Wasteland – In Response
Barbara Kelly, Andrew Kenny and Laurence O’Toole
Monday 15 June – Saturday 25 July 2015
at Wexford Arts Centre (Upper Gallery)
You are invited to a closing reception/finissage on Saturday 25 July 4-6pm, with guest speaker Tessa Giblin, Curator – Project Arts Centre.
Wasteland: In Response presents three Wexford based artists; Barbara Kelly, Andrew Kenny and Laurence O’Toole, who were invited to respond to the exhibition Wasteland and connect themes to their own work and practice.
Barbara Kelly is interested in society’s consumer driven excess, and the wasteful legacy of objects that continually grows from this. Her work reflects on the damage this is having on marine life and our own food chain. The discarded ‘plastic soup’ has been produced by us all, but is ultimately resolved by no one; abandoned and ignored despite its adverse affects. Kelly’s work in response to Wasteland is closely connected to these themes and our ability to live in a parallel world. Through her work Kelly uses discarded and low-grade materials, creating ‘objects with a second life’. Although her materials are recognisable and familiar, she creates new and transmuted forms which transgress into half-forgotten dream and nightmare states. The work challenges our insight into environmental issues and questions if the balance between sustainability and our current surfeit will be tipped by our insatiability.
Andrew Kenny’s work explores the ideas of Charles Fort, an early 20th century writer, philosopher and humorist. Much like Wasteland’s emphasis on a lost and abandoned park, many of Fort’s stories came from an area slightly outside our reality; where they were either forgotten or more possibly shunned from science. In his first book “The Book of the Damned” Fort dealt with objects falling from the sky; such as fish, frogs, worms and coloured rains. Many of these accounts were reported in science journals of the day but scientists and scholars were interested only in data that would support their own personal ideals and had no time for such anomalies. This excluding of awkward facts is where Forts ideas grew from. He came up with his own theories but included the awkward facts to create his own picture of reality. His idea was of a vast sea floating high above the earth from where objects would fall was called the Super Sargasso Sea. It was an inter-dimensional place where the damned where kept. A place that was and wasn’t at the same time, a limbo. Through his exploration of Fort’s writings Kenny’s work, much like themes raised in Wasteland, concentrates on ideas of marginalised systems of knowledge and redirecting attention to alternate views of reality.
As an interdisciplinary artist, the core of Laurence O’Toole’s practice is photographic and sculptural, however he utilizes other disciplines and media. His work is concerned with the extrapolations of science fiction literature, the scientific method and systems of control. This, combined with research onto current environmental and economic concerns, produces works that examines aspects of greed, growth, sustainability and catastrophe. O’Toole’s recent work imagines a discourse between the past and the future, investigating relationships between what has gone and what is to come. ‘What will the future generations make of the ruins of our present?’ This work creates a sense of future archaeology and explores how our cultural heritage will endure, from the monumental to the mundane. His new work further considers temporality and the engagement between a viewer and an artwork, which is incredibly relevant in a time reliant on digital technology and instantaneous modern media. O’Toole connects these themes taken from science fiction, his local environment and certain philosophical disciplines to formal experiments in installation, photography and performance.
Having lived abroad for a number of years, Barbara Kelly returned to Ireland to establish a studio producing a variety of 3-D weavings using home grown willows and incorporating found materials. Her preferred materials are everyday objects and through using these mediums she creates work that includes both traditional and modern skills, figurative and conceptual themes. Kelly’s work tends to be large and tactile, with different components that are thematically connected. Kelly studied at Wexford Campus School of Art (IT Carlow) where she graduated in 2011 with a BA (Hons) Fine Art.
Andrew Kenny is a multi-disciplinary artist who works with sculptural installation, painting and drawing mediums. He studied in the Gorey School of Art and the Wexford Campus School of Art (IT Carlow) where he graduated in 2008 with a BA (Hons) in Art. In recent years he has worked as director and curator of Studio Nine; an artist run studio, gallery space and workshop.
Laurence O’Toole originally studied graphic design but ultimately gravitated to 3D design and metal fabrication. After gaining extensive skills in this field, he studied sculpture at Wexford Campus School of Art (IT Carlow) where he graduated in 2014 with a BA (Hons) in Art. Through his visual work O’Toole works extensively with analogue photography, sculpture and digital filmmaking techniques and practises. He currently resides in Carnsore Point, Co. Wexford where he draws inspiration from the constantly transforming costal environment.
Wasteland: In Response will run in the upper gallery of Wexford Arts Centre from Saturday 13 June to Saturday 25 July 2015. For further information on the exhibition please contact Catherine Bowe, Visual Arts Manager on +353 (0)53 9123764 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.