EnglUniau1 is the title of Gareth Owen’s latest project and it coincides with the launch of his book Rhyw LUN o Hunangofiant (published by Gwasg Carreg Gwalch).
In the past, the starting point for many of his images was the poetry of others but, because of his delight in producing englynion, he started combining images with his englynion. He did this for the first time in his previous project Llanuwchllyn, and has further developed this aspect in this current project.
We are used to poets responding to works of art and artists responding to poetry but it is comparatively rare to come across imagery and poetry by the same person.
Many of Gareth Owen’s englynion are visual and lend themselves to the interaction of word and image. He has always been able to relate his way of working with poets because poetry more often than not convey conceptions, and are full of symbolism and metaphors – which are not always present in visual art.
He also realises that the best response to his work comes from the Welsh-speaking community and he was very conscious of this audience when contemplating the EnglUniau project. Despite his desire to push boundaries, he is very reluctant to do so in case he loses contact with this audience.
He decided to continue with the impersonal style with the aid of a computer, and to introduce a three-dimensional element to interact with the impression of depth on a twodimesional surface. It is also appropriate for a series of englynion on a visual background to be presented through the medium of paper collage. This led to coining the title EnglUniau.
The process of producing the EnglUniau vary. Sometime the englyn comes first, at other time the image. They can also be divided into categories – commemorative, political, religious, visual art and conceptual.
1 An englyn (plural: englynion) is a 4-line verse in strict metre unique to Wales where each line contains a repeating pattern of consonants and accents known as cynghanedd. Engluniau is a play on words as ‘llun/lluniau’ (or ‘lun/luniau’) = image/images.