Experimenting with our changing landscapes
May 18, 2012
We are currently hosting two very beautiful, but very different landscape exhibitions. In our first floor gallery we have Dave West’s Nocturama
....and in our ground floor gallery Cathy Henderson’s Shore.
These exhibitions presented a great opportunity for a workshop looking at the basics of painting background, middle and foreground, while exploring how man-made structures of modern life affect the world around us. So, this week we had 1st and 2nd classes in for tours and workshops with artist and facilitator Deirdre O’Reilly, as part of our Focus On... workshop series. The workshops began with a facilitated tour of the gallery spaces. With the students, we talked about how the exhibitions make the viewer feel: what sounds would you hear? Feel?: for Cathy’s works, it was calm, we’d hear the birds, smell the sea, feel the sand, upstairs, we’d wear raincoats, one student could see herself heading into the petrol station with her father, we’d hear the train at the railway, there would be car horns and engines…one student even thought they could probably hear an owl!
Fully inspired, we headed down to the workshop room to experiment with clear acetate, acrylics and permanent marker. After donning a selection of old aprons, father’s shirts and mothers t-shirts, Deirdre demonstrated what it was we were going to do. A simple landscape was sketched out with a pencil (no erasers or extra pages supplied- there is no such thing as a mistake in our workshops!)
Using sponges, we then filled in the background and foreground, by mixing colours. Blues, greys and reds for the skies, greens and blues for the sea, greens and browns for the land and any other colours that you could mix as nature is not made with an unmixed palette.
We used a sponge to encourage the use of small amounts of paint, as we needed the paint to dry as fast as possible- acrylic works better than poster paint for this purpose. The sponges also create lovely lines and shapes for the landscapes.
Once the paintings were completed and relatively dry (with the help of a hair dryer in some cases) acetate was placed over the landscape. Using a permanent marker, each student traced over the main lines in their drawing. Then they imagined that people began to move in and with them builders and so towns, cities, bridges, electricity, boats, trains all moved into and onto the landscape.
What effect does this have on the land we had created, does it feel different?
What does it make us think about, how does our picture change? What story are we telling with our picture?
After creating some beautiful work the classes left their work with us whilst it dried and headed off back to their classes. Double sided tape can be used to attach the acetate to the very top edge of the finished landscapes so they can be flipped up and down. The classes did great work.
If you would like to keep informed abut our upcoming workshops please sign up for our ezine by adding your details in on our homepage. You can see past workshops from the Focus On.... series here.
Dancing Sheep at Draiocht in June
May 15, 2012
So Jo! 9 questions for Jo Hammett, Producer at Crying Out Loud, about 'Kindur - The Adventurous Life of Icelandic Sheep', coming to Draíocht as part of Spréacha 2012 this June ...
1. So Jo, tell me about PTO Company?
Erm, it’s TPO Company. TPO are an Italian children’s theatre company, their full name is Teatro di Piazza o d'Occasione and they call themselves TPO for short. Sometimes watching TPO’s work is more like watching a film or watching a dance piece or a painting then theatre and sometimes you have to stop watching and get up and have a go or be part of the performance from your seat.
2. So what does Kindur mean then?
Kindur is the Icelandic word for sheep and is the title of TPO’s new show. A few years ago they visited Iceland; to see the epic landscapes and to learn about the myths and legends of an ancient and majestic culture. The show you will see is about that journey, the images they saw, the sounds they heard and the elements they experienced. And it is lead by three graceful sheep.
3. Real sheep?
No! Touring with three real sheep would have been quite difficult. We have three dancers who take the roles of sheep and in addition virtual sheep.
4. Virtual Icelandic sheep?
Yep, TPO Company use motion capture sensors to help create the landscape of the Atlantic wilderness. Motion capture sensors are similar to the technology used inside the X-Box Kinect and Wii. There is a moment in the show when the dancers roll on the white dance mat and their movements are tracked by the sensors, which create beautiful colours so it looks like they are virtually painting with their arms and legs.
Definitely. At the back of the theatre there are two large white screens, across which images of Iceland travel like a large moving image. And from time to time there is the occasional sheep.
6. That sounds fun. Is it fun?
Yep it’s fun, some of the audience are invited up on stage to play and if you’re not invited there are moments that you can interact from your seat.
7. How do ewe interact from your seat?
You (if you’re not an adult) are given a woolly heart to pin to your clothes. At times the heart will glow, which indicates that it’s time to get involved!
8. Wow! And Jo how do you fit into all this?
I work for a company called Crying Out Loud and we present and tour TPO Company. We’ve worked with them for ten years as we love their work.
9. And finally, what’s your favourite sheep joke?
What do you call a sheep with fangs? A Lamb-pire.
Now Booking at Draiocht:
Kindur - The Adventurous Life Of Icelandic Sheep
as part of Spréacha 2012
SUN 17 JUNE 2PM & 4PM - FAMILY SHOWS
MON 18 JUNE 10AM & 12 NOON - SCHOOL SHOWS
Main Auditorium Draiocht // Tickets €5 // Dur: 50 Mins
Booking Tel: 01-8852622
Or Online ... here ...
Read more here ...
Watch a Video Clip here ...
Des Kenny talks to Deirdre Byrne, Artist in Residence at Draíocht
May 1, 2012
Deirdre Byrne is the current artist in residence at Draíocht Arts Centre. The studio is a dominion to the creative act, a world where achievement and failure walk hand in hand with certainty and doubt, imagination is allowed free reign, constrained only by material and monetary limitations. The artist pursues their goal on an emotional tightrope, balanced between art and artifice, without a safety net; in the hope their tempered talent alone will fabricate a work of art. This effusive high wire act can leave an artist emotionally compromised and susceptible to criticism. So with this concern in mind I left outside the studio, the critic’s cold eye and entered this seminal sphere instead to bear witness to the artist’s creative virtuosity.
We initially avoided relating to the art works but instead talked about the studio in Draíocht and laughed about studios in our past with no running water and frozen toilets , electrical outlets that only those with courage and suited in rubber gloves approached. We discussed the disabling costs of framing and trying to source materials for art. All this of course was to disguise my reticence in uttering a wrong word that may destroy a work of art reaching it’s full potential. Most art in a studio are works in progress, cultivated and unfurled petal by petal by the artists flowering imagination, and a withering word can end this journey. But eventually we relaxed in each other’s company and began to look and discuss the works.
Around the studio floor were arranged pen and ink drawings of various sizes. Deirdre looks at landscape not in a traditional descriptive manner but in a conceptual context. Some drawings charter the demise of the Celtic tiger and images of ghost estates float in clouds, harbouring a dark storm which laid waste to this country. In some areas the ink runs like tears through mascara tracing the blemishing effects of the emotional trauma arcing throughout this stunted land. In another drawing a bungalow has a ridiculous number of ornate chimneys protruding through the roof. In the distant past, a tax was charged to residents on the number of hearths found in a house. This tax was partially used to pay for pelts of wolves which roamed our country. Indeed The Blanchardstown Centre now resides on land that was part of a great forest, where wolves roamed. Deirdre takes up this theme in a number of drawings. Wolves walk through a structure which is reminiscent of the town centre. The intersection of past and present are fused together, revealing the connections between the ancient ravaging of our land and the present endowment of calamity we visited upon ourselves. It’s as if Deirdre is professing that the wounds of the past, must find some resolution before we treat today’s desolation.
There were paintings on wood in a germinal state not fully realised but have potential and perhaps we shall see them on the walls of Draíocht in June2012 when Deirdre will have a solo show.
I have a ragged worn belief that art can transform society and on leaving Draíocht, looking across the concourse of the town centre, Deirdre’s art seeded my imagination with ancient forests and roaming wolves and I asked forgiveness for their destructive demise. With my perception of past and present amplified and those ancient shades fading from my mind, that fugitive faith in arts redemptive powers were reinforced.
Deirdre Byrne is Artist in Residence in Draíocht from July 2011 to June 2012.
Deirdre Byrne with Emer McGowan, Director Draiocht
Desmond Kenny is an artist based in Hartstown, Dublin 15. He is a self taught painter, since he began making art in 1986 he has since exhibited widely in Ireland and abroad, solo shows include Draíocht in 2001, The Lab in 2006 and Pallas Contemporary Projects in 2008. His work is included in many collections including the Office of Public Works, SIPTU, and Fingal County Council. Kenny's practice also incorporates print making and he has been a member of Graphic Studio Dublin since 2004.
Des Kenny, Rosie Fay and President of Ireland Mary McAleese