Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Article on 'Your human faces are showing.'

I was asked to right a small article about the screen-print I did of an old photo of the Limerick foxhounds for the online magazine/blog Fox Hunting Life created and edited by Norman Fine.
I was faltered to be asked and It is the first bit of writing I have had published. You can view a preview of the article by clicking here. Or you can just read the full version below, or if you subscribe to the blog you will also be able to read the full article.

'I am a visual artist who works in a variety of media such as photography, printmaking, collage, embroidery and paint. I do not like to restrict my ideas to a specific medium.My work draws from dreams and memories, linking the spiritual, human and animal worlds together with an underlining narrative of innocence and the uncanny. The work arises from the self, drawing from my past, while trying to take control of the present. I also work a lot with vintage photographs and text combining them to create new narratives. The piece, 'Your Human faces are Showing,' is a 7 colour limited addition screen print, approximately 11.4 x 8 cm. The print is slightly off register so they are not all exactly the same, which is called a print variable.The print is based on an old photo my grandmother took of the County Limerick Foxhounds. The piece started out as a doodle in my sketchbook a few years ago, and stayed that way until my last year of college were I attempted to make it into a print. The drawing is relaxed, almost comical, I wasn't worried about it being exact or anatomically correct, this relaxed idea towards the drawing I feel is what makes it a success.  In this piece you will see that the hounds faces are not right, they are warped and a bit deformed, their features are morphing into a human form.I have always appreciated the foxhound as an individual, knowing each of their personalities and what makes them tick. To me hounds are like children and anyone who has grown up and lived in a kennel with a pack of hounds will understand and appreciate this. I wanted this to come across in the work, I want people to realise and appreciate the individuality and how human and loving hounds can be. Without the happy individuals, that you understand, respect, and appreciate as much as your own children, you cannot and will not have a happy and successful pack of foxhounds.  I do not solely work with the theme of the foxhound or fox hunting but because it is a major part of my life and who I am it always continues to appear in my work.I have just recently graduated from Limerick School of Art and Design were I received a first class honours degree in Printmaking and Contemporary Practice. I am continuing to make work but hope to go on and receive my Masters in the arts.'

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


                                                 n.1.Divination by the movements of mice.


1. a form of divination involving wild beasts.
2. a form of divination based upon observation of the movements of animals.

Some new photographs taken with my old olympus camera of a vole I rescued from the cats. In return of a safe journey to the garden shed, I used him in a photo shoot…

Monday, September 15, 2014

The 2014 annual Championship Dog Show

I went to the 2014 annual Championship Dog Show at the Fitzgeralds Woodlands House hotel a little while ago.
I didn't really make a plan when I went and wish I did as I took my beloved old olympus as it had a film in it, I should have taken a different camera as the photos would have been better. Unfortunately I think I will have to retire the Olympus, I do not think I can get her fixed as camera shops tend to cater for nikons and no matter what you do the photos come out poor, occasionally I am lucky. She has served me well.

The Dog show was great fun. The Champion Show is one of the largest dog show events in Ireland, people there were from all over, but mostly they seemed to be from England. There was a wide variety of dog breeds there and everyone I met was very nice and generous in giving their time so I could take their photo. It was quit funny as everyone wants to show off their pooch and as soon as people saw me or should I say, saw the camera, they would perk up and start parading their dogs. It was really lovely, I enjoyed seeing the characters there. I wanted to capture the bond between human and dog rather than looking for the best of show shot, I was looking for the characters. Some people stood their dogs up for show others were more relaxed.
Doing this makes me want to go around to fairs and shows to take photos now, I will have to get going next summer.
I had to send the film away to be scanned and developed, the first time I haven't been able to do it myself. I wouldn't mind rescanning them in the future as I think they might come up better with a higher resolution, but I am only guessing as I know little about this! Below are some of the photos that weren't to terrible.


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Dorothy Cross: View, and other Exhibits

I was very lucky to go to Dublin for the day with a friend to see the exhibition View by Dorothy Cross at the Kerlin Gallery, it was well worth the visit, extremely inspiring. The work is different than what she is normally known for, She linked humans, nature and the universe all in one room. The influence of the early Surrealists was very strong with her use of the object and assemblage. You could see definite connections especially with her photographs of school rooms and cathedrals, and her sculpture Distil which was distinctively phallic. It left you wanting to know more, Cross definitely leaves the door open to interpretation and never gives anything away.  Her photos were interesting, not so much the images but the quality. They were quit large but the quality was clearly poor. It seemed as if she took the photos with an everyday digital camera, the images seemed as if they were taken on impulse to capture a moment in time. I think the quality of them is what attracted me the most to them,. In college there was this fear of a low quality image, that if it wasn't pristine it wasn't good enough, which was hard for me as my photos were anything but perfect. It just shows that it is about the image in the end, the thought, thats whats important.  It doesn't have to be pristine to be in a gallery, you do not have to own the most expensive DSLR, or know the photo taking manual back to front to produce an image that speaks to the viewer. A photo is just a memory, and memories aren't always clear.
Just seeing this really helped me a lot. I feel a lot more comfortable about using a found object and I can't wait to start making more work now!
We also went to see Dukka at the Douglas Hyde gallery. It was very conceptual, really not my cup of tea. It was one of those exhibits were the background behind it was more interesting than the work. The only piece I really liked was by the artist Fergus Feehily, floral wallpaper in a crude pink frame.
Maria Simmonds had a retrospective at the RHA, we didn't have a lot of time to spend there but it is worth a look. her use of materials was very interesting and I loved how minimalist her work is.
The last stop was IMMA, the exhibits there were disappointing, including the permanent collection. The exhibit we went to see there Second Sight, The David Kronn Photography Collection was wonderful. A wide variety of work by photographers from around the world. I was lucky enough to see iconic photos of Frida Kahlo and Louise Bourgeois that I have loved for years and learned about some new photographers which was very beneficial.
Below are some photos from the Dorothy Cross exhibit, I couldn't take photos of the other exhibits. Of course the photos are nothing compared to seeing the work in person.

An early morning start.

Doorway, 2014 (and detail)
Wooden door and tree fungi

Telescope, 2014 (and detail of skull)
Human skull, white gold leaf, meteorite, marble, pitch pine, telescope. 

Installation View

Scales, 2014 (and detail of skull cap and hanger)
Human Skull, yellow gold leaf, coat hanger, steel hanger, meteorites.

Lightening, 2014
Sandstone column, cast sterling silver, Fulgurite 
(in case you don't know Fulgurites are (from the Latin bulgur, meaning "thunderbolt") are a variety of the mineraloid lechatelieriteThey are natural hollow glass tubes often formed during lightning strikes, in quartzes sandsilica, or soil.)

Distil, 2014
Barrister's wig, marble, glass, leather, mahogany

Buoy, 2014
Blue shark skin, white gold leaf, antique easel, italian alabaster
(one of out favourite pieces in the exhibit, the texture and detail of the shark skin was amazing)

Finger crab, 2011
Solid cast sterling silver
These little guys often pop up in her work, you can tell how small it is by the size of the finger he has instead of a claw. Its was so cute because of how the floor at the gallery is it looks as if it wet itself! You just wanted to pick it up, such a sad looking thing!

This piece was displayed with a set of photos in the office which was an awkward lace to put work as you were trying to look at the work while people were working. Unfortunately it is not on the list of works but by looking at it you can see that they are different fingers cast in Sterling silver. I believe they are in a cigar box.

"Kerlin Gallery is pleased to announce View, an exhibition of new work by Dorothy Cross.

View will include a series of new sculptures and photographs. The works are exemplary of the artist’s complex exploration of the connection between humans and the natural world, playing with material, relationship and time. The exhibition captures the artist’s ongoing compulsion to agitate possibilities for new perspectives and points of view.
Working with the flood of natural light from a normally hidden window in the west wall of the Kerlin Gallery space, a line of sculptures will run the length of the gallery. Photographs that refer to the exquisite views of the landscape of her surroundings in Connemara hang with more desolate images of past phases of life. Within the spine of sculptures, Cross continues her enigmatic approach to materiality, re-appropriating objects such as a barrister’s wig, a telescope and a shark-skin. One work is comprised of the right and left lobes of a human skull, each gilded within and each containing a handful of meteorites, shooting-stars once having burned and now no longer illuminated. The lobes balance perilously from the ends of a pale blue coat hanger. This play between the terrestrial and the celestial reoccurs throughout the exhibition. In each work, processes of alchemy and piquant manipulation transform spaces between the cerebral, the sensual, and the functional." -Kerlin Gallery, Press Release

At the end of the week I went to see the exhibit …..The Day Came Fat…..,works by the Crawford art and process MA students. It was grand, there were two pieces there I liked; there was a mix of sculpture, video and drawing
I went down to see it as I am exploring my Master options, but I don't think it needs its own post.

Lovely drawing by Eleanor Phillips 
that were done in a sketchbook, the pages were placed on the wall.

Works by Maxim Baer and Ali Raza

Works by Sarah Jayne Booth and Mieke Vanmechelen

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Little House on the Wallpaper

I have always admired fellow student in sculpture and their skill at breaking down ideas and creating work in its minimalist form, as well as other artists that can make something beautiful out of so little. It is definitely a skill and one I envy. If I could I would do a degree in sculpture.
Below are some images from my sketchbook. I collected wallpaper and such from old house. I just want to go into abandoned house and without being picky take bits of lino, wallpaper or even old newspaper and place them on blank canvases or paper. I know if someone else did this it would be so beautiful and amazing but when I think about it or set out to do it, it seems silly. I will have to get over that one I think. I did do a little drawing of a house over one bit of paper and really liked the results. I love working with the idea of the home and house.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Whats Wrong With Cats? And other tales..

So it has been a long time since I posted anything, to be honest I haven't had much time to do any work up until now.  I have been working on my black-out poetry though, that blog has been doing very well and since tumblr featured it I am currently up to 2,162 followers. It makes me wonder if I shouldn't start posting on my tumblr portfolio blog again. Its nice to have a bit of recognition, to know that people you don't know and will never meet like what you do.
Even though I have made little over the summer I have had a good few ideas, that have been loyally noted down in the sketchbook. And now that I am able to get going again hopefully the ideas will come to fruition!

 A big boost for me recently is that I was shortlisted for the 2014 Undergraduate Awards in the visual arts category, the 2014 Highly Commended shortlist to be exact. It is like winning the lotto! Although the likelihood of me winning the category is as slim as winning the lotto twice, I am still very lucky and grateful that I had the honour of being shortlisted!

'Becoming a winner, or even highly commended, means you are in the top of your field. The Undergraduate Awards identifies and recognises the most creative and nuanced arguments and ideas coming out at undergraduate level internationally. The overall winners are published in our annual academic journal. The journals are sent to every university library and is often requested by academics as a directory of the finest undergraduates from every discipline…….' -from the Undergraduate Awards Webpage. 

I have often babbled on about creating a  body of work to help support animals in need and I hope that now that I am not in college I am closer to that goal. Slowly but surely these things come together. I need someone to give me a deadline for a body of work then maybe I can kick it into gear!
Anyway I am fascinated and often appalled by people's negative reaction against cats, especially in Ireland.  People tend to stereotype against them, because of old superstitions and ideas that they are vermin. This is terrible, and I could babble on about it all day, being a cat owner myself. If you treat your cat like your dog spay and give it its shots then the world would be a better place!

Below are two needlepoints I did from sketches of my own cats, B.W and Garfunkel  I wanted to keep the needle point true to the sketches, the needle points are on five inch hoops. I plan to make a bunch of these. 
I am also interested in taking portraits of people and their cats, especially men, so If you read this and are interested please let me know.

Garfunkel and B.W.