The Arts Council (An Chomhairle Ealaíon)
Posted October 8th, 2023
Earlier this year I wrote (here) about a new art + research enquiry, developed as a way of progressing my art practice while building on research carried out during - and since - postgraduate study. A large part of my interest has been in understanding how mutually defining polarities, such as linear-painterly, open-closed, etc. (for more, see here), have manifested in art through the ages. In the mix is the idea, mooted by artists and authors encountered along the way, that certain categories of style, such as 'archaic', 'classical' and 'baroque', may recur in refreshed iterations over time.
Having borrowed the concept of a 'strange attractor' from chaos theory - a provisional way to understand the emergence of patterns from seemingly random complexity - I've been focusing, as a starting point, on the sculptures of ancient Greece. I often find myself referring to this period when writing and teaching about art, and it featured in my thesis on Richard Tuttle due to his interest in its philosophy and mythology. Spending time in museums and at historical sites during a residency in Athens, I was reminded that seeing through drawing opens up new levels of perception, helping me to appreciate better how these objects are formed and interact with space.
Research and exploratory work (examples on this page and here) is ongoing. I am very grateful to receive an Agility Award from the Arts Council in support of a project - part of the overarching enquiry - which concentrates on the archaic sculptures that preceded the emergence of the classical. I will be probing their formal and functional qualities in experimental ways, furthering my knowledge of materials and processes while seeking interesting abstract, figurative and hybrid responses.
The aim for this enquiry is to achieve a greater understanding of various complexity theories and of art-historical forms (including their relevance to the contemporary), a more refined visual language and, ultimately, an exhibition-ready body of work. For the moment the focus is on Western art, but I hope, in the future, to broaden this scope as a reflection of my wider interests.
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