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This Other Place – an installation.

July 10, 2018

On Thursday the 2nd of August as part of Late Night Art and for August Craft Month I will be exhibiting the installation This Other Place in Pollen Studio, 37-39 Queen Street, Fl 1st, BT1 6EA Belfast.

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 This Other Place is an installation by Artist/Silversmith Stuart Cairns exploring the language of the landscape and  materiality through domestic objects and space. A series of vessels and utensil type objects set in and around structures which echo both the natural landscape and the setting of the home. The installation uses precious, non precious metals, found objects and natural materials in combination to evoke a sense of being lived within the landscape. 

The exhibition is open Thursday to Saturday 12.30-4pm and finishes on sat the 18th of August, hope you can make it.

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Recent landscapes

May 22, 2018

 

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Recently I’ve added new marks to my drawing/painting practice, really though reflection of what I was seeing while walking and what had been developing in the drawn landscapes. Looking at the drawings and looking at recent photographs, especially ones taken on recent trips to Donegal, I noticed the connection between swathes of grass, fence lines and fallen structures, paths and boundaries and areas of demarcation. These elements form interactions between human activity and the landscape, traces of the past presence of people.

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So developing the work further I’m looking to emphasise these lines and add in more fluid shapes trying to capture the feel of some of these places and photographs. The intent then is to draw these structures into the objects and sculptural installations I’m working on in the making side of my artistic practice. Hopefully more physical forms will start appearing soon as I have a number of exhibitions coming up in the summer and beyond. More on those later..

Landscape drawings are available to buy here…

SOFEIR conference.

April 3, 2018

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Last week I attended the SOFEIR conference in Dijon, hosted by the University of Burgundy as an invited artist. It was my first attendance at an academic conference, its theme was “From Irish Land to Irish Soil: Materiality and Metaphors” approaching it from the context of  literature, fine art and the broader culture. The variety of papers and approaches was very engaging, it was interesting to hear echoes of my own approach to landscape coming through the discussions of work by writers, poets and performance artists.

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Some highlights include the paper on the works of fellow Ulsterman, the poet Derek Mahon, “Remember Life on Earth” by Maryvonne Boisseau and Marion Naugrette-Fournier. This highlighted the poets relationship with the landscape and growing ecological concerns and tied in the work of marine biologist Rachel Carson. Needless to say I’m currently reading both! Eamon Maher’s passionate discussion of the two Irish writers John McGahern and Dermot Healy discussed the importance of place, of connectivity to the land, its associated histories and lived memories as environment within which to tell stories of human relationships and struggle. The ideas of New Materialists referenced through the works of Dorothy Cross, Nigel Rolfe and the dance group Junk Ensemble was discussed by Lisa Fitzgerald. Here it was the physical interaction with the landscape through film, performance or dance where the landscape became a medium in itself to explore narratives of human experience. A special highlight was Dorothy Cashman bringing to life rural Ireland from the accounts book of a Franciscan friary in 1798. Using the accounts to paint a picture of the interactions of the friars within the rural community Dorothy described vividly the vibrant relationships within that setting.

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Dorothy Cashman presenting at SOFEIR

For my own talk it was actually very useful to have to do an overview of my practice, how it began and how it has progressed, in addition to trying to frame it in a way that might interest a room full of academics! Looking through and analysing my practice and how it has progressed showed an almost spiralling progression, returning to the same core themes, with refinement, with layers of investigation and evolution. From foundation studies and encountering the work of Andy Goldsworthy, being handed the book “Derek Jarman’s Garden”  by an astute tutor and looking at the forms created by weavers like Lizzy Farey and Joe Hogan grounded my interest in exploring and recording the landscape through materials and objects. This sculptural sensibility set within an object based discipline of silversmithing pushes against each other, the tension between the two to express large ideas in small contained forms  driving the work.

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Working visually you don’t always have the words to articulate what are exploring/expressing within your practice so reading The Living Mountain by Nan Shepherd with its introduction by Robert MacFarlane as I travel over pinpointed a few ideas that I had been holding. The idea that being in a place is bodily knowledge, a physical sensation which shapes us, not just the conscious intellectual knowledge. The papers in the conference added further to this perspective on my work. It is about, not just the landscape, but the experience of being within it, of being  part of it not separate. The walking, the collecting and even the swimming is about immersion, of feeling fully connected as part of the ecosystem relating to the tides, the seasons and the swoop of seagull equally. This is what I explore through the richness of materiality planted within the forms of domestic objects of silversmithing to reference the daily experience of being human. All in all the conference gave me a deeper appreciation of my practice, something I think I’ll write about in another blog post [this was threatening to get very wordy!], as well as the opportunity to meet some wonderful, warm and interesting people. New steps ahead…

 

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Winter walks, observations and finds.

December 12, 2017

Winter is my favourite time of the year with the landscape set out so raw, gently sleeping under the snow and the light so fresh and bright. I have had a few walks in between working at the studio soaking up the stark lines and contrasting tones in the bright winter daylight. The woods and the shore, still and slumbering, fire my imagination with hints of their deep dreaming.

Shoreline walks and observations. 

October 7, 2017

Autumn has arrived and the mood of the landscape changes back and forth daily (or hourly !). I started October with a seaswim, an immersive and bracing experience in the environment! My regular walks appear on my Instagram feed but here are a few moments from recent walks. Wether I am collecting objects, rubbish or just inhaling the atmosphere of the day the landscape walks ground my art practice in all its forms. Consciously or unconsciously I always draw upon these experiences, sights and feelings as well as gaining the headspace to think abstractly around themes and ideas. The light and colours of autumn certainly have a sense of otherness to my thinking.. wonderful time of year. 


Small works exploring an intimate scale. 

September 26, 2017

 Recently I’ve started to explore the lines and forms of my work on a scale towards jewellery type objects. The idea to make wearable works with a sculptural approach which sits as part of my studio practice. It’s quite interesting taking a sculptural, expressive approach to wearable jewellery forms and I’m enjoying it immensely. The range will be available online soon. 


Seven spoons for Gabi

September 16, 2017

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I have just sent a set of seven spoons off to Gabi Veit for the opening of her studio space Avrir in a village near Zürich. Avrir means open, to open, opening in Rhaeto-Romanic and the space is converted from an old washing house next to a stream and in addition to acting as Gabi’s workspace she plans to hold workshops and exhibitions.


The exhibition features work by Gabi, David Clarke, Nils Hint and Simone ten Hompel so I’m really pleased to be showing with such a fantastic select group of smiths.

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