19 Aug 2022

Finding your Turning Point

AN EXHIBITION entitled Turning Point by Martina Cleary is running upstairs in the Watergate until June 8.

AN EXHIBITION entitled Turning Point by Martina Cleary is running upstairs in the Watergate until June 8.

This work marks the final stage of a project begun in 2008 and supported by the Create, Phase I - Artist in the Community Scheme. The artist’s decision to work with the ancient Greek myth of Demeter and Persephone as the starting point for this cycle of images, came from a need to find distance and preserve anonymity, to offer a cohesion, or potential for meaning in events that so often seem to have none. It evolved in response to answers to the question, “What was the turning point for you?”

The choice of this story in particular, was inspired by real accounts gathered through individual interviews and research into gender-based violence conducted over a two-year period, at a number of local shelters and grass roots organizations in the Clare-Limerick region. The photographic work consists of staged images or re-enactments exploring the regenerative or redemptive potential of the mother-daughter relationship, central to this myth, while also reintroducing its psychological complexity as a means to navigate contemporary experience. This series was first shown (in larger format) as a solo exhibition at the RHA Ashford in late last year.

Visually the artist’s work often combines elements of ‘tableaux vivant’ and ‘documentary’ photography. While she enjoys using the ‘constructed’ or ‘performative’, she is aware of the power of photography as a perceived language of ‘hard fact’. Cleary enjoys working in the grey areas between, which to her is like memory, sometimes factual, at other times fantastical. Cleary’s practice is a journey towards understanding. It is a means of realizing individual and collective perceptions at a given moment in time. Artistically she is concerned with finding meaningful ways of engagement with real issues affecting the everyday lives of her subjects, while also touching upon deeper archetypical truths.

Martina Cleary is a Dublin-born photographer, currently based in County Clare. Having studied at NCAD Dublin and The Crawford College of Art & Design Cork, she completed her graduate studies at The Academy of Fine Arts and The University of Art & Design in Helsinki. Beginning in the early 90’s, her work has been shown and collected in Ireland, Finland and Germany. The opening hours of the exhibition are Monday to Friday from 10am to 6pm, Saturday 2pm to 6pm and on Sunday, one hour prior to show. For more information see

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