Annwn (Online exhibition)
20 Jul – 15 Aug 2020
For the second exhibition on the Vortic Collect app as part of the London Collective, Sid Motion Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition of by Iwan Lewis.
“Annwn comes from the Welsh for Otherworld, appearing in native mythology as a place of milk and honey, a place free from afiechyd or disease. Unlike the Christian Otherworld, Annwn can appear in specific locations. I recognise my bilingual tongue as opposites similar to that of the real and the other. For me my mother tongue has become a time machine or a key to otherworldly portholes fixed to a specific region where dialect and class create nuances, where nation becomes irrelevant and where civilisation sits precariously on a pitted landscape. This linguistic porthole becomes a tool to escape and explore the other. The epic landscape can’t be reasoned with rationally over canvas instead it becomes a backdrop where narratives play out. Often the wet grey is exchanged with a hot sticky humidity; this is where Annwn truly exists as a sanctuary to keep nature’s true intentions at bay. Annwn serves as respite to the living not as a retreat for the dead.
The past and present merge into a vivid, oozing slime, history is never fully trusted, instead it waits to be misread and moulded into some mythical golem.
It’s not always crystal clear, the alchemy of paint can often redirect the inquiry, both ritual process and critical reasoning merge and contort to realise some kind of form, often informed by external cultural references, this form amalgamates into some kind of story telling or allegory, however they remain fragile with no beginning or end.
Contradictions are frequently embraced, economy is often laboured and the authentic is mostly appropriated. The noise that makes up a painting comes together to realise some fluidity, however this fluidity only takes shape through a sacrificial process where layers of images are painted over until a line or patch of colour starts to demand some attention, although this process could be described as accidental these accidents are forced to take shape or coaxed out.
The discipline of smearing pigment onto a surface offers a tangible bedrock for my conceptual process whether these paintings come together to form constellations or whether they remain solitary within their own rectangle borders, never fixed to one geographical location or ideological structure, a fictitious realm sucking on reality like a parasite, taking what it needs to use as building material. Relationships are always key, whether between the objects themselves or where the edges of colour meet, there’s always a desire to find a balancing point where two or more elements manage to bear one another and create some kind of dialogue. Doubt is measured as currency, certainty is usually vacant; my aim is never to come to any conclusion.”
Iwan Lewis (b. North Wales) is an artist and lecturer who graduated from BA (Hons) Fine Art at UWIC, Cardiff in 2002 and MA Painting, Royal College of Art, London in 2011. Lewis has exhibited extensively for the last decade. A selection of his recent exhibitions include: ‘Annwn’ at Sid Motion Gallery (solo, 2020) ‘Blason’ at Sid Motion Gallery, London, co-curated by Charlie Billingham (Group, 2019); ‘Nightswimming’, Lle Gallery at Mission Gallery, Swansea; ‘Birds That Eat Purple Flowers’, Chapel on the Green, Hay-on- Wye; ‘Celf’, North Wales Contemporary, Caernarfon, and ‘Hanes: Tales/Stories/Legends/Myths’, Aberystwyth Arts Centre. Earlier solo exhibitions include Gallery 6, MOSTYN, Llandudno and ‘Indian Summer’, The Ucheldre Centre, Anglesey. Lewis was awarded First Prize in Painting, Welsh Artist of the Year, 2012; was nominated for The Paul Hamlyn Award for Visual Artists, 2017 and is co-founder of the artist led space Studio Cybi.