This multi-media exhibition was inspired by the Tallinn City of Culture theme. I was impressed by the attitude taken by Tallinn City of Culture committee asking its people what theme they wanted represented this year as a celebration of Estonian culture. This theme of Stories from the Seashore is common to many places that have a strong pull of the sea. This is very evident where I live, on the West coast of Ireland in County Clare, near the Cliffs of Mohar. Artists and musicians are drawn here and are inspired by the sea. Recently, this sense of being on the edge and facing the sea seems to be a recurring theme for the artists that I know and work with. With this strong link with Estonia I felt it would be interesting to acknowledge the connection and celebrate it by bringing this artworks to Estonia during the year as European City of Culture and what better time that St. Patrick’s week. I have been based in Tartu since September last and find myself looking for similarities between Ireland and Estonia: the familiar, something to give a sense of connection and belonging. Interest in the sea connects me.
I belong to a network of artist friends Outrider Artists who wish to make connections outside Ireland and show their work abroad. In mid January I mentioned the sea link to Jackie Askew a member who also curates exhibitions and we decided to co-curate this multimedia exhibition. I had been to East Gallery on Pikk Street for a gig and liked the unpretentious easy manner of the place and when Elijah the manager said it was free in mid March we started organizing the exhibition with the help of divedivedive and Michael Walsh, our friends in Estonia. I approached the Irish Ambassador to Estonia, Mr. Peter McIvor and he was very kind, agreeing to open the exhibition and Jackie contacted our Arts Officer in County Clare Siobhan Mulcahy, who is tremendously supportive and helpful to the Outrider artists and will help us cover the main costs of this event. Choosing the artists was easy as the theme resonated with so many artists living on the West Coast of County Clare.
Jackie Askew creates art that engages with her immediate environment of the beach and with the objects that she finds washed up on the seashore. Through photographic documentation and then the process of drawing and painting she explores the strength and fragility of these objects engaging with the materiality of what has been displaced and given by the sea. For this exhibition she has a selection of oil-on-canvas paintings from the series Wrack Line.
A multi disciplinary artist, Maeve Collins responds through sound, movement in time, photography, drawing and film installation works that are often time based and site-specific. Maeve Collins work for this exhibition grew out of practice based at the Edge of the Atlantic, where the artist had a residency on Inis Oírr (one of the Arann Islands) in 2007 and continued on the West Coast of Ireland to date. We have chosen her audio installation the quiet voice, recordings from the Comhra na nAosach Group, inis Oirr, Aran Islands, 2009. The quiet voice speaks directly in Irish of stories, sites and truths from a life being lived on Inis Oírr influenced by the sea. In exploring the value given to knowings given and received, the work reveals the careful act of listening to hear the quiet voice. Also exhibitied are her photoworks from her project Contemporary Hybrasil: Chair I and Chair II are of a performance created in 2010. For the opening Maeve will sing “Full Tide”, a song written by Fransis A. Fahy from County Clare.
My own work in dance and art with new media has developed with the support of daily movement practice to explore meeting points of presence and site with artists Maeve Collins and Alexandera Boettcher over the past few years. (See sitemeetings.blogspot.com.) Being born and raised on the west coast of Clare, the rural landscape and seascape has always influenced me. Im very drawn to the edge, the cliffs, this magical place with the open horizon that stretches out. For this exhibition I am developing a solo piece entitled Salt: Stories of looking back, that will take place quietly and probably hardly noticed during the opening reception. I will be using salt, dance, drawing and taking poloroids in a series of story sketching through movement and meeting audience. What is created will be left on the gallery wall for the duration of the exhibition. See mariakerin.blogspot.com for my creative history.
For this exhibition we will also distribute a photomontage of Second Horizon, designed by Michael Walsh, Emajoe Disain,Tartu. It is a collection of still moments in a performance by Maeve Collins, Alexandra Boettcher and Maria Kerin that took place last July in the Courthouse Gallery, Ennistymon, Co.Clare, a fantastic local run gallery with a very supportive curator Trudi van der Elsen. See Courthousegallery.blogspot.com for more information.
Fiona O’Dwyer had a very successful multimedia exhibition entitled strange the rooms we’ve all lived in……. a project commissioned by Clare Couty Council and took two years of work shown in the Courthouse Gallery in 2010. For Salt she will present images and stills from this series that depict the performer riding an old bicycle round both in a circle and in a straight line along a beach, while her conflicting reflection is visible in the sand. Working in film, sculpture, print and drawing O’Dwyer deals with memory and transience, creating haunting, edgy images and installations.
For SALT we have selected images of FOLLY (STAGE 1) (2009), a sculptural and event based work byFiona Woods. Woods’ practice includes curating and writing and is largely oriented towards the public realm. She incorporates actions, objects, publications, discussions, and performative photography into explorations of matters that interest her. Folly (Stage 1) sees the construction of a monumental form from scrap materials, anchored on the beach during a particularly high tide. The event engaged the massive, overwhelming power of the sea in a foolish attempt to overcome the subject-object dichotomy inherited from Enlightenment thinking, by expanding it into a field of materiality, a protean flow of matter-energy. See www.fionawoods.net, www.collectionofminds.net, www.rhyzom.net.
Curating for this exhibition was very easy because all the artworks have been already made and are part of each artists individual creative practice. Over the years I have curated many exhibitions with artworks from Jackie Askew, Maeve Collins Fiona O’Dwyer and Fiona Woods. I have also worked as mentor and been mentored by this group. There is a great sharing and support in the network of Outrider artists and respect for each other’s practice.
Much of this work has been shown before in solo and group exhibitions in Ireland but not together and this is a unique selection as transport was a big issue in our curatorial selection. We are working to a shoestring budget and with little time to organize this project so the challenge was to pick from the works available: images and videos and sound pieces and films that would fit in a Ryanair case!! Yes, its true, we hope to bring all the work in 2 standard suitcases.
I feel that it’s an exhibition full of integrity and honesty. Strange words for art as one might presume that all art is that but a lot of what I see in Ireland feels more like design and formulaic repetition. The disadvantage of the Celtic tiger funding art projects created a model for artistic practice that one needed to know the outcome and responds to some administrative brief, even having to seek permission to do it. This has severely limited pushing the creative boundaries and usurped the power of failure in creativity that to my mind opens layers of creativity and depth in an artist. And we as audience crave these depths and new layers.
However, the freshness of this exhibition is that it has not been created in these circumstances. I’m very drawn to Fiona Woods FOLLY images not just because I witnessed it first hand in the water on Flaggy shore as my brothers, local farmers, used their tractor and trailer to drag it out of the tide but because when I look at the photowork, Folly, I see more than my experience of it. I feel the synergy of the photo creates something so mythical and archetypal, a powerful monument in its own right.
I was very moved by Fergus Tighe’s feature Film Seaside Stories… It’s is a very brave film. Reflecting a very raw hard side of reality in Ireland for many, contrasting it with the beauty outside. I cried all the way through the film- yes that’s a recommendation of a film! We live in such a beautiful part of the world- the coastal drive from Bellharbour where I grew up on a farm to where I now live in Ennistymon is classed in the top ten scenic drives in the world, ranking number seven. This is summed up for me in the magic of the music of Mick Flynn’s Liscannor bay, a wonderful song in the film.
Fergus Tighe has his film company Gallivanting media based in Ennistymon. He directed Clash of the Ash, 52mins, when he was 26 and won awards at the Cork, L’Orient, and the Celtic Film Festivals. He has since worked in documentary around the world, most notably “3 Brothers”, and “John of God, Spirit Doctor of Brazil. Seaside Stories… is his first feature film and was created using local acting workshops and local amateur actors with professional actors.
Set in a west of Ireland seaside resort Seaside Stories… is a drama that tells the story of 11 year old Locky as the lives of the adults around him unravel in a haze of alcohol and cocaine. His mother, Anna, hits the bottle when an old boyfriend , Mick, is released from prison. Locky’s sister, Sally, arrives home from London to tell him a secret that sets in motion a chain of events that threatens to pull the family apart. This is set against the backdrop of Lahinch beach with breathtaking scenery but with a dark an insight to a side of Irish culture. It’s a very moving, tear jerker, suitable for every age group.
Get Flash to see this player.
There are two people missing from this exhibition that I would like to have included. Alexandra Boettcher is a dance/film artist based in Ennistymon and has been working on performances with Maeve Collins and I over the past few years. (See aledadance.com) She continues to work with me through Skype during my time in Estonia: we contact most morning and use skype to expand and develop our movement practice- its like being in a studio together. It was dancing in one of these sessions that I came up with the concept of Salt; Stories of looking back. The reason Alex is not performing on the 18th is that she is getting married! May I take this opportunity to congratulate her and wish herself and Philip a lifetime of happiness together. We are glad she is at least in Second Horixon the photomontage handout that is available at East Gallery. See sitemeetings.blogspot.com for a history of our workings together.
The other artist that I would like to include in this exhibition is the London based Irish Photographer Enda Bowe who has created a series of images about the Cliffs of Mohar and Doolin that are truly inspiring. He has family from Clare (mine!) and is very connected to the coastal edge. Unfortunately his work doesn’t fit in a Ryanair case. See endabowe.com for images and in a few weeks we will be doing an feature on him for divedivedive.org. Like many of our great artists and writers he needs to be in a bigger capital system to get work.
Before coming here the only two areas of arts that I knew very well from Estonia are Arvo Pärt composer extraordinaire and MoKs, the international Centre for Art and Social practice in Mooste. Tartumaa. In the past decade we as Ground Up artists in Clare looked towards Moks for ispiration as Moks has been leading the way in the artworld, looking at sustainability of a rural art practice. (See Groundupartists.com) I am delighted to be going there for a 5 week residency after this exhibition. It was encouraging to meet Evelyn Muursepp, the co-founder, she is so inspiring and refreshingly insightful, wise, and non pretentious, like every other artist from Estonia that I’ve met. I hope this is just the start of links between Estonian artists those of us on the West Coast of Ireland wanting to connect and form exchanges.
I think we Outrider Artists are at a point of having confidence in our own voice as artists and want to share that voice abroad with others. Trusting that the strength in art is that the local is universal and that humanity can be reached and touched through the arts no matter what language we speak, we are motivated to communicate and share, to meet. With the internet the audience grows and we are losing our fear of standing on our feet and been seen for what and who we are. This relationship with other strengthens us and I think is vital to helping us know who we are, as artists and as humans. Being in Estonia has given me that gift. Exhibiting in Tallinn will add to that and the joy of sharing can hopefully only be beneficial to all. Look forward to seeing you at the exhibition. Thank you.
Trans-disciplinary artist Maria Kerin combines her process-based visual art practice with embodied movement through dance to create installations, performances and new media body works. A graduate of Fine Art from DIT ’98 and a Bachelor of Business Studies from UL,’91, Kerin also holds an MA in Contemporary Dance performance from UL ’06. Her work has been included in group and solo exhibitions, theatres, art festivals, public commissions, and reaches audience through alternative site-specific locations, printed publications, the internet, mobile phones and live through skype.
Alexandra Boettcher Arann Islands Cliffs of Mohar Co.Clare County Clare Courthouse Gallery Enda Bowe Ennistymon exhibition Fergus Tighe Fiona O’Dwyer Fiona Woods Ireland Jackie Askew Lahinch Maeve Collins Maria Kerin MoKs Outrider Artists Pikk Street Seaside Stories
well done Maria…I’m always impressed by the art you create.
went well, … got some good photos. u–M
wish i was there- great piece on show- great site