Mixed media construction on paper and wood with incorporated frame, 98cm x 104cm approx. 2018.
The underlying themes of this work are peat, memory and loss. The fragment of text embedded in the piece reads:
Her bones, a fragile creel, remember
Traces of darker earth, a wilder sky …
The work was made for, and presented as a gift to, the Moore Institute, NUI, Galway, Ireland. It draws on both a growing engagement with rural Ireland and my family’s connections with the Scottish Highlands and Islands, an engagement nurtured by a Moore Institute Visiting Fellowship in 2014, which strengthened my existing friendship with Dr Nessa Cronin at the Centre for Irish Studies. We share an enthusiasm for the work of Tim Robinson’s deep mapping, an inclusive creative approach that also informs this work.
The work has benefitted from exchanges with Deirdre O’Mahony, Pauline O’Connell, and Cathy Fitzgerald, whom initiated me into the complexities of Irish upland use, ownership, and ecological problems. The landscape painter Eamon Colman’s enthusiasm for contemporary Irish poets led me to search out their work for deeper senses of place. Paula Meehan’s The Querant is one touchstone here, the third section of Eavan Boland’s Anna Liffy another. Translations from the Irish of poems by Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill suggested a larger, older, more vibrant, unruly and sometimes uncanny sense of place that breaks with usual contemporary ‘framings’.