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John Gingell Award, by Jennifer Pearce

(September 01, 2013)

John Gingell Award:
Toby Huddlestone and Alan Goulbourne at g39

The Gingell family and g39, (the artist led gallery and resource centre,) established the John Gingell Award following the pioneering art educator’s death in 2007. You will know John's work as he was the man behind Power Box, Meshchip and Blue Flash, a piece of beloved public art in East Tyndall Street, Cardiff. You may not know that he formalised performance art into time based studies at Cardiff School of Art, probably the first such course in Wales; therefore a real local hero.

Power Box, Meshchip and Blue Flash (1994), John GingellPower Box, Meshchip and Blue Flash (1994), John Gingell. Image: Glyn Baker

The award supports the career development of two artists, selected by open submission. The recipients of this January's award, Toby Huddlestone and Alan Goulbourne received curatorial and critical support from g39 and now present their resulting bodies of work in concurrent exhibitions there until 28 September.

The vast space g39 now inhabits has been further opened up by taking down the smaller spaces within. The artists have responded accordingly making some imposing pieces.

Toby Huddlestone

g39 Toby Huddlestone, 11 minutes (performance) g39 Toby Huddlestone's Editorial Pod  g39 Toby Huddlestones scaffold ramp
11 minutes (performance),
Toby Huddlestone

Image courtesy of g39
Toby Huddlestone's
Editorial Pod
Image courtesy of g39
Toby Huddlestone's
Scaffold ramp
Image courtesy of g39

Toby Huddlestone, a Swansea graduate, produces interdisciplinary artworks through dialogue, conversation and collaboration. His work takes many forms and he has also undertaken a curatorial bursary, so planning collecting and editing are themes in his work.

Toby started his ambitious work that is accumulating during the exhibition with 11 minutes, a performance lecture at the preview, at which he presented a brief history of his art career. His work will reach completion as a limited edition book.

A space is given over to Toby during the exhibition that is being filled up with documents describing the mechanics of putting together a solo show. So far, I spotted emails of discussion between curators and the artist, showing the considerations and niceties needed to have a good dialogue and successful working relationship and plan.

If you don't feel that's nosey enough for you, you can step into his Editorial pod and feel like you have broken into a meeting that has just left for coffee break. This small space, just outside g39's amazing library, which is open to all, has been set up like an intimate meeting complete with brainstorming whiteboard. I can’t help thinking Toby's work isn't just the art of self and societal examination, but actually an educational exemplar of practice. This is indeed complimentary to g39’s educational programme.

Alan Goulbourne


g39 Alan Goulbourne, Sorry Paul g39 Alan Goulbourne, Tree Study g39 Alan Goulbourne, Skin
Sorry Paul
Alan Goulbourne
Image courtesy of g39
Tree Study
Alan Goulbourne
Image courtesy of g39
Alan Goulbourne

Image courtesy of g3

Sorry Paul, 2013 by Alan Goulbourne is one of his newly developed sculptural works; it is jet black and shiny, like new paint or fresh tar. The form is made up of cubes or boxes that make a coherent form. As I walked around the sculpture a void became apparent. Rather like a Barbara Hepworth or Henry Moore this space became part of the sculpture itself. The void has a clear form, in this instance it was partly hidden, like finding a cave in a rock. It gave me the same quality of imagining myself inside. The block forms however seem to resonate with latent movement, as if they were pistons, or other machine parts, that may move without warning. The aesthetic was also reminiscent of computer aided graphics, like an ident for a games company or TV channel, something striking and dynamic. On closer inspection the blocks were not perpendicular. Many were placed just off kilter, really suggesting the human creation of the object and, I suspect, creating the feeling of movement.

His other sculptural works utilize sawn wood left raw. He often constructs bold and often physically overwhelming structures and he has produced work for exterior public art projects. Goulbourne is interested in both representational and abstract art. His works are influenced by science and nature and the relationship between them. He often employs a process of order and chaos, starting from a single gesture or mark, rising to a 'crescendo' of marks and movements that collectively embody simplicity and complexity, as might a pattern in nature.

His Tree Study piece in the exhibition seems to have done just that. I understood from the friendly invigilator that the arms of the tree can be disassembled; otherwise it would seem to need to grow there forever or be destroyed. Again cube forms have been used. With no visible means of extra support, they have been attached together to create this naturalistic, yet pixelated image of a tree.


Alan Goulbourne, a Cardiff Graduate, will be taking up a residency next year at Aberystwyth Arts Centre; an opportunity then to see how his practice will have further developed.



Power Box, Meshchip and Blue Flash (1994), John GingellPower Box, Meshchip and Blue Flash (1994), John Gingell. Image: Glyn Baker

The exhibitions run until Saturday, 28 September 2013, when there will be an evening event to launch Toby's book; between 18:00 and 21:00

Jennifer Pearce, 1 September 2013

Jennifer Pearce is the founder of Art Club and can be followed on Twitter

Links :

Oxford St, Cardiff CF24 3DT (just off City Road)
Telephone +44 (0) 29 2047 3633
opening times - 11:00 -17:00 Wednesday to Saturday

If you liked this, you'll also enjoy:
     Review: Eight and a half Welsh comedians, December 2013
The Albany Gallery, Cardiff
, Christmas Exhibition, December 2013
John Gingell Award at g39
, September 2013
Response, Annie Giles Hobbs, June 2013
     Review: Arcadecardiff, June 2013

     Review: St David’s Hall exhibition space - Triad and Mount Analogue, January 2013
Review: St David’s Hall Christmas Exhibition, January 2013
     Taming the Drew? Graffiti as art,
September 2012
     Review: Nothing Like Something Happens Anywhere - Chapter Arts Centre, Canton, Cardiff, August 2012
     National Museum of Art, contemporary galleries, March 2012


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