Catriona Leahy | Metabolic
Rift | 2020 | 24 individual silver gelatin prints on resin coated
paper, walnut frame with non-reflective glass
Culture night 2023 the Arts Council will once again proudly showcase a
selection of works recently added to its extensive Visual Art Collection.
To celebrate the
evening we are sharing some insight on each of the artist and artworks which
will be on display:
‘Metabolic Rift explores the
decimated raised bogs of the Midlands of Ireland as a result of industrial peat
extraction. It draws on Karl Marx’s idea that an irreparable rift or rupture
has formed in the metabolic relation between human beings and nature. Stemming
from the Greek word metalabe, meaning to transform, metabolism suggests a
process of continuous, mutual exchange between living beings and their
environment - a cycle that can be sustained. However, in the current state of
ecological crisis emanating largely from capitalist production, human
exploitation of natural finite resources, and globalisation, the cycle is
broken and unstable; metabolic continuity has suffered a rupture. Metabolic Rift
aims to call attention to the rifts
described, both temporal and physical, in and on the surface of the landscape.’
My work explores sites
wherein a particular dissonance manifests itself temporally, spatially or
aesthetically. My interest lies in the remains of cultural phenomena that have
been displaced, or have lost their significance in our “progress-driven”,
globalised society. Residues on the landscape of our industrial past and by
extension, the impact this intervention has had on our environment also provide
material for investigating the repercussions of a society driven by progress.
Through a process of intervention in the image using print, photography, moving
image, installation and sculpture, attention is drawn to transformations,
latent aspects and layered histories. Recent work is preoccupied with how to
reimagine landscape in a time of ecological crisis. Focusing on anthropogenic
landscapes – landscapes transformed by man’s intervention – my site of interest
is the decimated peatlands of Ireland. Using experimental analogue photography
to create large format photographs, I explore the bog as “Nature’s Own
Darkroom” – a space of latent potential that once exposed to the elements
undergoes an irreversible process of transformation.
Catriona Leahy is a
visual artist based in Dublin and Kildare. She holds an MA Print from the Royal
College of Art in London (2013). She has exhibited both nationally and
internationally. Recent exhibitions include Agitation Co-op at Temple Bar
Gallery & Studios, Dublin (2021), How the land lies at Sirius Arts Centre,
Cork (2020); Past|Ures at Library Project, Dublin (2020); Fast Slow Fast CCA
Derry~Londonderry (2019); Unfolding Landscapes at De Cacaofabriek in Helmond,
The Netherlands (2018). Recent awards include Arts ACT Grant, Kildare
(2022,2021), Arts Council of Ireland Professional Development Award (2020),
Arts Council of Ireland Visual Arts Bursary (2018), Culture Ireland Award
(2018, 2016, 2011), Arts Council England Grants for the Arts (2016), AN Artist
Bursary UK (2016). She has been the recipient of numerous international
residencies such as The Frans Masereel Centre (2015, 2014, 2009), FLACC
Workplace for Visual Artists (2014) - both in Belgium, and a year residency at
The Florence Trust in London (2015 – 2016).
The Arts Council Collection was established in 1962
and now comprises almost 1,350 works of modern and contemporary Irish art.
This year we are delighted to once again welcome
audiences to the Arts Council buildings on Merrion Square to engage with some
our most recent acquisitions.
Works by many of Ireland’s leading artists will be
shown on the night including pieces by: Elizabeth Cope, Miriam De Búrca, Mollie
Douthit, Justin Fitzpatrick, Marie Holohan, Helen Hughes, Catriona Leahy,
Jialin Long, Kevin Mooney, Doireann Ní Ghrioghair, Emma Roche, Mark
Swords, Amna Walayat and Orla Whelan.
As well as this glimpse into the Arts Council
Collection for Culture Night, artworks can be seen all year round throughout
the country as part of exhibitions and long term loans in public buildings such
as hospitals, universities and schools.
Explore the Collection and more on our website here.