Making an impression

Artist Deirdre Gallagher has begun an artist’s residency at Kilkenny County Council Arts Office, where she will be based until January 27.

Artist Deirdre Gallagher has begun an artist’s residency at Kilkenny County Council Arts Office, where she will be based until January 27.

She will be in Kilkenny three days a week for this period, working in the Arts Office space at 76 John Street and at Kilkenny’s newly developed fine-arts print studio, Blackstack Print Studio in Parliament Street.

During her residency, she will be joined by Kilkenny artists Maeve Coulter, Caroline Schofield and Vicky Cody.

Deirdre lives in the small village of Castleconnell in County Limerick and worked in the electronic industry for 21 years before returning to her passion of fine art. Since graduating from the Limerick School of Art and Design in 2008 she has been a member of Limerick Printmakers gallery and studio.

Her current inspiration comes from the writings of the Irish poet and philosopher John O’Donoghue, the landscapes of Connemara and the Burren. In our fast-paced society many capture but a glimpse of the rural landscape, and these places remain wild and untamed by human domestication. And yet “the freedom these places provide allow our bodies to unclench and our minds to reach a level of calmness so that we may be alone but yet belong. In the rural landscapes we are not bound by the rules of human time, the landscape is a silent witness to humanity that keeps our memories and secrets but withholds judgement.”

In Deirdre’s work she attempts to capture the experience of her connection to the landscape, finding locations where she can truly be herself, without judgment and yet with a sense of belonging and connection.

Her work is produced through printmaking processes such as dry point and collograph or etching and collograph, creating contrasting layers of texture and line. The prints are often large in scale with bold blocks of colour increasing their atmospheric effect

Her past work has been inspired by Irish landscapes’ textures and colour, stones, dandelions in flight, and more recently trees. She has been gathering information how people connect with trees and how some go on to have a special bond with them, a concept she intends to explore during her time at the Arts Office.

Joining her will be

Deirdre will be joined by Maeve Coulter, who graduated from the Limerick School of Art and Design in 1997 with a BA in Fine Art Print, the following year attaining a Higher Diploma in Art Education, specialising in textiles, and now working in both disciplines and teaching art part-time.

Vicky Cody also graduated from Limerick School of Art and Design, having first completed a level 5 NCVA at Grennan Mill Craft School in Thomastown. Over the past two years she has been working in the medium of collage. Her work is strongly influenced by Victorian art and working on paper conveys the frailty that underlies the tragic and romantic themes in her work. She recently joined the Blackstack Studio, as she wants to combine her collage work with printmaking. She believes that this residency will enable her to explore and return to large installation pieces consisting of screen printed images and paper assemblage.

Caroline Schofield graduated from the NCAD with a diploma in fashion and textiles, and holds a City and Guilds in patchwork, quilting and embroidery, a Foundation in art therapy and a Certificate in visual education.

She won 1st prize in the Felt Category at this year’s RDS National Craft Competition. As the Arts Office sits “watching a bustling urban landscape of human activity”, she intends to use her time in this residency “watching and drawing and maybe even interacting with some of the human activity on the street and also considering what the human condition actually is”.

The four artists will work in their studio spaces in the Arts Office on various days: Deirdre on Wednesdays, Thursday and Fridays; Maeve on Fridays; Vicky on Wednesdays and Thursdays; and Caroline on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The studio spaces are open to the public from Tuesday to Friday 9.30am to 5pm, closed for lunch from 1-2pm.