24 October - 21 November 1998

<b>Cheryl Hudgell</b>, <i>Absent Stock</i>, 1998.
Cheryl Hudgell, Absent Stock, 1998.

The disused basement of an office block in Cardiff has provided the inspiration for the work in Substation: ls-orsaf. Leaving behind the light at street level, the five artists take you down to a subterranean venue where they uncover and explore some of our darker fears and anxieties.

Cheryl Hudgell’s Absent Stock is a gruesome structure reminiscent of a clothesline. She hangs out the dirty washing with the garments hung like bodies on the lines. The work reflects experiences of de-personalisation, the repetition of the garments combined with the absence of a wearer point towards a kind of mass loss. Hudgell’s work deals with the body as ‘resource’. She draws attention to the capacity of humanity’s misuse of power, and her use of repetition comments on the scale of manmade tragedies.

Mark Walker’s video The Smoke Machine is a visual metaphor for attempting to define the indefinable, or containing the ephemeral. This installation continues an exploration of the parallels that exist between the properties of both dreams and smoke. A random and naturally unstable substance, the smoke forms images and is a clear analogy to imagery that is drawn from the subconscious by the dreamer.

Wayne Gruffudd uses an overload of language to describe breakdown in communication. A series of writings by cultural theoretician Clement Greenberg about ‘art’ become the subject of the work, but the meaning of the words is lost in the sheer amount of information presented to us. The work of the artist undermines the rhetoric about art from the critic. The paragraphs become blocks of grey in a wall of silent speech that loses meaning when presented in this context.

Cathy Herbert and Cheryl Lewis have made work that is poignant and reflective about memory and loss. Herbert’s installation incorporates half assembled dress patterns, gossamer cut outs and stitches that have never been finished, simple dress patterns hung on hangers or laid carefully on the floors of the basement space. The work deals with her relationship with her daughter who is also an artist and a sense of connection as well as separation between the two of them. Cheryl Lewis’ work was produced while she was carrying her daughter Maia. Paper shades have been transformed into floating and swaying figures suspended in the space like cast off cocoons, ephemeral and ghostly. She looks at her own shift from daughter to mother and the act of discarding a part of herself in a step to a new life.

“In our civilisation which has the same light everywhere and puts electricity in its cellars, we no longer go to the cellar carrying a candle. But the unconscious cannot be civilised. It takes a candle when it goes to the cellar.”
Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space

  • <b>Cheryl Hudgell</b>, <i>Absent Stock</i>, 1998.
  • <b>Wayne Gruffudd</b>, <i>Untitled</i>, 1998.
  • <b>Cheryl Lewis</b>, <i>Untitled</i>, 1998.
  • <b>Cathy Herbert</b>, <i>Untitled</i>, 1998.
  • <b>Cheryl Hudgell</b>, <i>Absent Stock</i> (detail), 1998.