Artist Alan Goulborne only graduated from Cardiff School of Art & Design six months ago yet he has already managed to secure an impressive reputation for himself in the fiercely competitive visual arts scene. Last year Goulbourne’s work was selected for the Chapter Arts Centre hoardings commission, while this year he is on the eight-person shortlist for the prestigious Jerwood Sculpture Prize.
During his last year at Arts school, Goulbourne produced a number of artworks that were inspired by music, for which he has an eclectic taste. For the university’s degree exhibition he created Left To Right, an artwork that mixed painting and installation and attempted to translate elements of music-making such as tone, rhythm, pace and melody into a visual form. Another piece, Resonance (pictured), was a wall-mounted work made up of chunks and shards of wood that burst out from a central explosion depicting a single burst of sound, like the crash of a symbol or the bang of a drum.
This latter piece would go on to be the inspiration for the artist’s first public commission; Chapter Arts Centre in Canton wanted Goulbourne to create a large-scale version of Resonance to adorn the hoardings that partially obscure the building’s ongoing redevelopment work. The finished piece is both visually arresting and a great metaphor for the burst of cultural regeneration the improved Arts Centre will bring to Cardiff. It’s also accessible to both the casual and the more artistically aware audience, because as Goulborne explains, his work “is always open for people to read in there own interpretations or just enjoy it visually.”
Later in 2008 Goulbourne worked as an assistant to the acclaimed Welsh Art duo Heather and Ivan Morrison, and in September he was invited to exhibit work in Track & Field, a sculpture and installation exhibition at tactileBOSCH Gallery, Llandaff.
However, his biggest achievement to date is his short-listing for the prestigious Jerwood Sculpture prize for Beehive (pictured), a proposed piece of work he has developed with fellow Cardiff School of Art & Design graduate Marielle Hogg. At present the proposed work exists only as a maquette which is currently on exhibit in London, however if the two win the prize they will be commissioned to create a full-scale version of the proposal in the grounds of Ragley Hall, Warwickshire.
Beehive, if built, would be a honeycomb shaped, two-floored wooden building which the audience can enter. Once inside and on the second floor they will find themselves enclosed in a calm and softly lit room. The walls of the space would be made up of a grid system from which wooden beams will individually move in and out towards the spectator and back again in a smooth wave pattern that travels around the circumference of the room.
“It’s about trying to reflect life in a simple motion,” says Goulbourne. “I was inspired a bit by waves. A wave is pretty powerful yet it’s made up of just lots of tiny insignificant particles. That is what you have in Beehive; small particles of information all moving together as one body and creating a powerful motion.”
It’s presently a tense time for Goulbourne as he waits on the verdict of the Jewood Prize judging panel, however regardless of the outcome he’s keen to get back to making more work, “I think the best thing I can do is get as much work done as possible, get it out there for people to see.”
More info on the Jerwood Sculpture Arts prize is available here