Octagon is an exhibition of painting, print, drawing, mixed-media, video and sound works by Alison Cronin, Marie Cullen, Sharon Dipity, Paul Forde-Cialis, Ian Humphreys, Tess Leak, Susan Montgomery and Sarah Ruttle, which showcases the diverse studio practices of 8 artists who facilitate creative learning programmes at the Centre. The exhibition runs until Saturday 8 June.
Sharon Dipity creates environments, site-specific installations and performance pieces which draw inspiration from landscape and architecture and from storytelling and fairytales. The work included in Octagon is from her current series of paintings and drawings depicting windows, doorways, ladders and bridges which are used as metaphors for human relationships, life journeys, destiny and attainment or loss.
Another artist interested in landscape is Marie Cullen who is currently exploring our relationship with the land and landscape in which we live. She is concerned that our sense and understanding of place has been gravely undermined and that in recent years we have lost our close connection with ‘dinnseachas’, the lore and learning attached to the naming of place and places. Her large-scale, vibrant and textured triptych included in Octagon is part of this series.
Ian Humphrey’s current work is concerned with illusion and the reading or understanding of representation and constantly makes reference to other paintings and the tradition of painting. He plays with light, space and form; colour, paint and process. The depth and edge of the paintings, including the frames and even the titles are all equal components of each artwork.
Two of the artists included in Octagon are graduates of the BA in Visual Art Degree Programme, Sherkin Island. Tess Leak was awarded an Arts Bursary from Cork County Council last year which enabled her to work with sound recordists on two West Cork Islands. For Here, Still, first exhibited in Octagon, she and sound-recordist and film-editor Tadhg O’Sullivan, collected field recordings on Cape Clear. The edited sound-track was then used as a starting point in the making of this short film of drawings and archive images.
Evolving from a series of work based around memory and her own family (hi)story, Alison Cronin’s newest work explores different versions of reality and our attempts to control our own narrative. The artist's own long term memory is poor due to an early accident. As such, she is fascinated by the process of building memories and creating narratives as an echo or reflection of reality, over which we can have some level of control.
Paul Forde-Cialis’ darkly humorous, photo-transfer collages also deal with memory but are predominantly concerned with matters of mortality. He has an ongoing fascination with what is left behind us when we are gone and how ‘the marks and scratches’ that we leave, can be interpreted by others. The idea that others could have control of our 'voice' is a recurring motif in the work, as is universal human weakness, both physical and moral.
Susan Montgomery explores the process of bricolage and the re-appropriation of the found object through a series of gestures. In The event of a sweet wrapper, she takes an overlooked, discarded object and attempts to redeem its power and reveal new readings. Using the exploration of light and shadow and the assemblage of found objects, she invites the viewer to participate in the process.
Sarah Ruttle’s practice is influenced by physical and environmental pattern, as well as patterns which occur in humanity and their influence on our everyday lives. Octagon includes a number of delicate paper cut works from her ‘walk in my shoes’ series alongside a series of striking black and white watercolour images.
Each of these artists is deeply committed to developing their own studio practice. This ongoing engagement with art-making is brought to their interaction with the children, youth and adults with whom they work at West Cork Arts Centre. Octagon celebrates the contribution which a range of artistic practices can make in opening up spaces for creative work, exchange, dialogue and connection between the public, artists and the Arts Centre.
WEST CORK ARTS CENTRE
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