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For this Ashford In-conversation event, Fiona Kelly will discuss her exhibition, A Demarcation of Time with Chris Clarke, Senior Curator of Exhibitions + Collections at The Glucksman, Cork. This discussion will provide fascinating insights into the practices of both speakers and offer an intimate look at Kelly’s exhibited artworks, as well as her interest in the metamorphosis of territory, both urban and rural, in an age of environmental crisis.
A Demarcation of Time voices a land, specifically the Split Hills Esker, Co. Westmeath. Eskers are a distinct Irish landform, composed of stratified layers of fine compact sands and gravel deposited by retreating glaciers. Since the 1840s, eskers have been widely extracted and dismantled as they are composed of the perfect aggregate for construction. The Split Hill Esker is an area of unique ecological diversity but also home to a large disused quarry where Gannon Eco, an award-winning waste reconstitution plant, now reside. This site is where Kelly is currently researching material making and unmaking, temporality and land use.
The imagery in this exhibition is fragmented; the industrial spliced with the rural, disarticulating and reconfiguring the familiar to slowly hold images of grasslands, flora and slowscapes of endless waste. A bag of dust sits in space, natural landscapes are depicted in tar and waste remnants are displayed as museological artefacts. These arrangements of the world’s materiality narrate a foreboding restlessness, of ceaselessly shifting surfaces, resources and terrains.
Examining humanistic interactions with territory, Kelly incites an inquiry into extractive activities and questions the cumulative effect of centuries of a nonreciprocal relationship with Nature. Her work is to champion the earth, regardless of region or demarcation, a voice resounding that we are only as strong as the dirt beneath us.
Fiona Kelly holds a MA from Crawford College and is continuing her research into the contemporary narrative of land use as a PhD candidate at NCAD, Dublin (2021-2026). She has been awarded numerous residencies including the Leitrim Sculpture Centre; The Burren College of Art; Art Students League of New York, USA; BIAP, Platform China, and is a European Pépinières pour Jeunes Artistes Laurate being Awarded a six month residency at Ratamo, Finland where she produced her debut solo show There are Thousands of Taps Dripping (2013).
Recent exhibitions include The point of truth, knowledge & beauty, Künstlerhaus Dormund, Germany; The Space We Occupy, Solas Nuá, Washington DC & IAC, New York, USA; A Temporary Iteration, (Solo) Sirius Arts Centre, Cork; Botanica; The Art of Plants, Crawford Art Gallery, IE; New Perspectives. Acquisitions 2011–2020, National Gallery of Ireland; Land of Some Other Order, Lavit Gallery, IE and The Mouth of a Shark, Edinburgh Printmakers Gallery, UK.
Kelly’s work is housed in the public collections of the National Gallery of Ireland, the Crawford Art Gallery, and the Jyväskylä Art Museum, Finland. Her current research within contemporary narrative of land use is supported by the Arts Council of Ireland (2021).
Chris Clarke is Senior Curator: Exhibitions + Collections and in this role he has recently co-curated the exhibitions Double Take, Outposts, Now Wakes the Sea, Enter Stage Left, Gut Instinct, I Went to the Woods, 2116, Everything Must Go, Selective Memory and Fieldworks.
Chris has also curated international exhibitions including Innsbruck International 2018, Under the Surface: Newfoundland & Labrador at the 55th Venice Biennale; WADE IN at Eastern Edge Gallery, St. John’s, Newfoundland; and The Second Act at Arts Centre de Brakke Grond, Amsterdam. He has published numerous texts and reviews of contemporary art and is a frequent contributor to art journals and magazines including Art Monthly, Source, VAN and Photography & Culture.