About Bethan Huws: Boats

Bethan Huws’ delicate, oddly intriguing and rigorous works continued a vein of artistic enquiry initiated by Marcel Duchamp in the early 20th century: ‘art as idea’. As though peeling an onion, she revealed layer on layer of meaning in language with incisive intellectual clarity.

Shown in the exhibition were Boats, formed from a single length of grass spiralled in on itself. They were elemental within the artist’s work and they derive from her childhood culture; self-contained and centred, they conveyed considerable presence far beyond their size. 11 shell and feather works, accompanied by lilting and descriptive texts, were from the Figure series. Shells and feathers have been the subjects of Huws’ watercolours; here she took beautiful ready-mades – feathers from magpies, golden pheasants and mallards – to create physical, poetic works. They outlined her preoccupation with the natural world, language, biology and memory.

YSP commissioned the artist to make a new work, which resulted in a play script entitled Ion On. This work drew together many of the complexities that Huws dealt with in her work, including language, the status of the art object and creativity, love and power relationships.

A quick survey of Bethan Huws's work suggests that she's an artist who is hard to keep up with

The Guardian