Graduated from North Wales School of Art & Design
Selected by Honor Pedican
Project/Project is a collaborative venture which explores ideas of control, chaos, order and disorder. Using playful, yet makeshift throwing devices, various objects are propelled across a space while photographs are rapidly taken throughout this extremely transient process. The resulting images depict abstract high speed assemblages, made from various pieces of the everyday in a state of chaos and flux. The objects that are introduced to the device are generally those which are familiar, but can attain many different associations as the gallery environment changes their status, a highly ambiguous status which makes us unable to fix a meaning upon them.
The aftermath of an event is significant to the work as its haunting calmness contradicts the anarchic process which had previously occurred. For the viewer, their personal experience after the authors' physical engagement with the work has taken place becomes an exhilarating activity, as they are required to view the debris in the same way as they might scrutinise a crime scene. A psychological reconstruction of the chain of events must take place in order for the viewers to begin understanding the work and subsequently, their own motives for being there.
More information on Leigh Williams
More information on Ben Hultum
Leigh Williams works in collaboration with first year student Ben Hultum. Their work has been chosen from a small number of MA Fine Art degree students, presently studying at Glyndwr University (formerly North East Wales Institute). I have found Leigh and Ben's work to be refreshing, uninhibited, distinctly current in what it evokes and highly worthy of 'MAstars' recognition.
The show consisted of a set of colour photographs that document what seems like explosions that result in debris (including children's toys) being propelled into the air some distance. On closer inspection the 'explosions' have been created using a home-made catapult device, on the underneath of two up-turned chairs. The 'debris' is shooting out of what seems to be a large balloon or plastic bag and this repeated activity is captured, in various studio settings, as ten colour stills.
The objects being emitted include toy cars, Lego pieces, plastic farm animals, shredded paper and some less ambiguous items. The combination of the associations with children's toys, the propelling and random dispersal of objects, along with the homemade device being the cause of such an event, brings the present conflicts of the world to mind. The new phenomenon of suicide bombers and the recent unrest in the Gaza Strip, along with the continuing conflicts in Iraq and Pakistan, come rushing back as I look at the toys strewn along the floor. Images that remind me of how children cover their ears and hide behind the legs of their parents, while western troops or Taliban insurgents take over their houses to fire at their enemy. We are reminded of the despair we witness in personal accounts by friends or family members, who have seen their loved ones being blown to pieces.
I haven’t been able to talk to Leigh (partly due to his seeming elusive nature) but his tutor has told me more about the collaboration. The students work under the title of 'Project/Project'. They have been influenced by the 'forensic aesthetic' described in the article 'Scene of the Crime' by Ralph Rugoff (The MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1997). The article refers to the American action painters of the 1950s, including Jackson Pollock and their concerns with an 'action' equalling an 'event'.
(Honor Pedican, 2009)
Qualifications and training
- 2009 MA Fine Art, Glyndwr University, formerly NEWI
- 2003 BA Hons Fine Art, (2nd and 3rd yr) 2:2 gained, NEWI (University of wales)
- 2001 BA hons Fine Art, (1st yr), Coventry University