Mae Rhodri Owen yn rhyfeddu at ein tuedd gynyddol i edrych nôl, yn hiraethus gan amlaf, yn hytrach na chofleidio heddiw ac edrych ymlaen i’r dyfodol. Mae dau ystyr i I’r Byw – sut mae profiadau yn ein cyffwrdd yn emosiynol, ac hefyd symud y sylw o gofio’r gorffennol at y byw, at heddiw a’r dyfodol.

Ar yr un pryd, tra’n dylunio a saernio Cadair Eisteddfod Genedlaethol 2017, canmlwyddiant y Gadair Ddu eiconig, trawyd Rhodri gan sut y ’sgubwyd bywydau a gobeithion cenhedlaeth gyfan i ffwrdd gan rymoedd tu hwnt i’w rheolaeth, mewn modd na fyddden nhw na’u teuluoedd byth wedi ei ragweld.

Tra bo’r Gadair honno yn un seremoniol a symbolaidd, yma’n gweithio gyda derw, pîn a sapele defnyddiodd Rhodri gyfrwng pren i greu dodrefn crefft-llaw gyda llinellau syml glân – dewis arddull pwrpasol er mwyn i’r cysyniad canolog o’r newydd-anedig a thraul anorfod bywyd gael ei ddatblygu.

Cyflwynwyd y dodrefn, gwrthrychau bob dydd cyfarwydd i bawb, fel canfasau glân, gydag artistiaid gwadd a grwpiau o gefndiroedd amrywiol iawn ar draws Cymru yn gyfrwng i’r newid wrth i’r gwaith fynd rhagddo – heb unrhyw rwystrau na ffiniau, mynegir eu profiadau nhw o fyw ar y dodrefn mewn ffyrdd gweledol annisgwyl , gan wneud defnydd o ystod eang o gyfryngau, technegau a deunyddiau.

Bydd yr arddangosfa ei hun yn newid hefyd ar ei thaith, gyda gofodau gwahanol yn cynnig cyfleon newydd ar gyfer mewnosod, cyferbyniad a phwyslais – yn arddangosfa fyw!

Wedi eu marcio, lliwio, tyllu, neu’u datgymalu trawsnewidiwyd dodrefn “newydd- anedig” Rhodri gan fynegi sut mae profiadau bywyd heddiw – llawenydd, trallod, etifeddiaeth ac amgylchedd yn gadael eu hôl arnom i gyd.

Rhodri Owen is intrigued by our increasing tendency to look back, often nostalgically, rather than embracing today and looking forward to the future. I’r Byw has two meanings – how our experiences touch us emotionally, and also shifting the focus from remembrance of the past to the living, to the here and now, and the future.

At the same time, whilst designing and making the 2017 National Eisteddfod Chair, the centenary of the iconic Black Chair, Rhodri was struck by how forces beyond their control swept away the lives and hopes of a whole generation, in a way that they nor their families could ever have foreseen.

Whilst that Chair was ceremonial and symbolic, here working in oak, pine and sapele Rhodri has used the medium of wood to hand-craft furniture pieces with simple clean lines – a deliberate choice of style to allow the central concept of the newborn and life’s inevitable wear and tear to be developed.

The furniture, everyday objects familiar to everyone, became clean canvases, and groups from very different backgrounds across Wales were the agents of change, led by guest artists. As the work progressed – with no holds barred, their life experiences were expressed on the furniture pieces in visually unexpected ways, and deployed a wide range of media, techniques and materials.

The exhibition itself will also change on its tour, with different spaces offering new opportunities for installation, juxtaposition and emphasis – a living exhibition!

Marked, coloured, gouged or disjointed Rhodri’s “newborn” furniture has been transformed and expresses how life experiences today – joys, tribulations, heritage and environment mark us all.

Ir Byw

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