Tuesday 22 August 2023

Venue Migration!

Hi All,

Just thought I would include the link to the new venue for Culture, Craft and Cooking: https://whelanlorraine.substack.com/

I've been here since 2013 and have seen my stats nosedive in recent months/years as Blogger has steadily and stealthily removed features that made my blog findable and readable...

So I am hoping that with this shake up and change of venue my blog might reach more people. While Substack implies that a subscription is something you pay for, indeed it is not - my blog is free to whoever may find it interesting! There is an option for future payments but I have turned that off in my settings, so you can read and look at things without harassment.

So, goodbye Blogger and hello Substack. Culture, Craft and Cooking will be the same there as it was here. I even managed to move the entire archives over! 

Wednesday 16 August 2023

Lost - final prints

With many thanks, I received an Agility Award from the Arts Council of Ireland-An Chomhairle Ealaion in the fall of last year for the research and creation of a new series of monoprints Lost. While I began research immediately, the prints didn't start taking shape, ie, I wasn't satisfied with the results, till the beginning of March this year (2023). I have previously posted finished pieces here, here and here and now I will show the final works in the series.

My parents fulfilled their long-cherished dream of returning to Ireland in early June 1983. Since I had grown up with them saying this every year since I could remember (they had emigrated to Toronto in the late 1950s) it was actually a surprise to their children that they actually finally did so. 

Taking a break from packing up their home, monoprint, ink on Japanese mulberry paper, 12.5 cm x 18.5 cm

In the early years, Christmas was an occasion for song, monoprint, ink on Japanese mulberry paper, 18.5 cm x 12.5 cm 

I have many good memories of my best friend's parents who really did treat me like one of their own always making room for me at meals and providing me with a place to sleep when I was homeless. They were also great fun at video film nights, card nights, birthdays and other special occasion celebrations.
They were just like second parents but also good friends, ink on mulberry paper, 18.5 cm x 12.5 cm

Although I had lived in several other houses in Toronto in my early years, it was the house on Kingswood, in The Beach area of Toronto, where I spent most of my growing up. The front porch featured in many of the games we played with neighbourhood kids in my childhood. It was also a great place to sit inside on a muggy or stormy summer in the city night and still have a connection to the outdoors.

Young friends described it as a big house, but with twelve occupants, the three bedroom/one bathroom didn’t seem large at all, ink on mulberry paper, 12.5 cm x 18.5 cm

The Toronto skyline has certainly changed a lot since this memory of it from the late 70s/early 80s, before I realised it wasn’t always going to be my city, my home.

Even though the ferry ride took only fifteen minutes, from the islands the city always seemed distant, ink on mulberry paper, 12.5 cm x 18.5 cm

This is the penultimate print from Lost series of contact monoprints and a tribute to my great friend, Jay Dampf, who died far too young, several years ago.

On the long bus journey of the first art school trip to NYC, he brought home-made instruments and led everyone in song, monoprint, ink on Japanese mulberry paper, 12.5 cm x 18.5 cm

I had nearly finished the series when I realised I never posted any in-progress/technique images! So here is the aftermath of making a print for this series. It took many attempts to get this one right (more than any other print) before I was finally happy with the image of mother and child.

She hoped I would smile at the person behind the camera, monoprint, ink on Japanese mulberry paper, 12.5 cm x 18.5 cm, 2023. 

Wednesday 9 August 2023

Imperfect Collective at Signal Arts Centre

I greatly enjoyed Imperfect Collective’s recent show Picking Up the Pieces at Signal Arts Centre in Bray. It was probably one of the best and most interesting exhibitions I have seen at Signal! There’s a lot here to unpack – memory, damage & repair, violence, frustration, desperation, perhaps even reconciliation.

The noise of crashing plates from the video was the first thing I noticed, but since the video was already in progress I decided to have a look around the gallery first, before returning to watch it in full. It was a twenty minute long video on a loop. Most of the exhibition was sculptural, with the exception of three self-portraits of the three women who make up the collective: Cathy O'Reilly Hayes, Darina Meagher and Ann Marie Webb.

I looked around at the various works of various awkward shapes on various plinths. All the dishes are of that type that one associates with propriety. I am familiar with the Japanese concept of kintsugi, yet the crockery is glued together carelessly and the glue painted over with gold to represent the idea of kintsugi while not actually being kintsugi (which is far more precise and elegant).

When I get back around to watching the video, I realise that it provides the key to the work. The video is shot in a pool without water so the sound kind of echoes. Three pairs of hands conscientiously place dishes on a table. At first it seems they are setting a table, but no, they continue stacking the dishes precariously. A large, covered, silver but tarnished, roasting dish is placed in the centre of the table and the hands begin polishing. They are not careful at all with the task and the dishes find their way to the pool floor. The noise begins. Eventually high-heeled shoes are thrown at the table of dishes and everything is broken. The shoes remain on the table. Restrictive high heeled shoes have never been part of my wardrobe so throwing them at the table does not represent a rebellion of any sort for me. But I can sort of understand the point (and yes, the high heels are also pointed!).

The press release for the exhibition talks about the societal pressure to avoid failure but I somehow seemed to have missed this concept in the viewing and instead see it entirely as a feminist act of rebellion against upbringing and propriety. There is carelessness in putting back together of the dishes - perhaps there may be some regret in breaking them but the restoration is cursory: they are no longer useful as dishes. The smaller pieces too, the plaster encased shoes kind of holding repaired dishes, no longer serve any shoe-like function. They are white. They are ghosts. 

Wednesday 2 August 2023

Orla Whelan at The Pearse Museum, Dublin

I visited The Pearse Museum in early June, specifically because I wanted to see Orla Whelan’s latest exhibition Glas, Gorm, Uaine and see how she related it to the musem itself. I blogged about the outdoor part of the visit here.

Whelan's abstract work tends to be site specific with an intention related to the building in which it is set, so I was curious how it would fare in this museum. I last saw her work at Rathfarnham Castle and I blogged about it here. My own work was exhibited at Rathfarnham Castle last year and I did several blogs about work leading up to the exhibition, installation, opening night and virtual tours; simply do a search on this site for Memory Is My Homeland for further details.

The gallery at the Pearse Museum consists of two rooms. The first room was occupied by a large floor piece 

and the walls of the second room contained smaller works on linen. 

I was fascinated by the two antique chairs in the room and it took a moment to realise they belonged with Whelan's exhibition.

They fitted in so well with the historicity of the Museum.  Titling the chairs Bedroom Chair for Patrick and Bedroom Chair for Liam makes sense for their setting in The Pearse Museum. 

Whelan had meticulously woven a pattern, that corresponded with her small paintings, into the mesh seat of each antique chair frame.

The fine marquetry of the geometric fireplace guard also took its natural place in the room.

The show continues till August 13th.-

Wednesday 26 July 2023

Pearse Museum at St Enda's Park

Early June seems a long time ago now, especially as the promise of summer then has been superseded by the chilly, rainy days of July. When I visited The Pearse Museum and St Enda's Park in early June the timing was perfect. The day was glorious!

After walking around the park and spending some time in the musem, I walked over to the central fountain again to view the encircling walkway. This path, conceived by sculptor, Stephen Burke, consist of the words to  Patrick Pearse’s poem,  The Wayfarer, carved into stones surrounding the fountain.

From an upstairs window of the museum I had viewed this sculpture and wanted to take a closer look while I was in the park. I was amazed to find the two pieces that I had thought were ceramic, were in fact entirely carved from wood!

 Two Brothers  ia a sculpture by Liam O’Neill and is a wonderful reflection of Patrick Pearse and his brother William, who founded the Gaelic League school at St Enda's in the early twentieth century.

Wednesday 19 July 2023

Martin McCann at Rathfarnham Castle

I had really wanted to see Wabi Sabi: the Beauty of Insignificance, an exhibition of paintings and prints by Martin McCann, but couldn't seem to fit it in to my schedule, so I was so glad that the exhibition was extended and I made it to Rathfarnham Castle on the very final day! I love seeing the very different ways that artists respond to the castle and how their work is set up in the gallery spaces of The Dining Room, The Saloon and The Pistol Loop Room. I discuss my own exhibition there last year in numerous posts, just search this blog for Memory Is My Homeland for virtual tours and the work as it progressed.

I think the work is fabulous but recognise that my pictures don’t do justice to the layering and textures. The largest paintings were in The Dining Room. 

 It was lovely to meet Martin at the Castle too, as he was on hand to talk about the work and answer questions. 

Infirmary Road, mixed media on cradled wood panel, 100 cm square

Martin set up all his midsize/smaller works in The Saloon, which allowed for more intimate looking.

A Not So Distant Shore, mixed media on cradled wood panel, 40 cm square 

Aerial #4, mixed media on cradled wood panel, 28 cm square

As I had done for my exhibition, Martin used the much smaller Pistol Loop Room to display all his prints. Gelli monoprint collages were the ideal medium to complement the layering and textures in McCann's paintings.

Wednesday 12 July 2023

Moon jars at Rathfarnham Castle

While I was at Rathfarnham Castle a couple of weekends ago I decided to have another look at the basement gallery that has been exhibiting work from the International Academy of Ceramics pieces in the State collection. Entering the first room of this gallery, I was delighted to see a collection of moon jars by Geoffrey Healy. 

The jars are large and with a beautiful form.

Geoffrey Healy is a ceramic artist based in County Wicklow. I have seen a lot of his work over the years and recently heard wonderful things about his abilities from other potters who are doing some technical training with him.

The next gallery contained work that I had previously seen - and blogged about here - but it I enjoyed having another gander.

Mark St John Ellis of nagOffsite has recently redesigned/recurated the work and I noticed some new pieces that hadn't been included before, keeping the exhibition fresh for repeat visitors like me. I particularly like the way these pieces are embedded in the architecture of the former basement kitchen.

I am sure this porcelain piece, which resembles a carved rock, was a new addition to the exhibition as I have no memory of seeing it before!