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Host: An Exhibition by Cork Printmakers

Host is an exhibition by Cork Printmakers at Tactic Gallery, The Lord Mayors Pavilion, Cork, Ireland, featuring the work of four artists: Aoife Claffey, Jennifer Cummins, Diane Keating and Rory O’ Mahony. These four artists are recipients of Cork Printmakers’ graduate bursary awards, from Limerick School of Art and Design and CIT Crawford College of Art and Design.

The Lord Mayor’s Pavilion is a small Art Nouveau structure, built in 1901 for the International Industrial Exhibition to host distinguished guests and visiting dignitaries.

Situated inside the main entrance to Cork City’s Fitzgerald Park, beside Cork Public Museum, the Lord Mayor’s Pavilion is now a contemporary arts project space and gallery, programmed by Sample-Studios under their Tactic Visual Arts Programme.

In partnership with Sample-Studios, Cork Printmakers invited their graduate bursary award recipients to exhibit their work at the Lord Mayor's Pavilion in August in a slightly different format to usual, presenting work as part of the artists’ expanded printmaking practice. The artists’ work is exhibited in a way that visitors to Fitzgerald’s Park can view it through the windows, without the need to enter the building.

This exhibition is entitled Host: a word with different interpretations, relating to hospitality, exhibitions, events, internet servers and the life cycle of a virus or parasite. 

The exhibition is concurrently presented online following documentation the work, allowing people to engage and interact with the work in a deeper way. The placement of the work in an online space questions the traditional exhibition format: how can galleries present work and how do audiences engage with art in this new age of physical distancing and restrictions?

The building becomes a host, in which the artwork is put out into the world via the internet, but also has a physical manifestation in the Lord Mayor's Pavilion. 

Aoife Claffey

Aoife Claffey is an artist working with photography, video, and installation with the addition of found objects. A graduate of CIT Crawford College of Art and Design, Claffey is a recipient of both Cork Printmakers’ Graduate Bursary Award, and Sample Studios’ Graduate Studio Residency Award.

Claffey’s work explores human sensory perception and provides an ambiguous space for the viewer to recall the peripheral: a space that is in the midst of current, perpetual transformation; a non-space.

Ideas related to entropy, the temporary, and greed are suggested through her use of transparent layers of imagery that can be transformed unexpectedly.

This is done using stop-motion film projection onto layers of perspex, glass and metal.

These surfaces are a combination of reflective and translucent materials both found and created.

Claffey is interested in creating a sense of division using chaos and order to evoke an uncanny effect or suggest altered cognitive states.

Using projection as an agent for political social change as well as a phenomenological experience, this can be an indication of displacement.

This can occur when one is confronted with the reality of reflecting on what is or what once was.

Since graduating, Claffey has received a number of residency and exhibition awards including: the Cork Film Centre Exhibition Award; Bloomers ‘Emerging Female Artists’ award; and has shown work with IndieCork Film Festival; PRINT.ED #5, at the Espai Cultural Eina, Barra De Ferro, Barcelona; and her work is held in both public and private collections.

Jennifer Cummins

Jennifer Cummins is a Dublin-based artist, a graduate of Limerick School of Art and Design and a recipient of Cork Printmakers bursary award. She uses a variety of techniques to create richly layered, deeply colourful works on paper, incorporating handmade and photographic stencils into monoprint and screenprinting.

Her work revolves around the liminal space that exists between her observations of her everyday surroundings and her inner, intuitive self.

The work explores this ‘threshold’ between her instinctive connection to the physical space around her and to her intuitive inner landscape using colour, shape and texture as important components.

Through the medium of screen-printing and photography as parallel practices, she allows this ‘liminal space’ between inside and outside to influence her approach to how she makes work.

This leads to a process-driven practice where the mono-printing techniques of screen-printing influence the construct and final outcome of the prints in a direct expression of that moment.

Through photography, the artist locates colour, shapes and textures in her physical surroundings, which play into the construction and tonal palette found in her prints.

Diane Keating

Diane Keating is a textile artist and designer, born and raised in Cork, and a graduate of CIT Crawford College of Art and Design.

Her work is fuelled by personal experience and emotive reactions to the world around her. She seeks to evoke reaction from the viewer, be it delight, attraction, confusion, inner conflict, or overwhelm.

Keating’s work evokes these emotions of overwhelming confusion, while highlighting that we as humans - through the symbolism of the breath - can make that change.

For the exhibition Host, Keating has displayed 50 facemasks, made from digitally printed fabric and a thermochromatic pigmented material panel.

This panel contains a text that only becomes visible when the mask is worn, as the heat from the breath of the wearer instigates a colour change in the thermo-pigment.

Each mask has its respective concern and pattern, which are connected. One mask has ‘Race’ as its concern, which is activated through the wearer’s breath, with the digitally printed pattern containing a manipulated aerial image of Minnesota, the epicentre of Black Lives Matter protests following the murder of George Floyd.

The connection between the body and the textile is essential in order to breathe life into each piece and cultivates a relationship between performance, textiles, design and humanitarian issues.

The work is in a state of continuous change - a state of unrest. This change is dependent on environmental factors, body temperatures and areas of contact. This continuous change is symbolic of the current instability of the world. Keating seeks to highlight the fact that fundamentally we are all human beings.

Rory O'Mahony

Rory O' Mahony is an Artist based in Limerick, a graduate of Limerick School of Art and Design and a recipient of Cork Printmakers Graduate Bursary Award.

O’Mahony’s practice incorporates printmaking, photography, drawing, sculpture and video.

For the exhibition Host, O’Mahony has included a series of four printed photographic works. Three of these works are framed within the windows of the rear of the Lord Mayor’s Pavilion, underneath the ornamental dovecote.

Another work is suspended within the main reception area of the Pavilion, an image of an abandoned farm building reminiscent of many found across Ireland, which could potentially date from any time period over two or three generations.

This is the first time O’Mahony has exhibited colour photography and is a departure from his process involving black and white analogue work. Shot on 35mm colour film, this series of work is based on contemporary suburban spaces.

The process involved in producing these photographic prints has resulted in the creation of a timeless series of images, which although depicting present, contemporary locations, could be shot at any time over the past fifty years.

O’Mahony’s practice explores memories of personal significance and the layers that encompass them such as time, location, form, architecture and environment.

The concept behind the work is informed by an obsessive return to and remembrance of memories.