Responding to stories in the media, I find myself being affected by a sense of frustration on the one hand and by fear and anxiety on the other, and these feelings have coloured my work in recent years. However, I believe that art may produce a deeper and more enduring understanding of the contemporary experience than do media images and currently, I have been developing a body of work which reflects on Climate change and in particular, the significance of trees.
Trees are a link between the past, the present and the future. Their majestic stature, their long lifespan and their familiarity give them a monument-like quality but they also have a special aura that is difficult to define. Research has shown that within minutes of being surrounded by trees, our blood pressure drops, our heart rate slows and stress levels begin to reduce.
We can all take concrete steps to live more carefully on this planet. In recent years, I switched from oils to watercolour in order to have less of an impact on the environment. The switch has been both challenging and rewarding – challenging to master the idiosyncrasies of the medium but very rewarding in discovering new possibilities and avenues of enquiry for my practice.
My work is primarily painting but recently, I have expanded the notion of ‘works on paper’ to develop an installation/sculpture to be first installed in the Olivier Cornet Gallery in October, 2018.
The idea was to recreate a ‘forest experience’ in the gallery space, using rice paper. This is a traditional paper which originated in ancient China and has been used for centuries for calligraphy, artwork and architecture. It is as white as alabaster, known for its strength and smooth surface, very delicate when wet but said to last for a thousand years – an enchanting medium with which to work.
“Deireadh Fómhair” is the title for this body of work, the Irish name for the month of October but literally translating as ‘the end of Autumn’. We have always taken the cycle of the seasons for granted in Ireland but with climate change, things have become more uncertain. When this Autumn ends, can we be sure that Spring will follow Winter?
The installation will be made up of 64 painted lengths of rice paper. (The photo attached is of a working model of the installation). The finished piece will be unveiled at the Olivier Cornet Gallery on Sunday, 21st of October, 2018
I have also been working on a series of watercolour paintings on the various aspects of the forest – the solitude, the changing seasons and the peace that one feels on a woodland walk contrasting with the danger and the devastation of forest fires.