artist spotlight
Angela Davies

share your creative practice:
in conversation with Angela DAvies

What does it mean to you to join the North Lands Creative network and be part of building a community for glass?

 

I’m thrilled to be a part of the festival and I’m excited by interdisciplinary approaches to glass and the potentials of new opportunities for collaboration within this thriving community.

 

Tell us about your work. What influences translate into your art practice?

 

I am interested in what happens across Nature and the human body; the transitional states and patterns of behaviour within fragile systems. Discoveries are translated through a material practice and my evolving engagement with technological processes. I find that technology can often connect people to an experience through allowing  a sense of agency for interrogating abstract ideas.  
 
Meaningful exchanges across disciplines play an active role within my practice, such as speaking with climate scientists and exploring associated data sets. I explore methods to convey an embodied awareness of climate behaviours, seeking to bring complex information from a global situation down to a domestic scale. 
 

Has this changed the way you approach your work?

 

Yes, more recently I have been making connections between the political and the personal, between the intimate spaces we occupy in the real world but also in our inner worlds. Framing these meditations through themes of grief and loss, absence and presence from a personal and global level.

 

What initially captured your imagination about glass?

 

I’m inspired by the heritage of optical glass and the insights that this provides in extending our visions of worlds, from observing on the macro level through to the microscopic. I am particularly drawn to the alchemical nature of the material and the interplay of light with glass that gives the illusionary and holographic qualities of caustic imagery.

 

What’s the significance of the handmade to you?

 

For me engaging in a material practice brings a process to life. I like the idea of celebrating the perceived imperfections that can be present as a way of reflecting on traces of human touch. This extends to the way I think and work with technology and dialogues that blur the distinctions of handmade and manufactured process.

 

What was your route to becoming an artist?

 

Reflecting back I was influenced by adventures with my grandparents and my interaction with local environments, shaping myth and stories around place. I loved to make, draw and paint, I romanticised about becoming an artist. My parents wholly encouraged this dream, as the first to pursue the academic route, I navigated this with a thirst to learn and explore. Between my BA and MA I taught full time and after fully immersing myself in Masters studies ten years ago I took a leap of faith and submerged myself into a full time creative practice.

What is your chosen medium and what are your techniques?

 

This changes all the time. Recently I have been exploring fragility and impermanence through a material practice. I mould with ice, cast with salt, sculpt with porcelain, I use film, photography and sound to capture and extend these dialogues.

 

How would you describe your work and where do you think it fits within the sphere of contemporary glass?

 

The films that I’m showing as part of the festival integrates performance and projection. Technological explorations within the work encourage new perspectives and interactions with the complex materiality of glass, seeking to embody wider themes within contemporary culture.

 

Tell us a bit about your process and what environment you like to work in?

 

My process is responsive depending on what I’m working on or whom I’m working with. I value cross-
disciplinary exchanges and often engage in collaboration whether this is with artists, scientists, technologists or nature itself.
My studio is in a 19th century Carriageworks building. It is light and spacious but not always as quiet as I would like being on the edge of a town. Sitting in the space forms a kind of meditation. The act of walking out into the local landscape helps me evolve these constructs. I play… with words, draw, photograph, film and make to materialise the development of ideas.

 

Who do you look up to when it comes to aesthetics?

 

I have been thinking about this more on a sensorial level. I value the environments created by these particular pieces: Max Richter’s Sleep, Joan Jonas Ice Drawing, Anthony Gormley’s Blind Light, David Byrne’s American Utopia, Robert Wilson and Arvo Part’s Adam’s Passion.

 

What currently inspires you and which other artists do you admire and why?

 

My inspiration comes from interactions with nature, moments of stillness and dreams.
At the moment I am drawing upon: Italo Calvino’s Collection of Sand, Roland Barthes Mourning Diary, Sum by David Eagleman, David Nash, Katie Paterson, Pina Brausch, because I like to think about consciousness and the nature of being.

 

How are you experiencing the Covid-19 pandemic in your country? To what extent has your everyday life as an artist changed in lockdown?

 

Due to what seems to be the endless local/national lockdown in Wales I haven’t really travelled beyond
my local area in these last 12 months. This has influenced the way that I relate to place in terms of thinking of my work more in a local context, taking the time to observe the detail. The repetition of walking the same lines over and over…
How this has influenced my practice, I have found it to be a focused period of time opening up new pathways of working, encouraging deeper personal and emotional connections in the work. I have also been reassessing how best to reconnect with audiences in a meaningful way as we emerge out of lockdown.

Angela Davies

Davies lives and works in Wales. She works across the intersections of art, science, technology and nature to create sculpture, installation and performance. Her work engages with contemporary themes within the context of site, space and process and is often informed by phenomena of the natural world and perceptual experiences of it.

Recent Achievements include the Arts Council of Wales Creative Wales Award. She has exhibited her work at Watershed, Bristol, V2 Lab for the Unstable Media, S12 Galleri Bergen. Davies is a resident at Pervasive Media Studio, Bristol and has recently engaged in a residency at National Theatre Wales.

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