Des Kenny Chats to Kathy Herbert & Dorothy Smith

July 14, 2014


Des Kenny, Dorothy Smith & Kathy Herbert

Kathy Herbert and Dorothy Smith participated in a five day drawing collaboration in Draiocht’s Ground Floor Gallery from 8-12 July 2014. Both artists have worked together on various drawing projects in the past. Meeting at an arts festival they discovered a shared interest in drawing and a common belief that the medium had great potential to move beyond their studio practice into the public domain. Drawing traditionally was considered an educational medium, training artists to become sculptures or painters. This notion perhaps historically changed in 1953 when a young unknown artist Rauschenberg erased a Willem de Koonen drawing, with his permission. This act of erasure released drawing from the shackles of tradition and made it relevant and responsive to the immediate concerns of contemporary culture. Artists began to realise drawing could forge a new experimental era of innovative art outside conservative structures.

A 25 feet x 5 feet sheet of paper is stretched across a wall of the downstairs gallery in Draiocht, fixed momentarily in stillness, waiting to absorb the artist’s concepts.




Each artist would separately walk around the Draiocht environs and return with sketches and photos and begin to incorporate these images onto the large sheet. Initially these images were disconnected and spread disjointly across the drawing surface. Editorial decisions in the beginning were limited, keeping the drawing process expansive and fluid; ensuring possibilities are not corralled by controlled selective interventions. At this stage a well pruned tree not fully delineated captures space on the left hand side of the drawing, while an elevated drawing of apartments furtively holds centre ground. Right of centre a lone dandelion precariously rooted in a cracked pavement, mirrors natures defiance against commercial control. An intercom looming larger than life size, shapes silently the right corner.





Various groups including teenagers and adults joined the artists on their walks. They created drawings, utilising materials and methodology employed by Kathy and Dorothy. This engagement with the public was an active element of the drawing project, extending artistic practice beyond shuttered studio walls.


The large drawing sheet began to fill with new imagery as the days unfolded towards the projects conclusion. Each artist’s drawings began to taper fugitively into each other, marrying their conscious streaming of disparate parts into a self contained unit. The drawing became a theatre of negotiation as drawing space diminished, unlocking artistic self imposed restrictions; reflecting urban life’s impediments, encountered and bypassed, during their daily walks of research. Poetic metaphor and bruising reality coalesced awkwardly on the glinting white membrane of receptive paper. Sketches of fences pointed like spears, skewering drawing space for one artist, as a traffic stop sign tried to marshal leeway for the other. The drawing appeared to be a living organism; making demands upon its creators too suspend personnel goals for the greater good. In this sunburst of creative understanding, a collaborative work of art surfaces, unsullied by individual ambition.


A well attended talk concluded the artists five day collaborative exercise in drawing at Draiocht. Both artists detailed their artistic history and how they will cooperate on future projects. They explained that the process in making a large scale drawing was as important as the finished product.


Contemporary art culture has blurred the boundaries between process and product, granting both equal aesthetic values. The discussion was vibrant and absorbing as the audience discussed how art created with the simplest means of pencil and paper, expanded visual awareness. Through the gateway of history, artists like Kathy and Dorothy are inheritors of Rauschenberg’s legacy, filling the void of his erased De Koonen drawing with a conceptual system that is open ended and inclusive.

MORE ... Enjoy a 360 Video of the finished work ... HERE ... 
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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.

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By Draíocht. Tags: Visual Arts, Desmond Kenny, Dorothy Smith, Kathy Herbert,

Open Studio with Kathy Herbert

December 6, 2013

Drop in to visit our Artist in Residence Kathy Herbert as she opens her doors to our Artists Studio on Wednesday 11 December 2013 from 5.30pm-7.30pm. Kathy has been with us since July this year.


Kathy Herbert at Mary Burke's Preview Night 'Memory Traces'
 


"I have been here in Draiocht since the beginning of July. During that time, I have been working outside, finding Nature in the Car Parks around the Town Centre. For the first few weeks I was watching insects and birds, and the number of bees enjoying the flowers among the hedges. I drew the insects and made imaginary ones from florists’ wire.

The trees began to assert themselves as Autumn came along - one of the most beautiful in many years. The weather was mild and bright, but the colours were dramatic! I found myself focusing on the leaves. I drew them and painted them and some of these images can be seen in the window of Draiocht.


I walked around photographing leaves, them giving some of them numbers in Leaf Survey. I then drew leaves in chalk in the car parks and photographed them. That work is called Leaf Graffiti. I wonder if they are still there? Any rain would wash them away. I have recorded all this work and drawn the routes I took onto a map.


I also made some studio work - a three-panelled piece showing leaves going from green to brown and falling: I have made leaf-kites which are waiting for a breath of wind to fly! I have also been working on a piece called Word Tree which was exhibited in Satellite Project Space last October. The sketches for this work can be seen here also."

All Welcome!
 

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By Draíocht. Tags: Visual Arts, Kathy Herbert,

Des Kenny talks to Kathy Herbert, Artist in Residence at Draíocht

November 19, 2013

18 November 2013

Kathy Herbert is the current Artist in Residence and has use of the Draíocht’s Artist Studio for six months. Kathy’s practice entails mapping, cataloguing and documenting her encounters with the natural environment in the immediate vicinity of Draíocht. Festooned around the studio walls are large and small drawings, all jostling for attention. Two tables are integrated to form a large work top, strewn with painting materials and pieces of cut paper, awaiting the artist’s creative intervention. Against a pillar, inert rocks and a feather repose, reluctant to reveal their secret. Thin wire sculpture of animated insects, populate the far side of the pillar, clumped together, craving freedom. On a table secluded in a corner lies a dormant laptop and open notebooks denote where sparkling scribbled conversations have found a home. The centre of the large studio is uncluttered, allowing measured access to all the projects on the studios periphery. Objects that occupy the edge of an artist’s vision blur and form unintended structures which can enliven an artist’s imagination. The mysterious pulse of the creative act is energised by the studios orientation and every artist’s format is different.



In a series of drawings, insects and birds are captured in an intense calligraphic urgency of mark making. Movement through space is granted superiority over descriptive form. Spectral crows tangle the croaking air with serrated wings, a bulbous bee hovers hesitantly and clustered long legged insects gyrate in an aerial dance. While making these drawings, the artist would engage with people out shopping and record in notebooks what was said to her. People will ask”what are you doing”, “is it finished yet” and “do you make money”. This discourse finds its way into her work. Drawings of denuded trees, accept these words in place of displaced leaves, language replacing the rustling sound of nature. We laugh together at the phrase “do you make money”. We share in the belief that art and its practice cannot find true value in comparison with monetary evaluation. Truth and beauty are the standards artists use to define their work and these commodities are not noted on the stock exchange. They are found in the priceless heritage of dreams which bind a people.



Our shared laughter eases the tension as the artist displays and talks about her practice. It’s difficult to expose works, unfinished to the critical eye. A misguided remark may destroy the embryonic development of a work of art. Our mutual passion for art overcomes the tense atmosphere that exists between artist and critic. This permits a deeper review of her project charting natural occurrences surrounding Draíocht. She photographs fallen leaves and numbers their position with chalk.


At times only a stain marks its fall, a ghostly semblance of natures passing. She bears witness to the forgotten lament of fallen leaves resurging essence lost on unforgiving tarmac. Recording these small natural events amidst the ravenous consuming bustle of a shopping centre may appear ludicrous to some, yet the artist insists these revelatory experiences of nature, open up that silent centre in our humanity where calm and peace abide.


The pursuit of consumerism inhibits quiet reflection. There is a map of the shopping centre were the artist traces her movements on daily forays into the natural environs around Draíocht. As a sculptor, she’s interested in how urban space controls our lives and confines our reaction to nature. In a previous project of drawings, she displayed GPS co-ordinates of trees and using this information, the street location of each tree was established. The artist becomes a pathfinder, leading the way over old ground, showing how to see it anew.

The artist has displayed drawings of swirling leaves in the studio windows for the observance of passing shoppers. As I pass, pausing to wonder uncertainly if leaves have dreams, I’m assured natures streaming consciousness has found a champion in the dreaming hands of Kathy Herbert.





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.

 

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By Draíocht. Tags: Artist Interview, Visual Arts, Desmond Kenny, Kathy Herbert,