Curated by Naomi Draper
The 2022 visual art programme continues to look at the relationship between humans and other matter, particularly material found within the landscape. It will explore how ‘practice’, physical actions, habits, rituals, traditions and customs influence and negotiate our connection with land and the material found within it.
An Animate Land looks at our relationships with the land and landscape, and the role agricultural processes of production and habitual farming practices play in this negotiation, exploring the role of trade and the value systems around both art and agriculture. The close proximity of Roscommon Cooperative Livestock Mart to the Arts Centre has become an important source of interest, where its weekly activities, expression and presence of animals and machines bring a lively energy to the area, animating the spaces around and about the Mart and Arts Centre buildings. While these contexts meet at the shared carpark their audiences rarely merge, the artists in this exhibition Marian Balfe, Laura Fitzgerald and Miriam O’Connor present an opportunity to occupy more than one world, and explore issues of ownership, value, responsibility and care within our landscape through both arts practice and farming practice.
Marian Balfe is a visual artist, her practice is multidisciplinary, exploring ways in which painting, writing, sculpture, and zine-making may be used to reflect on her surroundings and rural(ish) upbringing. The paintings, Marian will present in this exhibition, are a result of her being both mildly addicted to scrolling on her phone and being nap trapped by her baby. She uses Adverts, not DoneDeal, finding Adverts less crass but more user friendly. She screenshots ads for things she doesn’t need or even really like and pays €1.99 a month to Google for the privilege of storing this data. The discarded jetsam, the specialist services and the pet llamas that illuminate the cracked screen of her Huawei P20 are then painted using luxury brand oil paints and specialist Italian paper.
Laura Fitzgerald is a visual artist working in drawing, painting, installation, video, and text. Her work points to problematic and absurd aspects within complex political and personal situations. As part of An Animate Land she will present David Brown’s Enterprise a full-scale three-dimensional drawing of a David Brown Tractor made from bended and welded metal. The tractor acts as viewing device for a new film work entitled; Art School in the Old Days, * which tells the tale of an older artist looking back at their experiences of art education. These works will be accompanied by four drawings, from the “Too big” series.
Miriam O’Connors photographic practice draws inspiration from the sights, sounds and language of everyday life. She is curious about the multifaceted roles photography occupies in culture and the manner in which this persuasive medium permeates the way we engage with the world around us. Camera at the Mart is new lens based work by O’Connor and is the result of an artist residency undertaken at Roscommon Mart. Taking its title from the weekly mart reports which chart livestock sales, trends and mart turnout, in this work O’ Connor reflects on the proximity of Roscommon Mart to the Arts Centre and this becomes a focus for her inquiries. The photographs produced during the residency reflect her observations and experiences of this space and are presented through a collection of postcards. The postcards which are on display in the Mart and in the Arts Centre, are an invitation for audiences to respond with their own mart experiences and relationship to this space. This presentational strategy also offers opportunities for exchange between these two audiences, who, despite their close proximity rarely mingle or interact.
*Art School in the Old Days features archival footage from The Stones Will Speak (1974) Courtesy of IFI Irish Film Archive, with kind permission of Peter McDonald, and with thanks to the Make Film History project, Dr Colm McAuliffe, Dr Shane O’Sullivan and Tadhg O’Sullivan.
*Image : Laura Fitzgerald.
This exhibition is supported by the Arts Council of Ireland
Gallery Open Tuesday – Friday 10am – 5pm, Saturday 11am – 4pm
Exhibition opens at 6pm on Friday 20th May and continues to July 1st