Examining beauty and death as Kilkenny artist features in UK

Kilkenny-based artist Daniela Cardillo is leading a major group art show in York, England.

Kilkenny-based artist Daniela Cardillo is leading a major group art show in York, England.

The contemporary art gallery According to McGee launched ‘New Visuality’ on Friday featuring the “hottest new artists on the scene at the moment.” As co-director Greg McGee explains: “We attended pretty much every art show 2011 had to offer. At London’s New Designers show, Ireland’s Daniela Cardillo, a recent graduate of the National College of Art and Design, stood out in pretty much every way you could think of.”

“Primarily, this is beautiful stuff,” he says. “It’s shockingly well crafted and very desirable. Secondly, there’s the concept. This is jewellery formed out of electroformed components of dead animals. Skulls, bones, claws – who’d have thought this stuff could be so exquisite? I liked how I came away from her show confused, readdressing a few opinions and – this is rare for me – wanting to buy one! Obviously this is going to get a few people rattled. How about a necklace for Christmas, made entirely out of horsehair and rodent bones? Ultimately, this is perfect for us. When was the last time a necklace provoked a debate?”

The artist herself says she has always been attracted to working in jewellery due to the sentimental values associated with it.

“I love the notion of a piece possessing the ability to recreate a memory,” she says. “Through my work, I thrive for the ability to disassociate the stigma of death and disease associated with the bones, by highlighting the aesthetic beauty of the object itself. Thus my pieces are not a simple reminder of death, but an alteration of it, vitalising past life fragments. I’m honoured to get the chance to work with ‘According to McGee’, and I look forward to how this will lead an develop my career in the often difficult starting days.”

‘New Visuality’ runs at According to McGee in York until January 30, 2012. McGee’s online gallery is also being launched in conjunction with the exhibition, at

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