Archives for category: map art

I’ve been working directly on to the walls of my studio space in Cathedral Studios. It has been a liberating and exciting process. I’ve continued the marks on to the floor and the ceiling, which encourages the viewer to feel that they are ‘in’ the work; to relate to the scale of the work with the size of their own body. The work has gradually grown over the past few weeks. Part of the feeling of freedom comes from the awareness that the piece can only be transitory. Ultimately it will be painted over, only to exist in photographs and memory.

This makes documentation especially important, though it is wholly inadequate in terms of experiencing the work. I have often thought this when looking at installation or performance art. Immediacy, sensory stimulation and interaction cannot be translated into a two dimensional image or video.

Walls:

wall piece 1

wall piece 2

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Ceiling

wpc

Floor

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liminal

The following is an extract from the report I wrote from my recent first group critique in 11 years.I showed this piece and several others to the MFA class and tutors:

“I had mounted 3 map tracing drawings on canvas at eye level on the wall in my studio space. There were old maps of Belfast on the floor and tracings that I had made from them and transferred to canvas. A piece of wood with drill holes and various marks and indentations leant against the adjacent wall. There was an old piece of work on MDF that I had transformed into something new as I drilled, scored, nailed into and cut into it with various implements.

The group gave me their initial reactions to the pieces presented. The map based drawings on canvas were interpreted as resembling veins, graffiti scrawled on school desks, freshly cut hairs on the floor of a barber shop, or colour inverted ariel photographs of cities at night. Many people realized that the conte crayon marks originated as lines on the maps, others did not. It was speculated greater ambiguity in interpretation may have happened had the source material maps not been present. Stuart read the marks as being akin to the actions of an obsessive compulsive disorder sufferer or the cutting of flesh by one who self-harms.

Some of those present picked up on a certain kinetic feel in the work, a sense of rhythmic repetition in some marks.”

beyond

conte crayon and emulsion paint on canvas

Here is another work from my recent series of map based pieces.

dream topography

I perpetually learn through practice and will often set parameters for each new body of work. Each unique choice is carefully considered; the scale, materials, level of detail and duration that each piece will take to be ‘finished.’ I recognise the value in, and allow myself to work intuitively. This piece uses conté crayon and emulsion paint on canvas, compulsively layered to create results that are both complex and delicate. The image exists as a liminal topography of dreamlike lands.

 

barb

au bord de la mer

adrift

bfic

old belfast

Collaged from old photographs of Belfast alongside an old map of the city. A certain famous and tragic ship also features.

White-Out

This piece was one of three that comprised my degree show in the summer of 2003.  It measures about 6 and a half by 5 feet and I consider it one of the most successful pieces I’ve ever made.

I traced marks I inflicted on wooden boards with axes, drills and hammers then painstakingly transferred the tracings to canvas. It was a slow process to build up the cluster of marks which concentrate in the bottom right corner. At this time I was discovering the power of negative space, I think it’s very important to the overall feel. I used white radiator paint around the edges and gloss paint for the vestiges of white on the left hand side of the canvas.

The work resembles old maps,  cave paintings, cells seen under a microscope or a diagram of organic growth. It was selected for the Royal Ulster Academy show that year and sold to the Northern Ireland Department for the Environment. I sometimes wonder where it has ended up, or if it still exists and what the people who see it make of it.

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