Artist Maeve Clancy creates an explorable environment made from cut paper, card, drawing, and painting. Looking at natural habitats, she is working on environments in her own vicinity: hedgerow, marine, and bog. Maeve lives on Achill Island in Co Mayo and all of these habitats are within two kilometers of her home.
Much of Maeve’s installation work looks at place, story, and ideas of home. This exhibition takes the natural world in her locality and looks at it as a home to insects, animals, and birds. Post lockdown, the temptation is to move outside of one’s 5k and move as far afield as possible. This exhibition explores the opposite, examining what is close to home at a macro level. The richness of plant and animal life is observed. Even at this close proximity, outside influences appear: invasive giant rhubarb dot the banks of streams, broken bottles, and discarded wrappers are caught in foliage.
The work is displayed in 3D spaces which are explored by the audience. Hedgerows are shown in a maze like hanging installation. The marine environment shows colourful rock pools alongside line drawings. As with all of her previous work, the artist looks to bring the viewer into a new space, slow them down and have them experience something unexpected. They walk, stand, and can lie down to look at the work. This physical interaction encourages ownership of the space which can be explored at their own pace.
The exhibition title ‘Take a Long Slow Look’ has two prompts: the first is to encourage looking at the simplest of natural environments and seeing the wealth of life contained within. Even the grass verge of a road is home to thriving plant, insect, and animal life. The second derives from observational drawing. When we look at our subject, we first see the general pieces of information: what we know it to be, where features or main structures are located and how light falls on it. The longer we draw, the more we look, and as we do the quality of that looking improves. Details reveal themselves and variations in tone appear.