Laura Ní Fhlaibhín presents a new body of work at Tinahely Courthouse Arts Centre, curated by Anne Mullee.
Drawing on research undertaken during two residencies at the community studio housed in Tinahely’s Market House, in the marl-walled court of the fairy queen exists both as a text and as suite of votive objects, from clay ‘spirit creatures’ to wall drawings, tiny bronzes, commemorative plate and an embroidered flag bearing the emblem of a hare.
Ní Fhlaibhín’s discovery of the use of marl clay as a primary material for building rudimentary houses prior to the Famine provides a starting point for her explorations into aspects of the colonial judiciary, the fate of Famine-era ‘criminals’, and the historic exploitation of the area’s natural assets.
Archival research into court records points to the transportation of convicts to the New World during the nineteenth century, in addition to the harvesting and transportation of timber from Wicklow’s ancient oak forest to England’s shipyards, and, reputedly, to build the Old Palace of Westminster.
These histories form a reimagined narrative of a justice dispensed not by colonial powers, but by the herbal wisdom of Biddy Early, barrister-witch, in a tribunal informed by poet Brian Merriman’s comic masterpiece, The Midnight Court.
Through transformative processes including casting metal, firing and glazing, marl clay, bronze and steel become carriers of social history, architectural oddness and impenetrability. Invading small spaces, ledges, nooks and crannies around Tinahely’s Market Square and the Courthouse Arts Centre, Ní Fhlaibhín’s almost insignificant works subtly repopulate the town while the Gallery plays host to the eponymous text.
The exhibition is accompanied by a pamphlet available from the gallery.
Opening Hours are Tuesday – Saturday, 9:30am – 5pm
Laura Ní Fhlaibhín completed her MFA at Goldsmiths, University of London in 2019 and her BA at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin in 2013. Recent exhibitions have included ‘Róisín, silver, rockie’ solo show at Palfrey Space,London 2020, ‘Caol Áit1/2’, 126 Galway 2020, Burren College of Art, Ireland, 2019; Deptford X, London, 2018; Tulca Festival of Visual Arts, Galway, 2018; ‘Water jets were used on the four corners of the building’, Newington Art Space, London, 2018; ‘a speech that showed the chair in the middle’, Enclave, London, 2018; ‘Dodecagon’, Space Union, Seoul, 2017; ‘Lamellae’, The Lab, Dublin, 2016. She is the current recipient of Goldsmiths MFA Graduate Almacantar Studio Bursary Award, and Burren College of Art Emerging Irish Artist Residency award. She was awarded Firestation Dublin Studio Bursary 2020 and Tyrone Guthrie Residency 2020.