10 January to 18 April 2020
Mary is a visual artist living on Bere Island, Co Cork, Currently exhibiting in Futures exhibition in the RHA, Dublin. Her areas of interest are Maintenance Art and its critique of domestic regimes in the home along with the isolation of living on an island. Mary's practice includes film, performance, and installation working with video, sound, photography, and sculpture. She is particularly interested in the role of women in the domestic setting and exploring the voices of the unheard.
Her research and performative practice explores different military sites on Bere Island. These sites are potent reminders of our colonial history and the types of political regimes that have existed on this island. Mary's work aims to subvert these historical sites to speak to more gendered forms of colonisation and regimentation. She is very interested in finding ways to represent the mundane tasks that occur inside the four walls of a home and finding parallels with the military. The performance of gender, identity and in/equality is investigated through different contexts and media to address the physiological and psychological tensions between the bodies we inherit and headspaces we inhabit.
Mary's current project is ‘HOLD’ which explores women in their domestic setting and unpicks the confinements and restrictions that are placed on island women due to their gender. Taking domestic tools as objects, she is exploring the relationship between the tool and the body. The ordinary domestic tool can be seen as an extension of the female body but the body itself is a domestic tool. Tools imply labour and in the domestic context, this is invisible labour. Her concept is to outline certain domestic tools to conceal and reveal the tenuous, subtle but compelling links between the role of women, domestic tools and unseen demands on the female body.
Mary Sullivan is a West Cork performance artist whose practice turns a critical lens on the complex history of women’s labour and Island life. Challenging normative assumptions about these histories, Sullivan tackles their ‘subaltern’ nature in large scale artistic performances located at key sites around the island on which she lives, Bere Island, off Co Cork, an island steeped in military history. Her most recent project Breathe, interrogated contemporary anxieties through a series of works, installed in the underground rooms of a military shelter. Her work is currently being exhibited at the Futures, Series 3, Episode 3 in the RHA Dublin
Image: Mary Sullivan, Breathe, photograph by Jed Niezgoda
WCAC acknowledges the financial support of the Arts Council and Cork County Council in making these residencies possible.