My thanks to the collaborators: to Jordan Morley, who modelled and encouraged, to Jeffery Beam, who wrote the glorious poetry, to Pete Telfer, who filmed, edited and supported, to Sarah Parvin, who never stopped believing, to Peter Byrom-Smith who made the music, and last but not least among the collaborators, to Maria Maestre, who inspired and cheered all of us from afar.
The Arts Centre staff have been wonderful. Eve Ropek, together with Tim Walley and Jen Loffman, worked tirelessly to produce, present and run the exhibition to the highest standards. It looked fantastic, better than I dared hope.
My framer, Anthony at Oriel y Bont, danced around my crazed schedule of delivering new works right up to the finishing line. His care and attention to every detail of the presentation of paintings and drawings, meant that I was able to pour my energies where they were most needed.
Finally the exhibition was ready and it was time to throw open the doors to the gallery.
Poet Gillian Clarke enthralled guests with her opening speech. Mary Ann Constantine wrote the preview for Planet Magazine, and later during the run of the exhibition expertly guided the evening of ‘Conversation’ in front of an audience in the cinema auditorium. Francesca Rydderch introduced Dark Movements in the handsome fold-out presented to visitors to the gallery. Eric Roberts, Damian Walford Davies and Mary Ann Constantine read the poetry of Jeffery Beam and Catriona Urquhart to visitors at a gallery event, and Damian read an extract from his libretto for The Mare’s Tale, the 2013 chamber-work by composer Mark Bowden based on my Mari Lwyd drawings. Eric, who had performed the original piece, sang to close the event, and we were all without words after his hauntingly beautiful performance.
Finally, I come to Peter Wakelin. Without his support there would be no Dark Movements. Let’s face it, there wouldn’t be anything. He is and has always been my rock. When I’m preoccupied, driven and obsessed, I know I cannot be an easy person to be around. Most of you see the best of me, but he gets all the dark stuff too, and yet he continues, unwavering.
On Saturday July 25th I’m to give a maquette-making workshop titled Illusions of Life at the Arts Centre, and at the end of business on that day, the gallery doors will close and the exhibition Dark Movements will be over. I’ll try to organise a few minutes alone in the space before I walk away from it. I imagine it will be rather like taking leave of a group of friends brought together for a special occasion. So many of you are tied up in the exhibition in so many ways, and your presences have been felt there… even those of you who because of great distances weren’t able to come… woven into the warp and weft of the work.
After such an intense period of collaboration and sharing, I know it will feel very odd indeed when the curtain has come down and the show is over. There will be a crash for me of some sort, and I must work out strategies for getting through it. This one feels as though it will be painful. I have never before in my practice as a painter worked quite so extensively and so enjoyably with so many. It will be the oddest sensation not to be daily in the company of such a group as this one has become.
Your support and creative energy have been fuel to the work. Your streams of e-mails and messages have kept me fizzing. There are other projects to look forward to, and the friendships will continue, I know. But this particular party, which I have so enjoyed, will be over.
Work begets work, and ideas develop from what gets made. I intend to continue building on what was started in Dark Movements. I feel the dance isn’t quite over yet.