Saturday, 22 November 2008

Off to Wrexham!

Well, it's quite a drive from Aberystwyth but I made a day of it, stopping at MOMA (no, not the Museum of Modern Art in New York, but the Museum of Modern Art in Machynlleth!) where I saw a really nice exhibition by Geoff Sansbury (some of the figurative work is Baconesque). Had to order from the breakfast menu at the CAT cafe, because the main meals weren't ready yet - I had been so looking forward to my usual, the pizza on wholemeal base with salad and a root beer (or the closest facsimile one can get to it in Wales). Scrambled eggs on toast really isn't their strong point - I don't recommend it. The dandelion coffee was nice, though. Then took the scenic route through Corris, bypassing Dolgellau, Bala, and Llangollen and got to the outskirts of Wrexham in good time, only to get snarled in the one way system and a crush of Christmas shoppers. I thought no one was shopping this year! Parking is almost impossible unless you surrender to the massive multistory carpark, but I managed to find a street with terraced houses nearby. I still didn't know where the library was, and as I was carrying other people's work in addition to my own, I didn't want to risk damaging anything so knew I needed to make two trips. The hazards in a busy pedestrian shopping zone multiply when carrying a largish canvas that is not yours, even if it is shrouded in bubble wrap: running children, strollers, shouting teenagers, and especially cigarettes suddenly seem incredibly lethal.

Oriel Wrecsam (that's Welsh for Wrexham Gallery) is located in the same building as the public library, and is a single, large, well-lit space supplemented by a second gallery inside the library itself. The room for dropping off work was round the corner, staffed by very nice if somewhat harrassed people, and almost full to the bursting. There must have been well over three hundred works there, mostly painting but quite a lot of sculpture and a few photographs (including mine). I think a lot of serious pruning will take place by judges Iwan Bala et. al. next week. Or else there will be loads of room dividers groaning under floor-to-ceiling work.

Did a little window / charity shop shopping then found the lovely church (parish church of St. Giles) all lit up on the outside and stuffed with an unfeasible number of charity Christmas cards for sale inside. I expected a table with a couple dozen packs but this was really excessive: there were tables for each charity stretching back a good twenty-five feet at the back of the nave, with a facing row of tables displaying other merchandise. The carvings etc. were quite nice: angels, I think, for the person in third year photography researching angels, but up on the ceiling (where you might say they belonged), and a recently discovered partially preserved Victorian mural over the altar.

On the way back I stopped at the Morlan Centre in Aberystwyth where the Christian Union was just taking down the 'Free' exhibition. It looked like they'd been having a good time and there was a selection of interesting prints by one of my second year friends. I was informed that over eighty people had attended, and lots of good discussion came out of the images. They're going to have a similar event in April, and asked if I could contribute again. I certainly could!

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