Fingal County Council and Draíocht Artist Studio Residency Award 2023
4 Month Paid Artist Studio Residency Award
Deadline: 7th July 2023
Meet our Artist in Residence 21/22 Ellen Duffy as she describes her artistic practice over the course of a week in an Instagram takeover
Hey everyone - Ellen, here! I’m the current artist in residence at Draíocht.
My work is playfully provisional and engages with sculpture, assemblage, and expanded-painting. I use these processes of making to create a network of relations which offer freedom in responding to the context of a space. Each component within my work serves a functional purpose, whether it be structurally or through colour and form. My process involves free-form decision making that utilises found/discarded and industrial materials, incorporating them into fabricated structures that create interdependent assemblages.
I have been thinking about how I might order these posts and how I might sum up my practice. So, I think I will categorise them in a way that looks at some of the things that are often the foundation of my work, such as… found forms and their lives - past, present and future; my studio as a network of things - found, collected, accumulated and in perpetual motion; The impact light has on my work and how my sculptural work plus a global pandemic caused an important shift in my practice towards mixed media collage.
So, I want to weave in and out of these moving parts together to discuss my practice in a little more detail.
Tomorrow I will bring you into my studio and discuss the importance of collecting and reusing materials.
My studio is filled with lots of things I have collected over the last number of years. Here’s a list of a few examples; A rusted trampoline frame, an old hose, plastic food packaging,a rectangular piece of welded steel found in a bin, an assortment of ropes and strings, a yoga block, insulation foam and rubber coated gardening wire.
Some of these things have been rescued from skips, some are accumulated scraps of plastic/cardboard from post and food packaging, some found on the street and in gardens. All from the landscape of my everyday. All of these things bring with them a life and a story of their own. One that I want to add to. One that I want to celebrate. Entering into my studio, into dialogue with a whole host of other objects to find new meaning. I’m often drawn to the colour and forms these things take as well as their malleability and potential. I want to draw attention to the structural qualities of fruit and veg packaging, the abstract modular forms of a rusting disassembled trampoline frame. There is unparalleled beauty in the things we don’t often see because of their ubiquity or where they might be found. So I try to draw them out of their conventional surroundings and into the studio or gallery and begin to assemble.. One thing after another, considering how these things might join together and draw out some of those qualities that might be easily missed.
I often use shadows and the translucency of some of my materials as another tool to ground the work in the space of the gallery and play with the ability to view the work. Using the natural light or dramatic stage lighting to cast over works and drawing themselves through the space. I play with materials like steel grids and use light to project shadows onto the work itself and the surrounding spaces. These shadows anchor the work to the space, expanding and warping itself to fit the surface the light throws it to. With spotlights I can exact more control over the shadows, like; their size and quality of line. In natural light, the fleeting changes of time and weather allow shadows to hide and reveal themselves and move across the room. A document of time. Ephemeral drawings in space.
There is a truth to function that reveals the contextual relationship between the materials and their environment. I draw attention to how my work is assembled by highlighting the work's connections with the room and within itself and leave no mystery to the work's construction. The display mechanisms are part of the work and are often the key components of the work. Rope holds steel taut allowing for the structure to stand freely, a ladder hook is used to screw into the wall to create a support for a plaster cast or prints held up by wooden dowels.
Today is the last post of this weeks takeover and I will be talking about the impact of the pandemic on my work and how my practice evolved to suit these new parameters. I have been exploring the process of making with 2D mixed media works as a method of translation from my sculptural practice. This was a necessary juncture in my work brought on by the pandemic and loss of studio space as a result of a number of lockdowns. It was a catalyst for a new way of seeing my work - how form and colour translated to and within the borders of a page. This work has been essential to my practice and in the past months I have been exploring a number of ways of bringing these two components of my practice together in a tangible way as a point of connection between these two worlds. Exploring the ambiguous boundary between the two dimensional and the sculptural.I will have my first solo show right here in the Draiocht's main gallery in March of next year and it will be the culmination of my year-long stint here in the studio. It will encompass many of the things discussed over the past week and feature all new work with thanks to Fingal Arts Office, Arts Council Ireland.
Keep up to date with Ellen Duffy's work here https://www.ellen-duffy.com/
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