GWRTHSEFYLL EXHIBITION 15 June 2019
As a sculpture that stands on a ridge overlooking the Welsh landscape, Gwrthsefyll echoes the structure of a Neolithic burial chamber,without imitating it. It arches and weaves through itself, rising out of the ground, the moss-covered stone surfaces of Neolithic structures being replaced by a net of thousands of woven elastic hairbands.
Here, the artist mimics elements of the Welsh landscape using the visual language and cultural influences that she has gained through living in London, merging the unmovable stone structures that have marked the land since prehistory with a throwaway, mass-produced object that plays its part in shaping the material landscape of south-east London, an area filled with bargain pound shops and multicultural hair salons.
This seemingly biographical combination is also an exploration into our perception of the 'man-made', questioning what is perceived as natural versus the manufactured.The Neolithic remnants that blend into a natural landscape sit awkwardly alongside the elastic hairband,a synthetic product churned out by factories and transported across continents. Yet Neolithic man also manufactured objects, such as their sites known as 'axe factories', found in places such as Mynydd Rhiw axe factory in Pen Llŷn. Large pieces of stone were also cut out of quarries and transported over hundreds of kilometres of land, including the famous 'blue stones'originating from the Preseli mountains that are now part of Stonehenge. Both production systems are separated by the gulf of time yet share the manipulation of materials to satisfy human needs.