Tina Whelan

Tina Whelan
4 March to 15 April 2024

Studio open to the public on Wednesday

Ellen Hutchins specialised in cryptogamae, plants that do not produce seeds. I am going to focus on her significant contribution to the understanding of bryophytes i.e. mosses, liverworts, and hornworts.

During the residency I aim for a combination of:

1. Field-works: searching for; different types of bryophytes and non-destructive ways to gather them, documenting information and insights gleaned.

​2. Studio time: various processes and sampling to preserve, dry, obtain colour from, crystalise and grow sculpture, with mosses and lichen.

Based on my findings from sampling, I will know how best to make and embellish the ‘Hutchins garment’. Moss is a very suitable material with which to honour Ellen, having survived and thrived through a range of drastic climate changes, playing a vital role in the development of new ecosystems.

The work undertaken during my residency is both a continuation of my interest in; ’how oppression, hurt and memories get passed on through the generations, (epigenetic trauma inheritance), and the complexities of navigating this landscape: particularly in how this manifests in the female body. ‘

It is also new territory for me, a deep dive into the world of mosses, and what might be learnt from this low-life plant. With this work I will be exploring ‘Hutchins’ as a case-study in hope, of surmounting circumstances …and also moss: its potency in climate crisis rehabilitation, as a storyteller, and as a model of how we might live!

During my residency, I will be in consultation and engaging with: Glengarriff Woods Nature Reserve, UCC’s environmental sciences department, (Ellen Hutchins building), Trinity College Archives and the Ellen Hutchins Festival.

Tina Whelan is a visual artist and a studio member of the Backwater Artists Group, Cork city. In 1986 she graduated with a Fine-art degree at Belfast College of Art.

Her practice began with painting, performance and film. Later work incorporates print and photomontage with fibre art, which has led to her using a wide range of technical processes in forming and building her sculptural interactions.

She graduated (2021) from Crawford College of Art, with a Masters by Research: The social realities of the Irish Uterus; which focuses on the impact of national ideology and Catholic ethics on Irish obstetrics.



Image: Her 7 Deadlies, Cast paper hairband, silk, blackthorns, primroses & silk chiffon-In semi-mirrored dome. 2023. Photography by Roland Paschoff

WCAC acknowledges the financial support of the Arts Council and Cork County Council in making these residencies possible. 

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