Artist Valerie Coffin Price and poet Philip Gross have an intriguing book out: “A Fold in the River” (published by Seren). The drawn and printed visual art are exhibited as “The River Next Door” in Oriel y Bont, the University of South Wales’ gallery in Ty Crawshay, Trefforest. At the opening event, we were treated to readings by Philip Gross (TS Eliot prize-winner) and a description by Valerie of her two-year immersion in the project.
The river is the Taf, once an industrial river, now fit for fish, a canoeing challenge, and a good place to walk or ride where accessible. Philip Gross lived near Quakers Yard. Valerie’s technique brings out the layering of history and nature. The Valleys rivers (like Valleys towns) too often get a class-prejudiced media image and a serious project like this – or the Workers Gallery in Ynyshir which is attracting interest and discussion – is welcome.
The River Next Door does not get away from the coal which wriggles into the art.
A map of the river attracted plenty of attention – as maps do, “I live there” “Here’s a common” “There’s a town” etc. The fold is about half way up.