Wednesday 2 March 2022

Memory Is My Homeland - Rathfarnham Castle - room 1: The Saloon

Since there are three rooms to my exhibition at Rathfarnham Castle, I thought I would do a virtual tour over the next few weeks of my blog, starting with the first room that one enters to view work: The Saloon.

Of course, the real start of the tour is entering the Castle, an Elizabethan fortified home. The Entrance Hall on the first floor is where one picks up my catalogue and folder that accompanies the exhibition.  


After one enters The Saloon from The Entrance Hall the colour of the large painting, Knockeen, on your left, stands out

in contrast to what appear to be three framed blank pieces of paper! (For detail images of Knockeen, you can look here.)

On closer inspection (though difficult to photograph) this is a trio of blind embossed prints, entitled Ghost I

Ghost II

and Ghost III. In answer to questions about their meaning, my response is that they are about being seen and not being seen. The hand images are made from photocopies of my own hands that have been reduced in size and cutouts made from sandpaper for the embossing texture. The form here is very appropriate to the meaning.

This is a view up the left hand wall from the back of the room. Note the decorative plaster work on the ceiling; the embedded painting panels are scenes from the life of Christ, placed here early last century when this building was owned by the Jesuit order for use as a seminary and retreat.

Florence Road: Butterfly Wall derives from an actual encounter when I moved back up to Bray from Kerry. I planned to paint all the walls in the house white, in order to brighten this old house, which had been unlived in for several years. Meanwhile, however, quite a number of butterflies had taken residence in the house and had become dormant on the old wall of the stairwell. While I was alarmed at this, my husband collected the butterflies and put them outside where they came out of stasis and flew away. Butterflies have always been an easy symbol of transformation and freedom and this was a personal experiene for me to paint.

This is a view along the right wall from the back of the room. The chairs mark the doorway that we have entered through, which is flanked by two fireplaces. In planning the location of the false walls, I stipulated that I did not want the fireplaces to be covered.

Red Wellies is a monoprint on handmade silk fibre sheet. I learned to make silk fibre sheet (technically not "paper" since it is not plant-based) during a zoom course that I took in the early days of the pandemic. The Fabriano paper inclusions are visible in the sheet and do make it easier to print on. I bought my wellies during a deluge in Galway in 1989 and practically lived in them (and wore them out) while I dwelt in Kerry for three years. They were worthy of commemoration!

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