Concrete Ribbon Road

by Joni Smith

Concrete Ribbon Road
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Artist's Statement by Joni Smith

The piece is based on lots of different aspects of the book, whilst looking chaotic, every cutout refers to an aspect of the book. There is for example the stacking stones (they look a bit like cacti in the image) - they refer to the Cairns stacked up on walks i indicating pathways - which also look like bones and joints - referring to the bone setting often referred to in the book and the orthopaedic hospital in Gobowen.

Anglesey is mentioned frequently in the story and in the piece it appears squeezed between the horizontally laid out land of Wales (which has been morphed into a mountain with a winding road climbing up and up) The land parts are cut out of the map of Anglesey and in their place are 'gems' - fragments of land - castles/sheep/lighthouses… all parts of the story stores like nuggets neatly in the crevices and nooks of the winding roads of Anglesey.

The title 'Concrete Ribbon Road' is a direct quote form the book 'up the little concrete ribbon road' (p. 212). It is the part of the piece that ties all of the elements together - a pathway that you can view the work from. It traverses up the mountainous terrain (of the up-ended Wales) It weaves through the sky chart and ends up as a chaotic ball of floating twine.

When I was reading the interview transcript, Lloyd Jones referred to the book as a 'Spaghetti Junction' of ideas - all coming together, merging and dispersing - chaotic. I wanted the piece to represent this idea as a whole. I like the idea that unless you have read the book you cannot decode the meaning - To quotes Henry Adams 'Chaos was the law of nature, order was the dream of man.' This is what how I read the book and how I wanted to depict the piece - a kind of making sense out of a chaotic world and sometimes revelling in that chaos.