Derry based artist Catherine Ellis is a multi-disciplinary artist who uses visual metaphor to comment obliquely on Northern Ireland’s ‘troubles’. For Elephants in the Room she has created a number of interrelated pieces, manufactured using both industrial and natural materials (cement, plaster, steel wool, wood, feathers) and employing industrial and hand-made processes (casting, carving, weaving).
This exhibition “Sundance” was based on the miracle of the Sun in Fatima, Portugal.
The Miracle of the Sun was an event which occurred on 13 October 1917, attended by a crowd of 70,000 people who had gathered near Fatima, Portugal in response to a prophecy made by three shepherd children that the Virgin Mary, referred to as “Our Lady of Fatima”, would appear and perform a miracle on that date. Thousands bear witness to seeing the Sun dance in the sky that day.
This exhibition showcased photos & testimonies of the witnesses, religious artefacts and some original artwork produced by the artist.
About the Artist:
Based in Co. Donegal, Mary is a mixed media artist, specializing in photography and sculpture. She graduated in Visual arts practice with a BA hons degree in 2016 from IADT, Dunlaoghaire, Co. Dublin.
“As an artist, I create images and objects in an attempt to capture the struggles, pains, joys, and beauties of our human existence; which in times of grace, I believe, interacts with a divine presence. Whether through a sculpture, installation, photo or video, the objective is the same. I aim to express the sacred in our daily lives in a contemporary way based on my own personal faith journeys. I hope that viewers of my work will contemplate what they see and feel that connection of the divine in their own lives and maybe reach out to that ethereal higher loving entity, which is God, to me.”
For the past few years I have been considering forms of cultural expression and identity, and how art can help create community within our society. My original source of inspiration for this collection of work was a Rag Tree I encountered on a desolate stretch of road in the middle of nowhere, in County Mayo. The tree was festooned with a bizarre array of cast off clothes, children’s toys, rags and scraps. Whilst there was no obvious sense or signpost to meaning, it was obvious that deep meaning was present. I have since learnt that Rag trees are sites of pre-Christian votive offering; here you encounter the timeless, instinctive impulse we all share to externalise our thoughts, feelings, fears and wishes – in this case through appropriated or created objects – which when viewed become a primitive definition of art.
At a time when the ‘celebrity’ art market has warped our appreciation and understanding of art’s place in society, this encounter prompted me to consider the purpose of art and the idea of art as a shared experience, with a value - and speaking of values - beyond the financial. My piece “Placebo-Panacea : Give Me Something to Believe In” is a commentary on this continuing marginalisation and de-valuing of the power of our imaginations –often associated with ‘spirituality’ or magic when linked to healing or wellbeing - to affect change, in favour of instant, packaged, profit-making solutions for the mind.
For my other pieces I have experimented with a range of media - from pencil drawing to installation, from video to print - to explore this human impulse for creativity in times of crisis or intense emotion, as a means of provoking empathy and understanding in the viewer/reader. Through these creative acts we can create community and a cultural, social cohesion.
As an extension of this idea, local artists were invited to join me in a closing event, which was titled "Message In a Bottle”. I would like to thank all the artists who contributed a bottle containing their artwork (too many to mention here), which we will be casting out into the waves at Fort Dunree, as a gesture of “free art”. Hopefully I will receive some responses from recipients at some point in the future (via Facebook) and create a new community online!
'We are all I know is there' was performed by Cuislí as part of their ongoing work 'Structuring Structures' at Artlink, Fort Dunree. Co. Donegal on 22/07/2017. This performance includes sound files and film projections created by Cuislí. It was documented by Artlink; film by Harry Kerr and photography by Martha McCulloch.
New Sculptural works by artist Kevin McLaughlin
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.
A Collection of work by Inishowen based artist Sinead Smyth www.sineadsmyth.net
CREDO Credo – Literally "I believe" in Latin, meaning a religious belief.
This exhibition by Inishowen artist John Mc Carron explores the connection between symbol and belief. John utilises sculpture, painted panels and cubes as "building blocks of belief" with painted symbols as his backdrop.
Today credo it has broader meaning for any system of principals that guide a person or group. Where it once held such a high esteemed meaning today there's often a fairly humerus air to the word.
A hedonists credo might be simply "party on,"or "enjoy the ride;" an actors, "the show must go on."
Politicians have credos for example John Kennedy's Political Credo “I believe in human dignity as the source of national purpose, in human liberty as the source of national action, in the human heart as the source of national compassion, and in the human mind as the source of our invention and our ideas”
Credo’s are as much a part of everyday life now from rappers and weather forecasters.
For this solo exhibition John says I'm inviting the viewer to think about what it is that triggers a meaningful visual connection between symbol and belief, be it religion, luck or UFOs”.
About the artist;
John Mc Carron
Based in Buncrana John is a sculptor and painter. He studied art & design and fine art at NWRC and has taken part in group shows such as Artlink and CCA artillery street and in other venues in the north west. John takes some of his inspiration from early Irish, Celtic and modern art. To date John has been also working with sculptor Maurice Harron Studio who designs and create public art in Ireland and overseas. Their latest work unveiled in east Belfast after one of the north's most famous writers, CS Lewis. Seven sculptures all based on characters from Lewis' book The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, were unveiled on the 53rd anniversary of the author's death at the age of 64.
Artlink studio holder artist Rebecca Strain has kicked off our program of solo shows with an exhibition of works relating to her recent performances.
Artlink is excited to announce they will be hosting an exhibition of the work of American photographer Damaso Reyes to be held from May 2, 2015 through June 1, 2015 at The Saldahna Gallery at Fort Dunree. Mr. Reyes (www.damaso.com) is an award winning photojournalist and former Fulbright scholar whose current project, The Europeans (www.theeuropeans.net), is documenting how Europe and its people are changing as the European Union expands. The show, which will feature prints as well as multimedia work, will feature images from around Europe including Germany, Spain, France, the United Kingdom, and Ukraine among others. Mr. Reyes has previously received grants and fellowships from The Ford Foundation and The French-American Foundation and had solo exhibitions in the United States, Austria, Hungary, Spain, Switzerland and Germany. His work has been published by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Der Spiegel, and The Miami Herald.
This will be the first major exhibition of Mr. Reyes' work in Ireland and we will use this as an opportunity to engage the public in a meaningful discussion on the future of Europe and Ireland's place in it. The event will also be part of the Remote Photo Festival (May 8th to 11th) supported by the Regional Cultural Center in Letterkenny and The Gallery of Photography in Dublin.
In addition to the opening reception which Mr. Reyes will attend we have three other events during the course of the exhibition.
First, Mr. Reyes will lead a street photography masterclass to be held during the day of May 9th in collaboration with the Buncrana Camera Club (www.buncranacameraclub.com). The club currently has 79 members and we expect fifteen local photographers to participate in this event where Mr. Reyes will share his expertise in the field and guide the participants in a workshop designed to improve their skills.
The second event, to be held the evening of May 9th, will be a panel discussion about the future of the European Union and Ireland's place in it. Moderating the discussion will be Damian Dowds, editor of the Inishowen Independent newspaper. Marian Harkin, Independent MEP representing the 15 counties of the Midlands-North-West constituency in the European Parliament, has confirmed her participation in the panel discussion and we have invited several other experts to attend.
Lastly, Mr. Reyes will lead guided tours of his exhibition for several classes of secondary school students from Scoile Mhuire Secondary School. Students will engage with both the artist and his work and write response essays after their visit.