SURFACE

Dr. Maureen Burke:

This recent work is inspired by repetitive journeys made in Knocklyon and Rathfarnham along with the environs of Dublin’s Ringsend while either walking or driving. Some works focus on the minutiae of urban hedgerow, the tangled and complicated patterns created by snarled woodland in parts of Bushy Park, the fragmented patches of light and the repetitive motives created by swathes of green suburban spaces. Other pieces explore the industrial, emotionless aspects of power plants around the Pidgeon House area of Ringsend in Dublin. I am not concerned with the picturesque or sentimental aspects of these surroundings but rather their ability to call into focus the notion of looking and human perception – the notion that nothing exists outside the mind unless it is perceived – in this sense the subsequent act of drawing serves to clarify my thinking and experiences.

 

Drawing is my way of making sense of my world -  a way of saying I was here and this is the evidence of how it made me feel…drawing, in this sense, is an arrangement of my experiences.

 

While I am drawing I am concerned with the notion of mark-making and the structure of appearances more than what they represent in an objective sense. As John Berger puts it; to draw is to look, examining the structure of appearances. A drawing of a tree shows, not a tree, but a tree-being-looked-at. In other words when we look at a tree its form registers instantaneously – however, scrutinising the sight of this tree can take many hours ‘it also involves, derives from, and refers back to, much previous experience of looking.’

 

Anne Marie Hayes, MA:

The word encaustic originates from the Greek word enkaustikos which means to burn in and an element of heat is necessary for a painting to be called encaustic. The technique was notably used in the Fayum mummy portraits from Egypt around 100–300 AD.I am attracted to this medium because of its dimensional quality and luminous colour. The layering of wax and paint, appropriated images impacting on the Surface of the image, layering on, taking off, re-working, the struggle to find an image that works are all part of the delight of abstraction.

 

Susan Sontag once described John Berger as peerless in his ability to make “attentiveness to the sensual world”.  The sensuality of surface is as important as the image in my work.

 

Reflecting on my working practice I realise that primarily this work results from a trajectory of practices that include an accumulation of ideas, objects, found images and documented experiences. Together they generate ideas for work and ultimately suggest the materials that need to be employed – thus, whether I am painting, drawing or working with a complex range of glass processes – the process is all important. This can be a process of keeping a balance on a risky path and calls to mind the following thoughts:

 

testing the capacity to face laws of nature

 

a desire to overcome the unpredictable

 

allow the interaction of ideas images and surface materials dominate the journey

 

all is permitted

 

a face from antiquity

 

an uncreative artist parting the waters 

 

hearing the sea on a rainless winter day

 

counting the tides of the sea

 

imagine how much these trees have lived

 

taking a step forward and interrupting the journey

 

seeing how the surface protects

 

the blocking and revelation of light.

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