School of Art
Robert Greetham: Of Fire and Rites
Photographs, paintings and mixed-media work4 February 2008 – 20 March 2008
Of Fire and Rites brings together photographs, paintings and mixed-media work based on recent visits to Spain by Cardiff based artist Robert Greetham. Since 2004 he has returned to Malaga to photograph Semana Santa, the Holy Week celebrations, which take place throughout Spain every Easter. In cities such as Malaga the scale and opulence of the ceremonies is breathtaking with tens of thousands taking part including the row upon row of Penitentes processing silently through the streets; tall hooded figures whose identities remain unknown. Pervading all is the heady mix of incense, drums, devotional song and ritual. Also included in the exhibition are images from Las Fallas where the people of Valencia celebrate the end of winter through pyrotechnics and the ceremonial burning of huge effigies. It is as if the streets of Valencia become consumed by an apocalyptic fury of fire and flame.
In black and white and colour work Greetham seeks to convey the spectacle, drama and brooding mystery of these festivals and celebrations: "I have always been intrigued by the power of ritual and symbol, both religious and pagan. This has led to my interest in communicating ideas through different media to suggest not only the experience itself, but how that experience is mediated through its very depiction."
Robert Greetham was born in 1957 in Cardiff where he continues to practise as a photographer and artist. He received his BA and MA from the University of Wales, School of Art, Aberystwyth and was part-time Tutor in Fine Art at the School of Art from 1986–1996. A former Director of Ffotogallery, Cardiff, he has received several grants and awards from the Arts Council of Wales. His work has been exhibited throughout Britain and in the United States and Switzerland and is represented in numerous private and public collections.
Of Fire and Rites was made possible with a grant from the Arts Council of Wales.