Artlink, Fort Dunree. 22nd - 29th March 2017.
New work in Sculpture by Kevin McLaughlin.
Objectecture is an exhibition of sculptural works that showcases for the first time my long term engagement with Assemblage, Constructions and Found Objects. This body of work seeks to draw on and explore overlooked aspects of non-typical sculptural materials.
The coded energy and kinetic dynamics of certain materials in certain forms and configurations is undeniable and it is these physical characteristics that highlight the desirability of utilising such materials to articulate space and ideas. Some of these sculptures have been ‘in process’ for up to 8 years. What the sculptures look like and how they are materially constituted occurs by employing a broad diversity of materials; wood, stone, metal, bronze, beachcomb, plaster and found objects. Working with things that already exist affords me associations that are beyond my inventive and creative control and Inishowen is a place where such materials are available in abundance. On its beaches, along its boreens & roadsides, in its fields and boglands and its abandoned rural buildings. What I do comes from an old place. When it comes to aesthetics the values I espouse are archaic. The work does not seek to represent any new formal innovation. It is not designed to ratify any critical theory or aspire to be a commodity in the market place. I am intuitive leaning, so for me its very much about an authentic engagement with the materials that taps in to what is compelling in those materials and harnessing and expressing it some how. Within that framework, these works seek to explore the symbiosis between studio/handmade and institutionally taught sculpture. They blend early experiments in Assemblage with work accrued during formal instruction undertaken in California and later at the Leitrim Sculpture Centre. Mood is central to many of these works, form & texture being mood evocative.
However ultimately, it's about what I have always liked to look at and work with - challenging organic materials in simple, sacred forms.
As a sculptural theme, I am interested in the extreme cultural juxtaposition between certain aspects of the landscape of the northwest of Ireland and certain principles of materiality in contemporary sculpture. With its mountainous undulating coastline that is constantly being formed and reformed by the omnipresent power of the north Atlantic Ocean, it is a landscape that is undeniably sculptural in its topography and fundamental essence. This body of work is very much a response to and an exploration of that landscape and that relationship. Past projects include solo and group shows with the Earagail Arts Festival and the Derry City of Culture 2013 visual arts programme and a driftwood mandala installed & immolated at Burning Man in 2006.
This exhibition is structured thematically over three sub-sections; The first features painted found-object assemblages and vertical constructions in various configurations and groupings. A prominent base/plinth of stone, wood or formed concrete is incorporated as a critical feature of each of these works.The signature coatings of opaque white, gesso and plaster are applied in various overlays of brushstrokes and pourings. The second section features works that are rudimentary but fully realised 3-D assemblages that reflect a tinkering sensibility, these represent my homage to the time honoured traditions of sculpture. The third section showcases a triptych of painted wooden vitrines that combine various elements of physical materiality and visual complexity. This work is derived from my most recent practice and is of a more experimental nature. Each of these works draw on a frontal aspect, a handmade-ness and an affinity with the relic, the dig-find, the portmanteau & the fetish bundle.
I prefer to not define these works as ‘abstract’ but rather as ‘non-figurative’ as this term offers the potential to avoid being fixed to any one particular reading or description and it implies a more advanced depth of feeling and meaning as it has been understood in my experience of creating these works.
Co. Donegal. March 2017.
Copyrighted material. All Rights Reserved.