Artist Angela Davies was appointed to be artist in residence for six months at St Asaph Cathedral from June 2014 to January 2016. The opportunity, funded by Arts Council of Wales, has allowed the artist to explore broader themes relating to pilgrimage and how transformative experiences can be expressed to a wider public. Angela is currently working towards a final exhibition at the cathedral at the end of January 2015.
The residency seeks to investigate contemporary meanings of ‘pilgrimage’. Defined as a ‘pilgrim’s journey’ or ‘a journey to a place of particular interest or significance’, the role of pilgrimage in church life and history is a long and important one. The aftereffects of pilgrimage in particular, are a rich source of imagery for artists, with the potential to question the lasting consequences of transformative change and development that these journeys often bring.
The Diocese launched a Year of Pilgrimage programme in May 2013. Angela Davies has been talking with pilgrims and, through these conversations, investigating what it is to be a pilgrim in the 21st Century.
Through a continuing programme of work with artists the Diocese aims to:
- Make a difference to local communities
- Raise the profile of the Diocese and its work with pilgrimage
- Make the Cathedral more accessible through high-quality contemporary art activity and experiences
- Create innovative artworks that speak to wide audience
The project is funded by the Arts Council of Wales, which is funding a series of research residencies with key partners that aim to put contemporary art practice at the core of organisations’ work.
Angela’s work conveys an emerging cultural dialogue between past and present. The relationship between land and mythology is often explored to create ecological, ephemeral light-installations with the intersection of architectural, sculptural and organic form.
Angela practice often conveys the message of marking time through manipulating space and using textiles, particularly lace. This fine, open fabric provides a technical and historical framework. Lace is fragile, desirable and precious and occupies a territory, a threshold of space. It contains a pattern, structure and order, a cultural narrative, that of the people that worked collaboratively within communities to create it. The artist often uses new technologies within her installation and performance pieces combining laser cut textiles with light, projections, films and specially composed music, often in collaboration with others. Angela has said of her practice:
Angela is planning a series of temporary artworks, performances and other events created with input from the public, volunteers and staff to mark the end of her residency in January 2015.
‘The juxtaposition of tradition with new methods of technological processes interconnects the concept of marking time with past and present to illuminate an illusion of a future. To challenge the position of craft through engaging with materiality to create a new material that epitomises the defining characteristics of lace. The machine works as a tool and maps the hand drawn, it has become the shadow of the pencil, the shadow of the past’
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