The opening season at Uillinn: West Cork Arts Centre continues with two new exhibitions; I shall make for my own castle, Tess Leak's’s solo exhibition and Nearshore, this exhibition includes fired clay wall works by Cormac Boydell, paintings by Karen Hendy and John Kingerlee and three-dimensional ceramic forms by Kathleen Standen.
Cormac Boydell, Karen Hendy John Kingerlee, Kathleen Standen
The James O'Driscoll Gallery
Nearshore is an exhibition of work inspired by the indented, west Cork and south Kerry coasts - a coastline of peninsulas, estuaries, harbours and islands, where sea and land meet at gravelly and sandy beaches, mudflats and cliffs as well as at piers, docks and slipways. The adjacency of water gives a number of distinctive characteristics to this region. The erosive power of the sea results in particular types of landforms, such as sand dunes, and estuaries. Biologically, the ready availability of water enables a greater variety of plant and animal life, and particularly the formation of extensive wetlands. In addition, the local humidity due to evaporation and the influence of the Gulf Stream creates a microclimate supporting unique types of organisms. These coastal regions are border-lands defined by the ever-changing weather.
Cormac Boydell is one of Ireland's foremost artists working in clay. Born in Dublin, he was introduced to ceramics by Oisín Kelly, and then worked as a geologist in the Australian Bush for four years before settling in Allihies in 1972. His handling of clay is original and experimental, and his imagery is often born out of this rugged coastal environment and the history and myth of this land. For Nearshore, Cormac has made new wall works which represent local sights such as Roaring Water Bay and the Fastnet Rock.
Karen Hendy's artistic concern is to innovate the genre of pastoral painting by confronting the viewer with an unconventional materiality, fusing traditional media with modern synthetic substances. The omnipresent polyethylene silage wrap of the contemporary agricultural landscape is introduced into the context of painting and transformed through a process of burning and eroding, even breaking through the surface. Together with traces of colour and gold, the resulting textures and cavities are not only indicative of ancient mining practices (copper has been mined in West Cork since prehistoric times) but also suggestions of portals leading into a parallel otherworld, evident in Irish folklife traditions. The extensive triptych arrangement of Liminal introduces a visual narrative that further reinforces her occupation with the subject of time through the exploration of thresholds and flux of past, present and future.
John Kingerlee's paintings for Nearshore refer to that enigmatic place where it is land no longer but not yet sea, that indefinable edge where tide 'rubs things out', concealing, then revealing; where sea and sky can also merge. The textures and colours of these works recall the meeting of the shifting waters and spray of the sea with the rocks and sand of the shoreline fused with ever-changing light. This combination yields in John's work, extraordinary surfaces and combinations of mark making that convey a sense of place.
Nearshore includes a group of innovative clayworks by prize winning, West Cork-based artist Kathleen Standen, which explore and challenge humankind’s relationship with the coastal environment. The economic demands of the fishing industry, along with the recent surge in coastal house building, have impacted coastal ecosystems. Kathleen Standen’s clayworks seek to explore these changing influences. Researched by ‘industrial beachcombing’, whether in the fishing villages of West Cork or by the River Thames in London, her work takes inspiration from machinery and equipment such as buoys, winches and pulleys used in these locations.
I shall make for my own castle
Tess Leak is a Baltimore based artist who has just completed an Artist Residency at Uillinn: West Cork Art Centre. Tess’s solo exhibition I shall make for my own castle is a culmination of work developed during her residency comprising large scale ‘emergency drawings’, sound collaborations and a collection of ’42 unfinished books that would be brilliant’.
Tess has also commissioned composer Justin Grounds to create a piece of music for strings, bassoon and the phono-fiddle that she recently inherited from her grand uncle, music hall performer Frank Clifton. The Vespertine Quintet, of which Tess is a member, will premier the work, also titled I shall make for my own castle, at the opening of this show on Friday 8 May.
Tess Leak graduated from the B.A. in Visual Art (Dublin Institute of Technology), Sherkin Island in 2009 and also holds a B.A. in Philosophy and English from the University of Wales , Swansea . Her art practice centres around installations of drawings, collage, found text and objects. In 2012 she was awarded a Cork County Council bursary, enabling her to work collaboratively with a nature sound recordist on a work called Field Recordings for a Resurrection Machine. She has also collaborated with a song-writer, a boat-builder and with artist Marie Brett as co-creator/curator of The Museum of Miniature for Skibbereen Arts Festival in 2012. She is currently working with Marie Brett on Museum of Miniature: The Islands, a touring art-work which involves the communities of the seven West Cork Islands along with other international off-shore Islands and is supported by Cork County Council and West Cork Arts Centre.
1 May to 27 May
Exhibition official opening Monday 11 May at 1.30 pm
The exhibition consists of a collaborative glass artwork by the Early Bird Artists Group, who attended Arts for an Active Mind with artist Michael Ray from January to May of this year, along side a selection of work including paintings, poems, glasswork, ceramic and drawings by hospital residents from Art for health Programme, a programme that takes place in eleven healthcare settings across West Cork.
WEST CORK ARTS CENTRE
NORTH STREET, SKIBBEREEN
PHONE: + 353 28 22090
FAX: +353 28 23237
Monday - Saturday 10.00am - 5.00pm