In Stone

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to visit the Aran Islands. The weather was ‘gorgeous’ as they say over here. Besides basking in the rare Irish sun and wandering all over the island of Inis Mór, it was an opportunity to think about the work I’ve made during this grant period, and some new influences I’ll be taking home with me.

If you’ve ever seen pictures of the Aran Islands, you’ve probably seen the iconic stone walls that cover the island. The geology consists of mostly karst limestone, like The Burren in County Clare, and for thousands of years, it has provided hardy building material for humans living there.

Aran14

I could have spent weeks exploring the characters of these stone walls – some with stones fit neatly like puzzle pieces and some with stones of varying sizes and shapes leaning this way and that. I starting thinking more about the character of stone – its solidity and mass, its coldness, its strength. In many ways, it’s the exact opposite of the materials I’ve been using lately – fabric and paper, which are delicate, ephemeral, warm, feminine.

But both the fabric and the stone make me think of bodies and flesh. Maybe it’s the tactile characteristics of both stone and fabric. Anyway, the wheels are turning. I’m thinking about:

  • construction, fitting ‘bits’ together
  • embossing and embedding
  • draping, leaning
  • weight, solidity – fragility
  • enduring – dwindling

It’s much easier to ‘speak’ visually in order to explain these things. So here are some stone things that I’ve encountered over the last 9 months.

Windows and Doors:

Figures:

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Embedded

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Inscribed

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Talking stones:

GraceWeir3
Grace Weir’s installation “If only something else had happened” (2011), part of her exhibition at the Irish Museum of Modern Art.

I’m listening to a recording ’embedded’ in stone – the recording is Grace Weir and Ruth Byrne discussing a theory of reasoning…

This ‘stone’ fixation is rich, I think. There’s something there…

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