You are currently browsing the monthly archive for September 2007.
Visual artist Hugh McCarthy commenced his six-week residency on Monday 10 September at the Kilkenny Arts Office space at No.72 John Street, Kilkenny. In his work Hugh combines elements of popular culture and abstraction to create art that not only investigates the studio practice but also simultaneously explores personal and universal issues in contemporary society. Working in No. 72, John Street Monday to Friday until the 19 October the general public are invited to meet the artist. For further information on this residency please contact the Arts Office, Kilkenny County Council Arts Office, County Hall, John Street, Kilkenny.
T: 056 7794138
I must say at the beginning I was weary about the idea of having an open-door policy where the public could come in and out as they pleased, but this was no problem and I found that they were very educated and polite. The studio practice should be difficult, puzzling, questioning and confronting, so the opportunity to interrupt my routine was very welcome. These interruptions in my opinion fuel challenging work. As artists we find ourselves in dungeon like studios where we don’t see the public from one end of the year to the next. So the chance to receive feedback on a daily basis and explain my work to the public was a great exercise and good preparation for the following opening in Dublin.
I was delighted to find that the arts office had most of the essential equipment any artist would need in a new space. They also supplied me with a projector, which I used to project previous motifs onto new canvases to work through ides and experiment, helping me discard some of that background noise and find the real path I wished to follow. This also meant I could continue my work after “office hours” at home using my laptop and project the adjustments onto the work the following day. It is important to mention the time-table, as I’m sure most artists don’t follow a strict 9 to 5.It was difficult for me to leave my work at five o’clock, but I believe this type of programme helps artists to work to deadlines, which helps in any professional career.
But these are all good reasons to undertake a residency. It makes you work in a different form than you would normally. Different timetable, studio, county and the interaction with the public influenced my work greatly.
Hugh McCarthy, Hysteria, 2007, Mixed Media on Canvas, 100cm x 100cm; courtesy Stone Gallery
The Kilkenny county council residency (like the famous TV advert) “does exactly what it says on the tin”. They supplied me with whatever materials I needed and have most equipment that you could need on site. They are also very actively involved in the arts and are a great source of information as regarding Arts/studio groups, contacts, suppliers and general arts information.
I arrived at the space as an outsider, knowing very little about Kilkenny or its surroundings which was great. This meant I had to do my homework on site. It took the week to find my feet; I think any future resident should calculate this into their timetable. This first week might not have looked productive externally but it gave me time to set a base for the following weeks of work. 6 weeks is a very short time and I found that this type of pressure is essential, it will force me to bury myself in the work and this will in turn force me to engage in the work 100%, helping everything to evolve at a faster rate