Arbrofol was an immersive art exhibition at Galeri Caernarfon that ran from 22/07/23 - 02/09/23.
The exhibition brought together new painting and improvised music to present a sensory experience in a brightly coloured galley space that dealt imaginatively with the way people discovered and engaged with abstract visual art and improvised music.
The idea to create an immersive space in which to perform improvised music and show my paintings originated in or around 2019 with a working title of 'The Improvisation Room' but remained on hold due to the pandemic.
The interplay between visual art and music is one that I explore in my studio practice, but I wanted to further explore the creation/presentation of music and painting in a public space and to engage with an audience.
I planned to use the exhibition space to create /record improvised music at two pre planned events that would then be played back into the gallery. Other musicians and visual artists would be invited to a pair of workshops during the exhibition in which they would perform with me in response to the installation through music, painting and drawing this would also be documented.
The paintings in the exhibition were named after the mountain peaks of the Ogwen valley although the images themselves were not direct depictions of landscapes, more internalised echoes of the places where I live.
By connecting the images to real places, I hoped the audience to consider the painting with greater depth than
The paintings were made using imagery from sketchbook drawings of spontaneously created calligraphic forms that in turn were created in response to my own improvised music.
The paintings worked like maps, contours or mnemonic aids which sought to explore an understanding of a world that was physical as opposed to conceptual. A world which acknowledged its own materiality and physicality, embracing its fundamental elements to construct an original language of expression.
The brightly coloured layers of the paintings implied depth, creating an internal landscape waiting to be occupied.
The work explored the connection between painting and music and the parallels between them in terms of technique and approach. Paint has no boundaries no rules, after all it’s just paint. It mixes with whatever it comes into contact with, it is constantly in flux and the colours produced are rarely judged as being wrong or right.
I wanted to question why couldn’t this be said of improvised music and specifically the sound of the guitar? It’s a question of dissonance v consonance that has forced me to rethink my guitar playing and to explore new approaches and methods of making music that mirror and influence the way I paint.
Preparatory painting for the exhibition began in Dec 22 on receipt of the project funding with the 8 main paintings being started in Jan 23. The bulk of the painting work was completed by June 2023
Consultation with the creative team regarding the workshops & events continued throughout Dec 22 - July 23. This included regular project meetings with Galeri, Chris Parfitt, SHIFT and Ty Cerdd. In the end regular consultation with O Prendergast was not required for the development of the paintings.
Development of the workshops with Chris Parfitt also included a trial run of the workshop plan at a separate Ty Cerdd event on 28.02.23.
Exhibition Launch Sat 22nd July 2023
The exhibition opened with performances by Hopewell Ink and a trio of Maggie Nichols, Ash Cooke and Chris Parfitt