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South Tipperary Arts Centre present their much anticipated 2021 residency project ‘Shul’

Published 12 months ago 28th August 2021 by Editor

South Tipperary Arts Centre is delighted to present their much anticipated 2021 residency project, supported by Arts Council of Ireland. Shul. Shul is a Tibetan word for ‘track’, meaning ‘a mark that remains after that which made it has passed by’ and this exhibition sees artists Martina O’Brien and Christine Mackey respond specifically to sites and areas in Co. Tipperary where humans have left their mark on, or in, the landscape.

Martina O’Brien’s new body of work looks to explore the geological legacy of the county. Deemed to be Ireland’s most illustrious and prolific mineral locality, the artworks consider the site-specific chronologies of deep time kept by its stone along with its complex histories of extractivism. Mining took place intermittently at Silvermines for over 1000 years, from the 9th century until 1993 and evidence of this chequered past is still visible in the district including its 19th century engine houses and their close proximity to the remains of modern processing plants, waste heaps, and open pits. Realised through film and installation, the artworks also look to examine the ubiquitous presence of rocks in Romantic poetry, and how these sublime descriptions of the earth’s material, and early environmental discourse, presented the earth in its otherness and its nonhuman aspect.

Collect, save, and distribute are key activities that stem from Christine Mackey’s on-going interest in exploring biological matter. To open this wide and ongoing discussion around the vulnerability of local habitats and their flora and fauna, Mackey devised on-line the distribution of pollinator friendly seed mix ‘Pollinator Pastures.’ This has led her journeying in the footsteps of ecologists – retracing hand-drawn routes, site descriptions, and recorded sightings of specific plants that were mapped in Tipperary in 1991 for An Foras Forbartha. This alternative way of visiting multiple sites and locations led by the direction of this material whilst mapping the unfolding of a land and its inhabitants has led to a new body of research material for exhibition encompassing drawings, photographs, and sound recordings with objects.

Martina O’Brien is a Visual Artist and UCD Parity Studio’s Irish Centre for Research in Applied Geosciences Artist in Residence (2020/21). Her practice explores links between people, nature and technology, bound by an interest in the earth sciences and practices of divination. Recent solo exhibitions include Quotidian, Illuminations, NUI Maynooth (2019/20) and At Some Distance in the Direction Indicated, Butler Gallery (2018). Recent group shows include New Era, Solstice Arts Centre (2020); Datami Resonance Festival, Ispra, Italy and BOZAR, Centre for Fine Arts, Brussels, (2019/20); and Tactical Magic, TULCA (2019). Recent awards include Arts Council Visual Arts Bursary awards (2021/19).

Christine Mackey develops long-term projects that attend to the complexity of plant matter and local habitats, which embody notions of care and cultivation through a range of scio-environmental contexts, collaborations and mediums. In 2018, she was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship pursuing independent research across educational institutions and residency programmes. On-going projects include ‘The Potting Shed’ (2013 -) ArtLink, Donegal, which opened up a new social space inside a defunct military environment; addressing pressing environmental issues in relation to the geopolitical control of seeds was made evident in ‘Seed Matter’ (2010-) devised as a series of exhibitions and a publication, and ‘The Long Hedge’ (2018-) site-specific seed collection with future works currently in development funded by the Arts Council bursary award.

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