The opening season at Uillinn: West Cork Arts Centre continues with two new exhibitions; Antrum, Daphne Wright’s solo exhibition of sculpture and video and Disconnect, a three person exhibition of installation and paintings by west Cork-based artists - Bernadette Cotter, John Doherty and Sue Crellin McCarthy.
Daphne Wright is an Irish artist based between Dublin and Bristol. Using a wide range of materials – plaster, tinfoil, video, printmaking, found objects and performance – she creates worlds that are beautiful and rather eerie and which feel like the threshold to somewhere new. For her solo exhibition Antrum in the James O’Driscoll Gallery, she has created new unfired clay still-lifes to be displayed along side Sons, 2011, a pair of Jesmonite casts of the artist's sons from the chest up. Daphne describes the process of gently working with her boys through the difficult process of full-body casting; she gingerly introduced them to it by casting their busts in tiny sections – an ear, a nose, a shoulder – to create the work. The resulting figures are lifelike but not alive, they seem present but indifferent, already long gone. The new still life pieces have moved away from the precision of work like Sons. Plants are presented in pots and saucers on shelf like slabs all made from clay. The instability of unfired clay adds to a feeling of flux, but their pallid wornness ages them like archaeological finds.
Two video works, If you broke me and I am the beginning are displayed in the same gallery, both show a solitary boy speaking in riddles to the camera. In each piece the child’ s face is painted; as a tiger in If You Broke Me and with a beard in I am the Beginning. Here, popular riddles are made strange, the monotony of each boy’s voice and their unblinking stare creates a heightened tension, and the riddles take on a different significance beyond that of simple childhood.
Daphne Wright will present an Artist Talk in the Gallery at 6.00 pm on 20 March.
Disconnect in Gallery II, features work by Bernadette Cotter, John Doherty and Sue Crellin-McCarthy who, in various ways, deal with a disconnect between states or of people, or of past and present. Their work also embodies a certain stillness that allows space for reflection on, or contemplation of, what is behind or beneath the surface.
Bernadette Cotter is known for her visually beautiful and deeply moving work. She manipulates materials to the point of transformation and the resulting intense accumulation of materials, involving hundreds of hours of stitching and pinning, are exhibited in deliberately configured installations. Skin to Air is concerned with thoughts about the one and the many - the individual connected to others while at the same time remaining separate from them. Names of people known to the artist are stitched onto squares of white organza that are folded into a pouch like configuration. Over eight hundred of these pouches are stitched together to form three hanging panels. The names, partly obscured by the folding, are further obscured by squares of red organza attached to the front of each panel, in a cathedral window style pattern. These panels hang like a screen in the space.
Behind the panels, on the wall are the same number of folded squares attached with straight pins. These squares of cloth move slightly as people pass by. The third element of skin to air is a torn and dense mass of red organza suspended from the ceiling. There is an air of stillness and fragility about the installation, a feeling of lightness and transparency. Bernadette says 'the piece is as if a skin has lifted into the air, a skin threaded with memories'.
John Doherty is based in west Cork, and the subject matter of much of his work is familiar scenes from provincial towns, old family premises, the corner shop, pub, local garage, now redundant, neglected and forlorn, creating a sense of a changing environment. His realism is immediately attractive, painting layer upon layer, subtly pointing towards the human stories that exist behind the facades of places and things inhabited and used by many different hands over the years. There is an atmosphere, a stillness in these paintings that leads to thinking about what has gone on before and what has yet to come.
Sue Crellin McCarthy's drive as an artist lies in a personal, open enquiry into the metaphysical and intangible elements of existence. Her work could be seen as documentation that explores being, meaning, thought, emotion, essence, and ethereal reality. Her installation Apocalypse of Thought examines a personal realisation that we only find true freedom through abandoning everything we hold as truth. The charred, barren and devastated aspect of the elements placed at the threshold to Galley II and in front of a two-way mirror, in which we can glimpse ourselves as we move through the gallery, examines the relationship between the confines of everyday life; the ‘invisible’ conditioning, boundaries and adopted pervasive perspectives that society, our thoughts and beliefs place on us, and the possibilities of true freedom through moments of detached awareness of being.
The artists will give Artist Talks in the Gallery over the run of the exhibition, the dates will be announced.
The official opening of Antrum and Disconnect takes place on Friday 20 March 2015 by Mary McCarthy, Director of the National Sculpture Factory.
WEST CORK ARTS CENTRE
NORTH STREET, SKIBBEREEN
PHONE: + 353 28 22090
FAX: +353 28 23237
Monday - Saturday 10.00am - 5.00pm