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ART IN THE BAR: CASPER SCARTH Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff Until Sun 5 Dec


There is nothing more inspiring than sitting down in a bustling environment plastered in engaging and diverse art pieces. Perhaps it is the buzz of the coffee or the constant flow of wine that intensifies that inspiration but I like to think that it is the art exuding its own creative high. Chapter is definitely one place that excels at setting the atmosphere perfectly every time, and Art In The Bar is a natural step forward in upholding that reputation. Right up until December, artist Casper Scarth will have his work on display, keeping those in the bar company as they seek solace from the cold nights. It is appropriate to say that Scarth’s surrealist paintings follow recurring themes that he delves into again and again. But in each new subject, Scarth breathes new life. Often exploring the loss of innocence, lack of freedom, autonomy of the individual and the hostilities faced in a globalised community, his work is unbelievably contempo- rary and fresh. For Chapter, Casper is presenting a new body of work that focuses on the artist’s own area, where public spaces have been transformed into artificial landscapes. The once fruitful environments, now fail to offer its visitors even the most essential of functions. It is fascinating to see Scarth’s art reflecting the iron-grip that architecture has on the urban jungle through what appears to be a manipulation of nature. Obscure playgrounds, desolate streets and derelict construction sites are all eerily familiar but Scarth depicts these environments as strangely oppressive. These malfunc- tioning public areas are fast becoming virtual cages where man and nature battle to come to terms with social order. Scarth is no stranger to solo exhibitions, working with numerous galleries across London. It will be exciting to watch and see how his work will go down with Chapter’s discerning audience. His work will definitely get people talking and it will continue to add to Chapter’s already vibrant atmosphere. Admission: free. Info: 029 2031 1050 / www.chapter.org JACK DAVIES


SMILE: A RUTHIN CRAFT CENTRE TOURING EXHIBITION Mission Gallery, Swansea


Sat 13 Nov-Sun 9 Jan Curated by Mary La Trobe-Bateman, this group show features work by 13 contempo- rary makers: Abbott and Ellwood, Julie Arkell, Janet Bolton, Lucy Casson, Michael Flynn, Eleanor Glover, Jo Lawrence, Lind- sey Mann, Linda Miller, Craig Mitchell, Deirdre Nelson, and Robert Race and Freddie Robbins. A former director of contemporary applied arts, Mary has gathered together an exhibition which invites a response from the audience – a smile, a glimmer of recog- nition, or perhaps of surprise. Look out for one of England’s best recognised contem- porary folk artists working in papier-mâ- ché and mixed media, Julie Arkell, who creates fantastical works. Arkell “cannot resist the rejected debris of everyday life. She especially favours discarded toys for inspiration and printed textiles.” Robert Race also has a playful streak. He makes traditional toys, from moving toys for children and adults to kinetic sculptures and mobile decorations for hospitals and restaurants. He tries to make things which move in simple but interesting ways – go along and see if he succeeds.


Elsewhere, Freddie Robbins uses knitting to explore issues of the domestic, gender and the human condition. Lucy Casson’s tin and metal work is inspired by observa- tions of people and animals; their gestures and moods; scenarios and narratives. Admission: free. Info: 01792 652016 / www.missiongallery.co.uk (SW)


BUZZ 44


ROBERT SODEN: URBAN DELIGHT


BayArt Gallery, Bute Street, Cardiff Bay Sat 13 Nov-Fri 10 Dec Robert Soden’s paintings explore the contemporary city and urban regenera- tion. They make stars of skyscrapers and flyovers, chip shops and street furniture. The glowing eyes of street lights and headlights, the yellow aura of nocturnal high rises. Soden sees his work as a con- tinuation of the topographical tradition of Cotman, Girton and Turner. In his work he seeks to investigate the urban experience from “the grand, stage-managed public arenas to prosaic, everyday moments that are often taken for granted.” Urban Delight looks at the human ele- ment of city architecture – where and how people carry out their lives. Here, the painter uses detail, weather and light as metaphors for the politics of regeneration. His paintings are all made outside, in front of the motif, and because of this they have the veracity of the ‘lived’ experience. An established landscape painter, Robert Soden’s interest in architecture and urban life began when he lived and worked in Rome in the early 1980s. He has spent much of the last 20 years recording the changes to the city of Sunderland as it has undergone substantial redevelopment. Admission: free. Info: 029 2065 0016 / www.bayart.org.uk (SW)


PAUL REES: THE WHITE ROOM Swansea Grand Theatre Until Sat 13 Nov


From finger painting to fine art, Paul Rees, once a primary school teacher, decided to undertake a degree in fine art and theatre design at Swansea Metropolitan Univer- sity in 2005. Graduating in 2008, he now boasts a successful career as an artist, working mainly with oil painting. As well as putting on regular exhibits of his work throughout South Wales, he is also the arts worker for the Neath And Port Talbot Youth Offending Team. Born in Pontypool in 1971 but now living and working in Neath, Rees’ work is deeply rooted in South Wales culture. Theatre is particularly evident in his current exhibi- tion at Swansea Grand Theatre which includes numerous works very much inspired by his study and work in music and drama. His paintings demonstrate his love for theatre, not only what is portrayed onstage to an audience, but also what happens behind the scenes, with many paintings showing the theatre hands at work. Paul describes this backstage environment as “a shadowy, private world inhabited by stage crew and perform- ers, quietly working behind the scenes amongst the scenery flats, lighting, props and general clutter backstage.” Having recently been an exhibition finalist of the Glamorgan Art Purchase Prize, it seems that Paul will continue to flourish as an artist in Wales, demonstrated by this excellent exhibition which demonstrates his talent as an artist. Admission: free. Info: 01792 475715 / www.swansea.gov. uk (JT)


SHOW ONE OF EACH: PASCAL-MICHEL DUBOIS g39, Wyndham Arcade, Mill Lane, Cardiff


Until Sat 27 Nov


Established in 1998, g39 has carved itself a reputation for supporting emerging visual and contemporary artists in Wales and helping to position their work in an international context. November sees the return of their successful Show One Of Each season of solo exhibitions. This time showcasing work from French-born Pas- cal-Michel Dubois. Previous group exhibits of his include Not On White Paper at the Malt Cross Gallery and Mission Open 08 which showcased at Mission Gallery, Swansea, in 2008. “Time is running by our side and I can see my destiny in the corner of my eyes.” The essence of the exhibition, ‘I saw destiny in the corner of my eye’, comes from Dubois’ recent forages into his old, stored away possessions, many of which have not seen the light of day for some time. Dubois entices the spectator to question familiar fields of knowledge and imagination, whilst rebelling against the mechanics of seeing and the imposition of being seen by others in a certain way. Dubois explains his work as idle observa- tions of life, and this clearly comes across in this latest exhibition. Through using both sculptural utilities and photographic artefacts, Dubois leads a multi-dimension- al exploration into the significance of the ordinary, which leaves the viewer with a new way of viewing everyday possessions. Admission: free. Info: 029 2025 5541 / www.g39.org (JC)


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