Arddangosfa o waith Jamie Reid gan Tomos Sparnon

O 24 Ionawr i 1 Mawrth 2020, cynhaliwyd arddangosfa o waith yr artist adnabyddus Jamie Reid yn GS Artists, Abertawe.  

Mae GS Artists (Galerie Simpson gynt) yn gyfarwydd ag arddangos gwaith artistiaid llwyddiannus ac adnabyddus, er enghraifft Sir Peter Blake, Gavin Turk, Cecile Johnson Soliz a Tim Davies i enwi rhai, ond roedd rhywbeth gwahanol ynglŷn ag arddangos gwaith Jamie Reid gan ei fod nid yn unig yn artist ond yn enwog am ei gysylltiad â’r byd cerddorol a pholiticaidd ac fel ymgyrchydd. Yn wir, dywedodd artist o Abertawe wrthyf fod Reid yn arwr iddi, yn enwedig yn y 1970au. 

Pan soniodd Jane Simpson (artist a sefydlydd GS Artists/Galerie Simpson) y llynedd am y posibilrwydd o gynnal arddangosfa o waith Jamie Reid, rhaid i fi gyfaddef nad oeddwn yn gyfarwydd â’r enw. Ond pan welais ddelwau o’i waith, cofiais fy mod wedi eu gweld o’r blaen mewn llyfrau ac ar-lein a chofiais hefyd ifi gael fy nharo ganddynt. Yn y misoedd yn dilyn hyn, edrychais ymlaen at weld y gwaith yn y cnawd gan ddychmygu’r gwahanol bosibiliadau o arddangos y gwaith. 

Roedd y broses o helpu gosod yr arddangosfa, yn yr oriel a thu allan, gyda chyfarwyddwyr eraill a gwirfoddolwyr GS Artists yn un arbennig, fel arfer, ac yn enwedig o dan arweiniad y galerïwr John Marchant. Ar ôl gosod gwaith Reid yn ei le, cefais fy nhywys o amgylch yr arddangosfa gan Marchant. Roedd gwrando arno’n disgrifio gwaith Reid – ei fywyd a’r dylanwad y mae ei waith wedi ei gael ar gelf, cerddoriaeth a chymdeithas, yn arbennig, ac yn hynod ddiddorol.  

Cefais fy nharo gan sawl peth yn yr arddangosfa. Y peth cyntaf oedd darn, sy’n rhan o driptych, sy’n cynnwys delwedd o Orsedd y Beirdd Eisteddfod Genedlaethol Cymru. Cafodd Reid ei fagu o dan ddylanwad Derwyddiaeth ac mae’r dylanwad hwnnw’n amlwg yn hwn. Mae rhywbeth dirgel am y darn ac awyrgylch tywyll sy’n fy niddori. Mae’n apelio ataf hefyd oherwydd fy nghysylltiad i â’r Eisteddfod – sefydliad sy’n agos at fy nghalon. Mae’r darn yn Gymreig a hanesyddol ond mae rhywbeth annaearol amdano hefyd.  

Roedd yr arddangosfa’n cynnwys gwaith Reid o’r 1970au hyd heddiw. Roedd rhywbeth hyfryd am hyn gan ei fod yn ein galluogi i weld y datblygiad yn ei waith a gweld sut mae pethau wedi newid a heb newid yn y byd dros y blynyddoedd. Roedd hefyd yn fodd inni weld sut mae Reid wedi arbrofi gyda gwahanol dechnegau, deunyddiau a chyfryngau (fel argraffu â sgrin, inc, collage, gwaith digidol a phosteri) yn ystod ei yrfa er mwyn dod o hyd i’r ffordd orau o gyfleu gwahanol negeseuon. Fel artist, roeddwn wrth fy modd â hyn.

Rhywbeth arall y cefais fy nghyffroi ganddo oedd y cabinet gwydr a oedd yn llawn delweddau, gan gynnwys ‘cut-outs’ gwreiddiol Reid. Roedd edrych yn y cabinet hwn fel edrych i mewn i feddwl Reid. Teitl traethawd hir fy ngradd yn y brifysgol ddwy flynedd yn ôl oedd ‘Archwiliad o stiwdio’r artist fel gofod archifol gweithredol’ ac roedd y cabinet hwn fel archif, yn enwedig o’r 1970au. Wrth edrych ar y cabinet hwn hefyd, gallwn ddychmygu’r math o stiwdio a fyddai gan Reid ac roedd hyn yn gwneud ifi feddwl am stiwdios artistiaid eraill fel Francis Bacon a Sir Peter Blake. 

Efallai mai’r prif beth y cefais fy niddori ganddo oedd y delweddau o waith Reid a osodwyd yn y strydoedd, y tu fa’s i’r oriel. I fi, roedd yna agwedd o brotestio ac ymgyrchu wrth osod y delweddau ar adeiladau, ac yn fy marn i, roedd hyn yn cyd-fynd â’r neges y tu ôl i’r gwaith. Roedd hefyd, wrth gwrs, yn ffordd effeithiol o ddenu pobl i’r arddangosfa na fyddai, o bosib, wedi dod heblaw am hynny. Erbyn hyn, mae’r rhan fwyaf o’r delweddau wedi diflannu o ganlyniad i’r gwynt a’r glaw ond mae hyn yn fy niddori hefyd gan ei fod yn awgrymu byrhoedledd a’r ffaith mai dros dro yw llawer o bethau’r ddaear hon.   

Yr hyn a ddysgais yn fwy na dim o’r arddangosfa hon yw nad ‘Mr Punk’ yn unig yw Jamie Reid – mae wir yn hidio am y bregus. 

An English translation of this post follows below the gallery.

An exhibition of the work of Jamie Reid by Tomos Sparnon

From 24 January to 1 March 2020, an exhibition of the work of the renowned artist Jamie Reid was held at GS Artists, Swansea.

GS Artists (formerly Galerie Simpson) is used to showcasing the work of successful and well-known artists, for example Sir Peter Blake, Gavin Turk, Cecile Johnson Soliz and Tim Davies to name a few, but there was something different about exhibiting Jamie Reid’s work as he is not only an artist but renowned for his connection with the musical and political world and also as a campaigner. Indeed, a Swansea-based artist told me Reid was her hero, especially in the 1970s.

When Jane Simpson (artist and founder of GS Artists/Galerie Simpson) mentioned the possibility of holding an exhibition of Jamie Reid’s work, I must admit that I was not familiar with the name. But when I saw images of his work, I remembered that I had seen them previously in books and online and also remembered being struck by them. In the months that followed, I looked forward to seeing the work in the flesh and imagined the different possibilities of exhibiting the work.

Helping to set up the exhibition, both in the gallery and outside, with other directors and volunteers of GS Artists was a great experience, as usual – especially under the guidance of the gallerist John Marchant. After hanging Reid’s work, I was shown around the exhibition by Marchant. Listening to him describing Reid’s work – his life and the influence Reid’s work has had on art, music and society, was fascinating.

I was struck by several things in the exhibition. The first piece, which is part of a triptych, contains an image of the Gorsedd of the Bards at the National Eisteddfod of Wales. Reid was brought up under the influence of Druidism and that influence is evident in this piece. There is something mysterious about it and a dark atmosphere that fascinates me. It also appeals to me because of my connection with the Eisteddfod – an organisation that is close to my heart. The piece is Welsh and historical but there is something eerie about it too.

The exhibition featured Reid’s work from the 1970s up until today. There was something special about this as it allowed us to see the development in his work and to see how things have changed/haven’t changed in the world over the years. It also enabled us to see how Reid has experimented with different techniques, materials and media (such as screen printing, ink, collage, digital work and posters) during his career to find the best way to convey different messages. As an artist, I loved this.

Something else that excited me was the glass cabinet full of images, including Reid’s original cut-outs. Looking in this cabinet was like looking into Reid’s mind. The title of my dissertation at university two years ago was ‘An exploration of the artist’s studio as an active archival space’ and this cabinet was like an archive, especially from the 1970s. Through looking at this cabinet, I could also imagine the kind of studio Reid would have, and this made me think of other studios, like those of Francis Bacon and Sir Peter Blake.

What interested me more than anything possibly were the images of Reid’s work that were placed in the streets, outside the gallery. To me, placing these images on buildings implied an element of protesting and campaigning, and in my opinion it was in keeping with the message behind the work. It was also, of course, an effective way of attracting people to the exhibition who might not otherwise have come. Most of the images have disappeared by now as a result of wind and rain but this also fascinates me, as it implies ephemerality and the fact that many things on this earth are transient.

What I learnt more than anything from the exhibition is that Jamie Reid is not just Mr Punk – he cares for the vulnerable.