This is my final multimedia exhibition from a 21 day residency at the Burren College of Art as part of Wheaton College's Arts in Ireland program. The project ultimately consisted of four large format mobius panoramas, six 2'x2' kaleidoscopic prints, a sculptural collaged celtic knot, and a skull & tooth mobile.
exhibition poster I designed & quasi striclty tessellating reflections
My family came from County Clare and remained Irish in the states for 200 years; my house was always full of traditional Irish music, stories, values, and I was raised proud of that heritage. I expected this trip to Clare to be rich with new experiences of the culture mine came from.
What I saw on arrival was what I expected, but what I felt wasn’t. I anticipated the Burren’s fertile rock, dense rolling fog, sea air, but not the swirling dervishes obscuring new conflicting emotions of some unfamiliar higher dimension. In trying to understand and explain that higher dimensional sensation, I resorted to casting light on it from different directions, analyzing resultant shadows, and produced this work.
Art is inherently personal, and this body is especially so. It is formed by my individual experience– especially submergence in the States’ cultural melting pot and skipping along the reflective, rippling surface of Clare. My youth was a deluge of America’s trademark diverse, quickly cross-pollinating and evolving culture. In contrast, here in Clare, life moves slowly, people appear homogenous and pride themselves in their ancient tradition. But just because Clare’s is folk culture doesn’t mean it’s unchanged from the time my ancestors shared this land.
In my reality, Clare seems very different from how my family remembers it. In some ways, it feels skeletal in comparison, as so many people, the conduit of culture, left in droves for the States. Now tourists ogle the homes emigrants abandoned to nature, perpetuating a hushed dialogue between tourists looking for authentic experiences of their heritage and the Irish people’s conflicted appraisal of the value of living in a museum. That pivotal conversation in turn drives development of the ancient co-evolution of man and land.
The two sides of those dialogues are most apparent in my Möbius panoramas and skull-mobile, while my collaged knot and kaleidoscopic prints attempt to take a step back for a more holistic perspective of the give-and-take between divergent but co-dependent cultures, examining interaction between peoples and this island.
These dialogues between Ireland, its native people, and the Irish diaspora, between man and land, between the value of culture against currency, all spotlight-worthy colloquy, serve as an allegory for my personal and artistic growth through the Arts in Ireland trip.