My current work explores my engagement with the sea, in particular the Salt Water Lake and Marine Nature Reserve that is Lough Hyne, investigating both the underwater landscape and the people who engage with it on a regular basis.
Personal narratives, mythologies and family stories are integral to my work, as is the study of all aspects of the sea. In studio, I am developing a series of ceramic panels and photographs representing the landscape and the unique swimming signatures of the Lough Hyne Lappers, a West Cork, Ocean Swimming Group.
I am an Irish artist who was born in Dublin who now lives and works in Spain, Baltimore, West Cork. I work predominantly in ceramics and photography and I am also currently working on collaborative video pieces. My work includes sculptures, reliefs, photographs and multimedia pieces. Essentially elemental, my work incorporates earth, air, metal, fire and water. I have exhibited widely over the last 35 years and have completed numerous public and private art commissions including; Emerge (2000) a large multi-figurative ceramic piece for South West Fisheries and The Famine Wave (1999) a relief panel depicting the tsunami of emigration that was caused by the Great Irish Famine at St Louis High School, Dublin. I have work in collections nationally as well as in America, the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Australia. I have received corporate client awards and public awards and my work has been supported by the Arts Council /An Chomhairle Ealaíon, Cork County Council and the National Sculpture Factory, Cork.
As an artist, what are the key challenges that you face on a daily basis?
I am constantly trying to find time for my work and when I do find time often I am mentally drained and have nothing left for myself. Focus is difficult with all the distractions of a full time time job, a small business and running a family home.
What inspires you most about the county in which you live?
Where I live and how I engage with the landscape has become an integral part of my work. As a regular swimmer in Lough Hyne, I have a distinctive visual perspective. I observe the ever-changing landscape of the lake throughout the seasons and the interaction that occurs as swimmers move through the lake. One of the things I have noticed over my years of swimming with a group is that every swimmer creates their own unique splash. In addition to visually recording the the undersea world at Lough Hyne, I am celebrating the swimmers unique signature by creating a collaborative piece of art with the Lough Hyne Lappers. They contribute by making their own narrative though hands-on experience and storytelling. It is important that the individuals recognise their own stories through oblique suggestions of symbolism.
What is your top tip for fellow artists?
Keep working, no matter how difficult it is. Try to mark out calendar time, a time when you can park all other responsibilities and concentrate. I recently completed a residency which gave me time to focus. Collaboration is another area I would advocate this can be very stimulating and take you in unexpected and exciting directions.
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