Thursday 19 August 11am-8pm
COMPLETELY SILENT AND TERRIBLY, TERRIBLY OLD
Selma Makela, Nollaig Molloy, Euan Gébler, Susan Hughes; curated by Susan Hughes
Ends 04 September 2021
This project is part of the Emerging Curators Programme. This series aims to support emerging curatorial practice. The curator will realise a project with artists/ and subjects of their choice.
“Away from the roar of the sea the island was quieter than the valley at home, completely silent and terribly, terribly old.” (Tove Jansonn, 1948)
The artists in this exhibition, Selma Makela, Nollaig Molloy, Euan Gébler and Susan Hughes, have a curiosity about the materials under their feet and in their hands.
Seduced by particular spaces, they navigate their way quietly, unsure if they are grounded beings in an alien environment, or if they themselves are the aliens. If you came upon any one of these artists at work you might see them prod something spongy with a fingertip, turn a rock with a foot or stop stock still to listen to the air. You would equally find them rapt in conversation with a human they may have encountered; this act of gathering stories is a form of research they each value highly.
In this show you will find minerals and environments metamorphosed, utilised, exploited and worshipped.
Selma Makela’s work engages with
themes relating to the climate crisis. Making work derived from lost and found
ephemera she explores ideas relating to distance and dislocation, both in terms
of geological timelines and our position within them.
Future Haunting is a series of
Cyanotypes developed from an archive of 19th century glass negatives containing
images of glaciers from the French alps. This work explored contemporary
archaeological practice, looking beyond linear constructs of time, and
objective perceptions of matter, to reflect on contemporary ideas of human and
non human entanglement and haunting.
Temporal images of another time alchemically appeared from the slides with sunlight, water and iron. The process was a ‘haunting’, not only because of the imagery it represented of lost glaciers and people, but also the vast time spans of the materials involved.
The circular compositions hint at celestial bodies, referencing proposed future mining. Rather than view the images solely as a past of lost glaciers, the haunting encompasses us all as ghosts entangled with the future in the time of The Anthropocene.
Selma Makela is based in Galway.
She has been the recipient of awards from Arts Council, The Model (Sligo),
Leitrim Sculpture Centre and Galway County Council.
She has completed many artist residencies including Fogo Island Arts, Newfoundland (2011) and Fleck Fellowship & Residency from Banff Centre, Canada (2010).
The world speaks if we know how
to listen. The earth, the stone, the places we build and the places we destroy.
They all tell their stories; in quiet murmurs and deafening roars.
Photography, video, and sculpture are the tools in a process of constant investigation into the many worlds -overlapping and contradictory- that we inhabit. From searching for spirituality in the waiting rooms of psychics’ offices to spying on the very data centres that spy on us, chasing human connection on ChatRoulette or finding stillness in the calamity of industrial quarries; an often playful engagement with site is at the core of my practice. The stories, materials, and aesthetic language of these unusual sites of contemporary culture become tools to make sense of the forces that structure our lives. I’m interested in the connections between the environments we construct: private psychological ones, shared cultural ones, and the real physical and virtual spaces we inhabit.
Euan Gébler is an artist based in Belfast. He graduated from the Belfast School of Art with a BA in Fine Art in 2021. He received the Cultúrlann McAdam O’Fiaich Student Graduate Award and was longlisted for the 2021 RDS awards.
Nollaig Molloy is a visual artist who explores materials from landscapes and sites looking at their relevance to historical, social and industrial situations. Her past projects include working with Belfast's HIVE Choir (2021) creating a series of live radio broadcasts from a lake boat on the River Shannon (2018) and exploring rock salt from 1500 metres underground in a working salt mine (2020).
In this exhibition she presents
work made during a residency in Leitrim Sculpture Centre (2017) where she
collected and experimented with local clay from various sites around the
locality. The rick of unfired and fired culm balls, grenades and
pellets consist of various recipes of coal slack or coal dust applied to a daub
clay mixture. They are formed by dexterous movements, repetitive and confident
in manipulation. Nollaig is interested in the idea of ‘material-to-hand’,
casting connections between place, landscape, language, value of labour and
Nollaig, now based in Sligo, graduated from Belfast College of Art in 2020 with a Masters of Fine Art. She is currently undertaking a development residency with Belfast Print Workshop and is taking part in Grass Roots; the first year of Muine Bheag Arts, Muine Bheag Co. Carlow.
The experiences which form the
content of my work are complex and multi dimensional. I and my subjects relate
deeply personal physical and physiological sensations while being inside our
bodies, inside intense encounters with nature. Digital video is used as a story
telling tool, effective in its artifice, to explore and express these natural,
yet often psychedelic sensual experiences.
The work presented here was made
in response to spending time on the tiny island of Inishlacken during artist
residencies in 2019 and 2021 which coincide with the Summer Solstice. The
island is uninhabited by humans which provides a foundation of privacy and freedom.
There is a visceral immediacy to elements of stone, water and air. The tide is
a relentless controlling force while the skylarks’ song does not abide. I spent
time touching surfaces, bathing in the sea and seaweed, listening and telling
stories, singing and building a stone wall.
Susan Hughes is from Belfast. She
has completed many artist residencies in Ireland and Scandinavia where she has
used her fiddle playing as a bartering tool to gain access to local stories.
She graduated with an MFA in 2021 from the University of Ulster receiving the
CCA and Platform Arts Graduate Awards.
Image top: Selma Makela