Wednesday 15 March 2023

Rooftop Archive 8

I'm returning now to the so-called "rooftop archives", that is the portfolios and rolls of work that I pulled from the roof in the last few months of 2022 in order to actually see what was there and hopefully do some purging! The purging was successful in that I destroyed a lot of things whose moment had definitely come and gone, including all the chalk pastel cut-outs and drawings that I did while on residency at The Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annaghmakerrig during the spring of 1989. I talk about about my first solo exhibition in Dublin here, the main reason I was on art residency but since I had most of the work done for the show by then, I spent most of my time winding down and having fun. This link also gives all the other links to previous posts about the "rooftop archives" or simply do a search for them on this blog.

I was surprised to find that I kept the irises as I had already thrown out tulips and roses at some other point! But dry pastel is very messy and I have no plans to ever install this work anywhere again, so it was easy enough to make a "trash" decision.

Though I like the drawings well enough, should I ever want to recreate the installation I would use paint rather than pastel.

I loved working large and freely, but there was no reason for me to keep these works once a picture and measurements had been taken (the rectangular drawings are approximately 100cm x 150cm or 159cm x 100cm).

I had made friends with painter Pat Moran (who I blogged about here) while at Annaghmakerrig and he called my studio “the playroom” as each day for several weeks I did large pastel cut-outs of flowers, whales, dolphins, swans and stars and affixed them to the wall. My studio became a space where my dreams could be immersive. Here is the dream imagery on the walls of my studio at Annaghmakerrig.

I can't remember how I affixed things to the walls -- I don't remember having blue tack, but perhaps I did or else just use loops of masking tape. The size of the cutouts is apparent from the chair and the sink area alcove. The figure caught in the trellis is the same figure which appeared in a lot of work and I associate with myself and the sea (as she turns into a red-sailed boat in the original series of drawings, which I talk about here).

I also made some of the stars green in colour as a nod to American poet Wallace Stevens, whose poem Our Stars Come From Ireland was a poem that I had been obsessed with for a few years by this time. 

At the corner of the room I decided to affix another drawing, mixing land, water and air (flight) together in the same space. Sure the stars had already prepared the way...

The final image in the studio is the rose rain area between the two windows. The next area leads to the start again: the drawing of the swan over the sea leading to the big cut-out swan flying over the flowers at the radiator.


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