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I had decided at the beginning of this week that I wasn’t going to go off on loads of different tangents, experimenting with all sorts of things and ending up with nothing finished. Instead I was going to focus on a couple of the things I’d started last week. At some stage over the next three days that went awry!
I wanted to develop the idea of the cut-outs of huts on stilts. A woman called in during the week and said they reminded her of Japanese structures. There is something very oriental looking about them and I am exploring the unknown and the exotic through my work so I decided to push this further, creating a new world, a jungle with these places of sanctuary that also make you feel quite uneasy so you’re not sure where you stand with them.
I made a few drawings to start with, which came out very strange, not typical of my work at all.
I also started doing some woodcuts. I used to avoid them in college, concentrating on etching and lithography but I think the work I’m doing now would translate well into relief print. Also considering that relief is one of the oldest forms of printmaking when you look at the famous hand prints found in prehistoric caves it ties in well with my concept.
On Thursday I went back to using old books to create something. There’s something about the idea of books resembling tents when turned on their side that I like. I just haven’t figured out what to do with this idea yet; I’m not sure how to turn it into an installation or piece of art. I love the simplicity of it but it’s not enough on it’s own. The link between the book and the ‘homemade tent’ brings me back to childhood, creating an imaginary world or a hideaway from reality.
One of my aims for this residency is to concentrate on the use of paper and really exploit it. I’ve been looking at ways of building 3D structures out of it, using glue and wax to stiffen and strengthen the paper. My starting point with this did not go very well so I kind of abandoned it.
I came back to the idea again this week and built a structure out of tissue paper and glue which, when lit up, created a really nice effect.
Again I’m not sure how I’m going to develop this, I’m thinking of printing on to Japanese papers and then building sculptures from them. And keep layering more images and paper to create depth.
Offaly based artist Niamh White will commence her six week residency at Kilkenny County Councils Arts Office, no. 72 John Street on Monday 2nd February 2009. Niamh graduated from The National College of Art and Design with a Degree in Fine Art, Sculpture and is currently Outreach and Education Officer at the Dunamaise Art Centre in Portlaoise. She has led and participated in a number of community and Outreach projects since graduating; including a Mother and Toddler Photography Project in Portlaoise, Artist in Residence Kilenard National School in Laois, Resident artist in Cois Mara, Rosslare and a Sculpture in Woodlands programme in Wicklow
Niamh’s work is concerned with relationships, the workings of and structure of social expectations within relationships, domestic patterns, rules that apply to people and how the rules change from person to person. Ideas of nurturing, dependence and maintenance of relationships are recurring themes, as well as a strong connection to physical environment and living history. Accessibility is a key consideration of her work and she often involves others in her work. She has been a practising Community Artist since training with CREATE in Dublin in 2002.
During her time here in Kilkenny she intends to to focus on the mechanics of relationships, the workings that are unseen but those that form the basis for survival. Whether indeed the relationship is between two people or a chemical relationship such as respiration and photosynthesis. She presents the following poem as something that will inform her work, as will her previous research into biological processes.
Atlas U A Fanthorpe
There is a kind of love called maintenance
Which stores the WD40 and knows when to use it
Which checks the insurance, and doesn’t forget
The milkman; which remembers to plant bulbs;
Which answers letters; which knows the way
The money goes; which deals with dentists
And Road Fund Tax and meeting trains,
And postcards to the lonely; which upholds
The permanently rickety elaborate
Structures of living, which is Atlas.
And maintenance is the sensible side of love,
Which knows what time and weather are doing
To my brickwork; insulates my faulty wiring;
Laughs at my dryrotten jokes; remembers
My need for gloss and grouting; which keeps
My suspect edifice upright in air,
As Atlas did the sky.
I continuing my normal studio practice, with the idea of beginning the create sculpture/ installation work little by little. I had been studying work by artists like Rachel Feinstein and Jessica stockholder (as shown on the right).
It had to be a gradual process to incorporate as much of my painting into these new sculpture pieces as possible. I began by starting a series of paintings to help me adjust to the new surroundings. In every painting I tried to introduce new elements and cause problems which I would try to resolve over the next few weeks.