Photography : Mario Martin
A performance made in response to the SURFACE WORK exhibition of paintings and drawings by Scots artist Roanne O'Donnell at Toro Spacio Ronda 31st May - 1st July 2018.
The exhibition consisted of brooding textured graphite drawings and paintings that refer to the coal mining tradition in Scottish mines of the artist’s family. Alongside the drawings she showed photographs with biographical descriptions of the strong women and others in her family who bore and supported the coalminers.
British performance artist Clare Carswell made a performance work, BLOW, in response to the exhibition on Friday 29th June.
Introducing vivid colour and new air into the space she breathed on each of the paintings or the photographs of Roanne's ancestors and left small pink marks by or on some of the works. The video "Where Did You Go" made by Clare when her own mother died played during the piece with her voice filling the space with those words. Having walked slowly through the gallery stopping at each of Roanne's works, her persona then shifted from statuesque and solitary, not making eye contact with anyone as she performed these actions, to friendly and smiling as she offered her orange rope to Roanne to hold and then invited the audience to hold it too and to follow her out of the gallery and into the street as she sang a refrain from the Scots folk song "My Bonnie Lies over the Ocean". The audience included several ex pats who joined in the song.
Clare says of the experience “Roanne and I are both Celts and share a sense of respect for the struggles our ancestors faced as migrants settling in the British Isles. Both pieces of work, Roanne's exhibition and my performance, act as contemporary response and revelation of a history that is disappearing as well as an homage to our family histories and an affirmation of the bond that she and I share as artists and friends.”
With thanks to Roanne O’Donnell and to Claudio Carrillo Godino at Toro Spacio. Thank you to Mario Martin photographer at Foto Estudio Juan Manuel Ronda for www.fotojmanuel.com
In the U.K. thanks to Helen Richardson Couture for my costume and to Hidden Beauty Oxfordshire for my nails.