CHRIS BIRD-JONES: WE ARE ALL FRAGILE | ART REVIEW
If there was an award for the exhibition title which most perfectly captures the mood of the present moment, then surely Swansea-based artist Chris Bird-Jones would clinch it with the beautiful and searching rydym I gyd yn fregus / we are all fragile. Primarily a sculptor of glass and a previous incumbent of the coveted Creative Wales Ambassadorship, Bird-Jones’s talent has taken her all across the globe (in those halcyon, pre-pandemic days, of course). She has represented Wales in such far-flung places as Japan and Hawaii, and has been inspired by each.
Her work celebrates and elevates the commonplace, using smooth, sensuous lines and a masterful understanding of light to create forms which are simultaneously powerful and playful, sacred and secular. In her latest exhibition, spoons take centre stage. In her capable, sensitive hands, these everyday objects are transformed from mere utensils, valued only for the precious cargos they cradle, into wondrous, elusive forms which captivate and confound in equal measure.
The exhibition has found a fitting home in Swansea’s Mission Gallery, an inviting and intimate space which – not unlike the humble spoon – has cradled many an artist through the years. During lockdown, an impressively sharp and detailed virtual tour of the exhibition has been made available via the gallery’s website, allowing us a rare (and completely legal!) opportunity to escape the current restrictions by running headlong into the solace and pleasure that art, at its most poignant and personal, provides.
Mission Gallery, Swansea. Available to view online until further notice, and will show when the gallery reopens. Admission: free. Info: 01792 652016 / www.missiongallery.co.uk
words RACHEL REES photos DEWI TANNATT LLOYD