Oriel Davies Gallery

Towards the end of February I visited the Oriel Davies Gallery in Newtown, Powys. It was the first time that I had visited the light airy gallery and was pleasantly surprised by what I discovered. There were two exhibitions taking place based on photo-realism. One was by John Salt and the other by Roland Hicks, but in between the two large, bright galleries I found the smallest exhibition space I have ever seen. In there Gaia Persico was showing some of her work.

The "In Focus" space has been recently completed as a tiny gallery. It was just 158cm wide by 212cm in length, with a hight of 219cm. The interior was painted a muted green-grey and even the matt tiles on the floor were the same colour. The effect was calming and meditative and set off the wall based art work of Gaia Persico sympathetically.

The artist was unknown to me but I discovered that she was born in Rome 34 years ago and now lives in London and Wrexham. She works as an air-hostess and combines her artistic talents with her work, drawing what other travellers might miss in the opulence of international hotels, where she fills her time in between flights. She often uses the hotel stationary provided in her room as her materials of creativity, incorporating the logos of the hotel groups into her drawings. However t he images in the exhibition look at first glance like paintings, but on closer inspection they were obviously printed.

The seven computer generated images that created a panorama in the tiny "In Focus" gallery were produced on Gaia Persico's laptop computer, using the photo-shop programme, which she saved and later printed out. The images were all the same size, 30cm wide by 20cm high and mounted onto thin board. They were arranged in a line at eye level and must have been attached to the wall with double sided stickers. There were three pictures on the wall opposite the sliding door and two on the walls eithor side. The spaces between each picture was exactly the same and the images seemed to flow into each other making a continuous line of work. The lighting in the gallery was low and when your eyes got used to the effect, the dark colours set off the odd spots of brightness which seemed to twinkle in the gloom.

The subject matter of the exhibition, which was entitled "Singapore Panorama", was a view from the 70th floor in the Equinox Bar at night. There were no figues to be seen in the semi-representational work and the shapes were made up of flat blocks of colour which often ran into the next picture giving continuity to the panorama. The positive and negative blocks that were created by the different tones and colours gave a hard brittleness to the work. The cool atmoisphere was impersonal and solitary, very much how Gaia Persico must have seen the hotel in which she had to stay so far from home.

The impression I received from the tiny gallery was an intimate space that Gaia Persico had chosen to fill with a lonely personal experience of someone a long way from home. It was like a sad private world high up in the night sky.

Student on the Diploma Course in Professional Printmaking, Yale College, Wrexham.