First Awake Moment, an exhibition by former NCAD students Kathy Tynan, Ingrid Lyons and current NCAD student myself (Lesley-Ann O’Connell), took place between the 18thand 21st April at Pallas Project Space, Dublin. Michael Hill of the Douglas Hyde Gallery helped curate the exhibition and a talk, open to the public, was held on the 19th as means of illuminating some of the reasons behind the show and individual practices of the artists involved.
A presiding outcome of the talk was the nature of inspiration and how it gets transposed into a practice reality. Common to all three artists is how inspiration, for them, takes the form of a moment or instant where within their immediate surroundings something calls to be extracted for a deeper exploration. With Kathy such a moment can occur within the landscape of walks taken around her home. Within the limits of the repetitive scenery and familiarity there is potential for something different or otherworldly to be gleaned. After photographing such an instant where an essence or feeling outside of expectation seems present there is an imperative on her part to work with the image quickly and paint from it such that the feeling gets effectively communicated through the use of paint. If the photograph is not used on time what prompted its making becomes dilute and ultimately redundant. Thus there is a freshness and immediacy to Kathy’s work. Desisting from perfectionism in favour of a more direct, emotive touch, temporal, fleeting evocations are captured through the material fact of paint.
Ingrid often travels to attain source material. When her immediate environment is unfamiliar she garners as much information as she can from it with the use of an old Zeiss camera. Her photos capture less a particular place defined by specific features and more a sort of placeless environment that can suggest anywhere and nowhere at the same time. In an approach, a sort of inverse of Kathy’s, she takes hundreds of photos. She lets a long time lapse and then sifts through them. When an image strikes or has a quality either obvious or obtuse, she feels she can work with this through drawing. The discrepancy between the essence felt upon encountering the photo after such time and what initiated its production to begin with sets in motion a drawing process that moves between actions of erasure and filling in. Investing time into each drawing the viewer is pulled into a prolonged engagement with areas both defined and indefinable through the tentative layers of mark making.
As for myself I found it difficult to articulate my own practice during the talk because it is going through a change. I know that my inspiration starts with my immediate home life. Instances where certain objects are strewn in a particular way, doors are opened, the scene within windows seem momentarily curious can instigate a series of observational drawings. I use marker as a way to follow first instinct and resist accuracy and some of the formal results have helped initiate paintings, though I would not consider the two practices wholly related. Painting has taken on a more abstract, intuitive tone for me. I find that my interests in colour, shape and pattern get lost and seem unnecessary if used in too figurative a way. Despite this, the pull of figuration of some sort still crops up within the work. This, coupled with newer abstract tendencies has resulted in my practice, at the minute, being a wrestle between old and new ways of working.
Posted by Lesley-Ann O’Connell