These paintings are inspired by Irish Mythology. Amongst other stories I have been haunted and fascinated by the tale of Midir and Etain where the heroine flits between worlds. The stories present concepts of liminality regarding the entanglement of the natural world and the human with the other, the other world, multiplicity, materiality, time and repetition.
I have used objects and paint to evoke a sense of present absence in my work . I have placed objects and/or various forms of matter on the canvases, painted around them and removed them. This technique is rooted in my experience of Irish Mythology through English. Without fluent Irish I experience sensations of dislocation from the stories which gives rise to a yearning for aspects of my heritage which I cannot access in Gaelic. I am neither fully immersed in, or separated from Irish mythology. The paintings present both the dissolution or unravelling of identity and the latency & spaces from which shapes of future identities could emerge.
In my studio practice I experience states of liminality as an infinitely rich, yet hugely uncomfortable, terrorising and a sometimes-devastating zone. Old identities crumble and new ones are not yet fully shaped. The body prints are an active immersive meditation on these experiences.
I have used a diverse set of materials including paint gravel, rushes and writing in sedimentary layers to build layers of varying rhythms which create an intensity of sensation. These techniques are used to explore the role of materiality & sensation in states of liminality and transformation. They are inspired by their depiction in the shapeshifting world of mythology.
Repetition, rhythm, colour and textures convey simultaneously the feminine, the individual and the collective, the spectral and the animal. The body is a purveyor of sensation which I see as central in the relationship between materiality and art. Sensations are produced by Art. They are neither “in” the subject or object but discernible in the indeterminate liminal zone where a subject “rubs” against or encounters an object. They present the viewer with intimations of and emanations from an otherworld. Potentially forming or a form of Art.
Philosopher Elizabeth Grosz contends that sensation affects the viewer of and perhaps creates- an art work; that it draws us, living beings..into the artwork in a strange becoming, in which the living being empties itself of its interior to be filled with the sensation of that(art) work alone.” Sensation can also tamper with notions of identity, security and subjectivity. It seeps like moisture into the pores of these works, subtly challenging us to, inhabit, and engage with the unsettling chaotic, formless state of the liminal. To take and nurture the vast potential inherent in this inbetweeney zone rather than be taken by the terror or anxiety which also accompany this state, the state from where all new knowledge evolves.
To see my earlier work on my other website please click here.