The Point of no Return
In The Shadow of Half Face
April 28th – May 20th 2017 CIT Wandesford Quay Gallery and Elizabeth Fort, Cork City.
An exhibition of work by members of Backwater Artists Group curated by Helen Farrell.
CIT Wandesford Quay Gallery – Éilis Ni Fhaoláin, Helen Horgan, Róisín Lewis, Megan and Cassandra Eustace, Ben Reilly, John Kent, Luke Sisk, Elizabeth Fort – Johnny Bugler, Angie Shanahan, Tracy White Fitzgerald, Elaine Coakley, Gerard O’Callaghan, Jo Kelley, Peter Martin, Helen O’Keeffe, Angela Gilmour, Darn Thorn, Sean Hanrahan
…these traces in themselves do not refer to the past: they are present; and, in so far as I find in them signs of some ‘previous’ event, it is because I derive my sense of the past from elsewhere… 1
There is an ambiguity about the word ‘elsewhere’ – it suggests somewhere else but nowhere in particular; a place as yet unknown or a place that no longer exists. It can also suggest an absence of someone or some thing, or if someone or some thing has come from elsewhere there is an absence of identity, of specificity, in their place of origin. Visual art exhibitions have the ability to harness this sense of ambiguity; even the artworks themselves are often made elsewhere, in a private place that is not usually specified, and then transported to a public arena, which could be many miles away from its place of construction. The artists in this exhibition, however, are exhibiting in sites that are in close proximity to the studios where the work was made. The place of their making to the sites they will be viewed is not so far apart, yet through their investigations of place, transience and the intersections between human activity and nature, they can bring to mind a time long since past, some other place or trace of a memory that is non-specific, allowing the viewer to look for meaning according to some ‘elsewhere’ in their own experiences. And because our sense of place is like an entity that exists in us independent of sensory cues we can feel strong emotional feelings towards, for instance, the places we grew up in or know well. We are, nonetheless, often compelled to feel empathetic to the traces left behind by others in abandoned homes, or a strong sense of curiosity to historic ruins and ancient maps; objects and images represent past and future for us in a way that our fugitive memory often fails.
The close proximity of the studios to the exhibition sites has allowed for a site-specific approach with all of the artists knowing from early on exactly where their work would be sited/displayed. Exhibiting across two locations
Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Phenomenology of Perception. Routledge (1962), 1 480offers an opportunity to challenge both the physical space of the art gallery, at Wandesford Quay, and the more modern building complex within Elizabeth Fort. Although, CIT Wandesford Quay Gallery now has clean white walls, typical of a gallery space, they are constructed within a listed building that was originally built as a flourmill with the original raw stone walls still visible in places, most notably in the vaults. Similarly, the exhibition sites in Elizabeth Fort are housed mostly within the L shaped row of buildings that were constructed within the ancient ramparts of the Fort. These modern buildings that once functioned as domestic dwellings, or facilitated other types of human interaction such as the Garda Station and Training Centre, are now only a network of empty rooms with some of the artists using the rooms themselves as material for their ideas, leaving them in the state they found them for the most part with very minimal alteration. The Air Raid Shelter near the entrance to the Fort and the North West Parapet will also be used as exhibition sites and there will be several time-based works on show in Elizabeth Fort and CIT Wandesford Quay Gallery incorporating video and multi-media installations that both encompass time and evoke a sense of place: 21st century technology within sites that existed long before the industrial revolution.
It should be noted that the nineteen artists selected for this exhibition represent less than half of the membership of the Backwater Artists Group and it would be next to impossible for all of the artists to exhibit at the same time. The wide range of work included in this show serves to give some indication of the wealth of creativity that exists in the Backwater Artists Studios and how important security of tenure is for artists working in and contributing to the cultural landscape of Cork City.
Helen Farrell is a visual artist based in Cork City, a former member of Cork Artists Collective and a founding director of Cork Film Centre. She currently teaches at CIT Crawford College of Art and Design and in 2016 graduated with a Doctorate in Philosophy from University College Cork funded by an Irish Research Council Scholarship.
The founders of the Backwater Artists Studios were all graduates of the nearby CIT Crawford College of Art & Design (CIT CCAD) and a key aspect of this exhibition is the collaborative support of CIT CCAD including an interactive project with undergraduate students of the college. This interaction involves third year students from both the Fine Art and Contemporary Applied Art Degree Courses pairing up with an exhibiting artist and meeting with them on a regular basis to talk about their approach to the exhibition, the work they intend to make and to track their progress towards completion and presentation. During these regular meetings the students gain valuable insight into the thought processes as well as the real- world practicalities of being involved in a group exhibition and of working in a group studio environment.
Many thanks to the following third year CIT Crawford College of Art & Design students who were involved in the project: Ann-May Tabb, Ciaran Farrell, Alison O’Shea, Alida Ozolina, Aneta Sawicka, Dori O’Connell, Dónal O’Brien, Muireann Kelleher, Catherine Callnan, Orla O’Byrne, Geraldine McCarthy, Róisín Everard, Sarah Conway, Kevin Gough, Catherine Murray, Electra Grant, Lorna McCarthy.
Here is an article about a recent project I organized
and facilitated in Vitebsk, Belarus, as a part of the Slavianski Bazaar 2016
international cultural festival.
More images and information on this project is to follow soon!
Click on the link below for full article and images.
Here is a Clip from Время Art (83 выпуск, 06.08.2016) TV and Radio Company “Vitebsk” “Vremia ART” of our street performance as part of the Slavianski Bazaar 2016 programme.
It was our total luck and privilege to be supported by the Intuitive Music Orchestra led by Yan Bederman
Thanks also to “EKAPRAEKT” who where proud sponsers of the event and project.
This project is dedicated to Marina Karman and all those who work at the VCCA and Art-Space Tolstogo-7.
Article for Over the Sun (Kazimir Malevich his influence and legacy on Western Artists)
Here is a Link to my Music page on Soundcloud.
Sly Lullaby, short film 2013.