THIS WASN'T THE FIRST TIME IT HAD HAPPENED Paul McAree Circa Magazine July 18th 2017
As part of Lismore Castle Arts ‘Origins’ exhibition at St Carthage Hall – a yearly graduate exhibition, and since 2016, a solo graduate award to one student from across Ireland – I have been travelling to every graduate exhibition across Ireland. Part of the thrill of seeing so many final year exhibitions is the opportunity to get an overview of what the next generation of artists are thinking: are there hot issues, are there any emerging themes across the country, and of particular interest for me, given the turbulent times we live in, are people picking up the gauntlet in their studios and responding to the issues of the day?
What has been most interesting to me, is that my initial expectation – or hope – that there would have been an anger or reaction in people’s work is not there. Reflecting on this with one course tutor, she said artists seem to be able, or want to, keep things separate, taking on the issues of our times in direct ways (protests, petitions etc), but, at the same time, wanting to simply make and create in the studio. Several tutors also suggested this was a response to our overly-stimulated virtual lives, an antidote to the Instagramming of our every moment, and a desire to create, often slowly, and take time out of the blur of daily life.
At Waterford Institute of Technology, this desire to make is strong amongst this modest degree year comprising just ten students. Clare Scott’s ambitious sculptural installation grabbed me immediately, an explosion of broken pieces of timber arcing across the exhibition space. I’m reminded in ways of the organic and playful crawl across gallery spaces of Maggie Madden’s work, but the broken and splintered shards of timber also touching on Liam O’Callaghan’s and Marcel Vidal’s. This wasn’t the first time it had happened uses and reworks timber collected by the artist over the course of a year and as such could be seen as a breakdown and spewing forth of an entire academic year, and in its own way questions what the final exhibition is supposed to be doing in the first place. Nearby, smaller sculptures look like exploded chests of drawers that have been put back together blindfolded. They appear as if they have just enough structure to hold themselves together, suggesting a sculpture is nothing more than the coming together of a few elements, which will eventually fade back into its environment.
ROAD TRIP REVIEW Aidan Dunne Irish Times April 2nd 2008
WATERFORD'S DYEHOUSE GALLERY was situated in Mary Street for a time, and another commercial gallery, handily named
The Mary Street Gallery, opened there last November. It currently features an extremely likeable show, Road trip, by
Clare Scott. In 48 small-scale paintings (including 10 in panoramic format), she documents a solo journey in the
United States undertaken in 2006. She begins and ends at Dublin Airport, beginning with a 4am view of her room at
The Clarion Hotel and concluding with a view of the airport itself.
What's particularly engaging about the work is
her matter-of-factness. She records the ordinary as well as the spectacular,
paying due attention to rumpled beds
in nondescript motel rooms, the condiments arranged on the tables in "drive-thru restaurants"
and the inside of the l
aundrette in San Luis Obispo. She does the standard tourist things, including visiting Alcatraz in San Francisco,
and checking out dinosaur footprints and Monument Valley in Arizona. She is alert to what is considered
conventionally beautiful and
remarkable, but also to what is beautiful in the everyday sense,
in details of out environment that are utilitarian and virtually invisible.
The result is a personal journal in visual form, a direct and unpretentious narrative that is cumulatively engaging.
She notes that the trip was "a kind of escape", a bid to "flee in order to regroup". Each painting is like snapshot,
down our gaze, bidding us to follow the artist's considered attention to things. Perhaps that is why the
mood is so affirmative.
What might have been formulaic becomes intensely personal and meditative, and encourages
us to look at the world with a greater
patience and appreciation.