SWITZERLAND AND FEM_ART
Hi there pals,,
So this is an exciting week for me as I prepare to head off to Gstaad Switzerland to participate in ARTSFEMINs inaugural exhibition $€XY (Secure, Enthusiastic, Exponential and Young at heart) at the luxurious Huss_Gstaad, a stunning location in this rich and famous ski resort.
This is an all female, curated show highlighting the issues concerning equality within the arts world globally, supporting female artists and global charity: Women for Women International. I am attending the show to exhibit a huge new work (1 meter x 1 meter) a mixed media/acrylic art work called SAFEHOUSE, I created especially for this exhibit, as I usually work in wax this really is a large scale work for me, and I've got to be honest I loved working this way, working large suits me, its so physical and expressive, I really dived in!
I have the great pleasure to travel with, and show alongside of Irish visual artists and colleagues, Miriam Fitzgerald Juskova and Fran Halpin and 52 other curated artists from 35 countries.
As we in 'Team Ireland', as we call ourselves, prepares to depart for what is no doubt going to be a remarkable experience it hasn't escaped my notice that today is a landmark date for the #metoo movement, Harvey W was convicted today in the US...
Between the #MarriageEquality referendum and the #Repeal the 8th referendum here in Ireland a lot of feeling was dragged up for all genders everywhere, followed quickly by the revelations from Hollywood and of course our own appalling history of clerical and state controlled abuse against women and children, #metoo started to unfurl here on our own green soil...and indeed from my studio.
My feminist principles often flood into my work and SAFEHOUSE is no different.
I hope in some small way to offer a respite of hope through this work, a piffle really when you consider the scale of abuses against women and girls, but a gesture none the less...and a warning to antagonists everywhere...we wont take it anymore, we are strong, we are one, we talk, we are on to you!
SAFEHOUSE is not an 'angry' work, nor is it anti men, as is often argued when feminist talk comes to the surface. It is, in fact, a work of art full of hope, one that offers support to all! and after the exhibition launch this weekend when it is premiered, as promised, to the vip vernissage in the wonderful supportive and inclusive hands of Artsfemin I promise I will share the full artwork here.
For now all I can offer is a sneak peek, some press coverage and some prior fem-art works form my studio ...wish me well, I do you. xx N
Ps: If you wish to join us in Gstaad for this amazing event, follow the registration link in the Artsfmin page here.
My Fem-art. 2015 todate
You may have seen on my social media feeds last week that I was very much looking forward to being in attendance with curator Dorothy Smith at the Droichead Arts Centre in Co.Louth for the talk and tour of the selected group show "Printworks".
I have mentioned before how good this show is, how phenomenal the work is, how wonderful the curation was, Dorothy's eye for pulling creative exploratory printmaking works together and turning it into a cohesive and impressive show has to be applauded.
The breadth of work and techniques simply have to be seen, works in stone litho, linocut, screenprint, woodcut, drypoint, etching, monotype, monoprint, even dimensional and mixed media exploratory printmaking, all selected from this North East region simply proves the depth of interest in printmaking is alive and well.
For details of the artists involved and other information concerning the show please visit website here
There is always something interesting (and quite special in fact) about meeting the artists involved in the creation of work at any good exhibition and to hear Dorothy speak about how she selected the works was very interesting.
To have members of the public there to put questions to the artists in attendance is also of the upmost importance, we artists have a tendency to live in a little bubble amongst ourselves, we understand or at least have familiarity with some of these techniques and the processes involved in the creation of these works, to hear the answers to the questions asked in a room with a mixed audience of this type was both informative interesting and entertaining at times, and it definitely enhances the viewers understanding, and dare I say it, the appreciation of the work on offer.
Of course as photographer for this blog I have no photos of myself with my own work but I will update this page if one becomes available through the gallery.
Earlier that morning still at the Droichead in Co Louth, I had been invited to teach and Encaustic monotype class to a group from Navan Youthreach as part of the outreach program connected to this exhibition. the small group of graphic design students along with their tutor joined me in the newly reopened print studio called "the yard" found to the rear of Barlow house.
This is an old studio space, two rooms in total with excellent lighting and a printing press the size of a double bed that I nearly swooned at... Not that I would get to use it that day. My process involves using heated pallets, a matrix plate, several mark making tools (both purchased and handmade or repurposed), personal protective clothing and a selection of waxes, some ready manufactuted and premixed others made by myself in bulk on my recent residency in Cill rialaig.
My first port of call on meeting the students was to discuss health and safety always important when working with heat and wax. I gave them a brief introduction to paper selection & the processes involved, along with the use of waxes and how a translucent opaque or metallic pigment suspended in wax may react differently on contact with the plate...I introduced and we discussed the differences between monotype and monoprint. Additive and reductive processes and trace monoprint with encaustic.
Each student was then given a demonstration on how to measure the temperature of their plate and control it, how to apply the medium to the matrix plate, the use of the mark making tools provided with emphasis on them using their intuition and creativity and allowing that to bring them where it may. And then they were off! It was a fun and successful class I do sincerely hope the Youthreach students from Navan enjoyed their day, I certainly did...there is something marvellous about watching people come to terms with the new medium and then start to explore it on their own. It is wonderful to see them come alive with possibility and additionally wonderful to see them leave with several works they are pround of.
The show printworks continue in the Droichead Arts Centre in Drogheda County Louth until march 2nd.
Contemporary Visual Artist working in mixed media/encaustic based in the drumlins of Co.Monaghan. Ireland.