester; Modern History Vol. 1, The Grundy, Blackpool (all 2015).

Lucia Quevedo graduated from MA Sculpture at the Royal College of Art in 2015. Recent group shows include: Sargassum, The Dolphin, London; RCA Degree show, Royal College of Art, London; Pause Patina, Camden Arts Centre, London (all 2015); We outsourced everything and now we’re bored, L’Atelier Kunst (Spiel) Raum, Berlin (2013).

Jack Strange completed his BA Fine Art at the Slade School of Fine Art (2007). Recent solo shows include: ArtHouse, Austin, US; Tanya Bonakdar, New York, US; Casa Triangulo, São Paulo, BR (all 2011); Limoncello, London, UK (2010). Recent group shows include: Pump House Gallery, London, UK; BeatTricks, Milan, IT; Künstlerhaus, Graz, AT (all 2015).

Kate Turner and Alex McNamee graduated in 2013 from the Slade School of Fine Art BFA. Recent group shows of Turner include: Supermarket Sweep, Nice Gallery, London (2015); Er was een tijd dat ik niet eens kon spreken. Misschien leerde ik spreken en schrijven zoals iemand met alles wat hij op straat vindt begint, London; Punchdrunk Theatre Outreach, London (both 2014). McNamee’s recent group shows include: The Creative Process Summer Exhibition, Fljótstunga, Iceland; Supermarket Sweep, Nice Gallery, London; Virtue Foils, SPARK, New York; Exposicao Lar, Casa de Dona Gisele, Brazil (all 2015).

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.

Pam Newall

Exhibition Dates: 19 December 2015 - 12 February 2016
Opening Hours: 10:00-16:00, Monday - Saturday

Pam Newall’s work is built up from drawings or photographic images, sometimes digitally, sometimes worked into and using etching, photoetch and photoscreen/silkscreen. Pam graduated with an MA in Fine Art Printmaking from Cambridge School of Art and has exhibited in the UK and Europe.

Much of Pam’s work is about observation and visual moments that are considered, edited and transformed through printmaking. Print can be a great deal to do with process, the making can take a long time but the concept, form or observed moment will survive, although sometimes with an altered aspect to it.

She is at a new stage in her practice. Pam lives with MS and her condition has progressed to a stage where she needs to redesign how to make the work she wants to continue to make. She feels bereaved about the losses disability brings but excited about finding the new work that the experience may bring.

The next printmaker in this series will be Angie Lewin, 13/02/2016 – 08/04/2016.