Jonathan Mayhew : I Wanted to Write a Poem

Monday 27th February to Saturday 25th March 2017
Wexford Arts Centre

Wexford County Council and Wexford Arts Centre are pleased to present I Wanted to Write a Poem, a new exhibition of work by Jonathan Mayhew, winner of the Emerging Visual Artist Award 2015. The exhibition will run from 27th February to 25th March at Wexford Arts Centre.

The Emerging Visual Artist Award is a joint initiative between the Arts Council, Wexford County Council and Wexford Arts Centre which acknowledges and supports the development of committed visual artists in Ireland, providing funding to produce and exhibit a body of work.
The work of Jonathan Mayhew intertwines the poetic with post-conceptual practices. Through his interest in poetry, literature and technology, Mayhew manipulates physical and invisible materials to contemplate pockets of daily life.

The title of the exhibition is borrowed from a collection of interviews with poet William Carlos Williams. At 73 years old, Williams held a series of informal conversations which were sorted and compiled in a small book. Through the interviews, William did not elaborate on how he wrote his poems, their meanings or in which context they stand as he did not want to spoil the way people read his work. Similarly, the works in this exhibition, like brief conversations, are left for people to find, eavesdrop in and engage with. Asking, not what are you looking at, rather, what is it you’re seeing or not?

Metadata, information that describes other information, is also a means by which the complexity of an object is represented in a simpler form. Mayhew compares this process to poetry, where words are broken down into simpler forms but can still convey complexity. Poetry is an economic way of communication, finding the most concise way to say or ask something. Working with objects that already exist and shifting them slightly, Mayhew explores these thoughts through the physical and non-physical forms such as USB sticks, vases, portraits, photographs, clocks, discarded books, sound and words. These combined materials overcome their usual functions, implying that things are not always as they seem. Photographs that aren’t photographs, portraits that aren’t portraits, and objects that may seem familiar contain vastly different things inside.

One such work is ‘This is water’ a series USB infused vases. Vases function as containers, from displaying flowers and holding liquids, and are made up of different clays and materials with invisible histories. They can all look very different but still contain similar information/material or can look the same but hold many different things. USB flash drives are holders of various information like a vase, the contents of which are left open as a proposition to be discussed, rather than objects with a fixed meaning.

From Monday 27th February to Saturday 25th March 2017
Wexford Arts Centre

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