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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.
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
Tuesday, 6th November
To begin with I was so overwhelmed with the idea that I had been given time to start experiment and create that I felt like a headless chicken – not sure where to start. As my backround training is first in Theatre, then linguistics I was alien to the concept that I was allowed to sit and think; I was putting myself under pressure to produce something immediately. I also found it very difficult to start a sketch book as I felt I had to be producing something of quantity. All this worry wasn’t helping the creative process!
A quick phone call to Mary Butler was re assuring and I made a start. I spent the first few days moving the beater into the studio and setting up the space to enable me to carefully record and document the fibres I was working with, as the results would become my palette.