GESAMKUNSTWERK (Craft in the Bay)

Today I visited the ‘Craft in the bay’ gallery in Cardiff Bay. This is a familiar gallery to me and one of my favourite ones to view. The exhibition I viewed was ‘Weave’. I was expecting to see a lot of textile work (which isn’t particularly my favourite)there was but I found some lovely glass work and multimedia workwhich I was drawn to.

The first Artist I saw which I really found to be interesting was Ruth Harries.

Here is her work showcased in the ‘Weave’ exhibition,


(Titled from Left to right) Cradle, Block, Circuit, Loop, Spiral, Cylinder, Attachment.

On Ruth’s website she says her work is ‘unexceptional items that might otherwise have been discarded and overlooked, re-stimulating the use of hand stitch and creating of sculptures of dark beauty.’

I was drawn to her work because at first glance it appeared to be a dark silhouette and on closer inspection my eyes uncovered the hidden objects, the nails, the wire, the screws and the wood, and suddenly the flat almost 2D silhouette became an object that was dark and was interesting for my eyes to read. I love the ‘hidden’ element and how the work that was once appeared ‘soft’ transforms into quite a dark conceptual object.

Function- It’s a conceptual object of art, with meaning and not much function. It has a contemporary shape and texture. There was function within the hidden objects like the screws and nails but has now lost their function to become this dark form. It gives us the thought of how these common objects which are raw and tactile loses their power when bound into these new objects. I really love these objects. I think the lack of function is an interest of mine because I do tend to sway towards the conceptual side of an object or art. Does it need to be functional? that is the question I always ask myself.

Material- The material is very important in this piece because without the harshness of the hidden materials, the softness of the 2D silhouette becomes the main focal point weakening the concept. I love the clashing materials used in this object, the harshness of the screws/nails against the soft mouldable fabrics. This fight between the materials interests me.

Craftsmanship- There are great skill in the way of binding these materials together. There is great skill in having the ability to make a hard avalible object look soft and 2D, by the use of one block bold colour like black.

Expression- Expression plays a vital role in Ruth Harries work, it all relies on concept and how the viewer sees the objects. It seems a soft and contemporary shape/silhouette at first but on closer inspection the sharper outlines become clearer and it then soon becomes something new, a more darker concept. I loved the adventure of finding the hidden objects and I would love to replicate that concept in my work. I love the use of harsh objects, the nails and screws which lose their purpose when bound by the soft fabric/string.


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