An exhibition of contemporary sculpture, especially for children, with work by artists Caoimhe Kilfeather and Karl Burke, and creative response space designed and created by Anne Bradley; at Uillinn: West Cork Arts Centre. Also including a collaborative commission of work by artist Siobhan McGibbon working with a group of children from Dromore National School in Bantry. Curated by Superprojects.
12th January - 2nd March 2019
Aimed especially at children aged 4-12, Elemental is an exhibition that invites children and people of all ages to encounter contemporary art through touch and movement, as well as sight. Leading artists Caoimhe Kilfeather and Karl Burke have transformed the galleries with their interactive, tactile sculptures and installations that explore scale, texture, space and light.
Elemental contains a major commission from Caoimhe Kilfeather, with artworks that suggest an imagined garden of both indoor and outdoor elements. One element, created from hundreds of metres of green Indian silk, hanging 3 metres high, offers pockets of space for children to inhabit. A tree house perches 5 metres high overlooking the exhibition space, the floor covered with cushions and 'leaves' fashioned from organdie, with brooms and sweeping brushes to tidy up. In the upstairs gallery are a number of works, and children are able to walk around and through a steel sculpture by artist Karl Burke (entitled ‘Taking a Line’), which stands 2.5 metres high, and creates a very subtle optical illusion that implies density in empty space. A related video piece and some photographic works in unexpected places are also included. Both Caoimhe and Karl have also each made interactive works that speak to children’s oft held desire to creatively arrange objects found in nature.
Practising primary school teacher and trained artist Anne Bradley has created ‘The Make Space’ – a calm room where children can take time to creatively respond to the themes and materials of the works on exhibition; using materials such as sand, small objects, pieces of wood and fabric to explore pattern, visual order, touch and more.
An additional aspect to the exhibition, are commissioned works made collaboratively by school children from Dromore National School in Bantry and artist Siobhán McGibbon, who have been working together in Uillinn and in their classroom to research, experiment and create their own artworks, responding to the exhibition themes. Siobhan and the children have looked at the elements of scale and perspective in both the artists’ work, and thought about both the impact on the viewer – how does it feel? - and how the artists worked with the particular space and scale of Uillinn to make or position their work. In their finished work hey have created a ‘fort’ for hiding and spying, periscopes as a tool for smaller people to see over the gallery balcony, sculptural maquettes and a stop-motion animation that explored illusion…
To see images of Siobhan and the children’s completed work and documentation of process please click here
Elemental is funded by the Arts Council.
Caoimhe Kilfeather – ‘In making the work I wanted to create a series of spaces for children to explore - based on the type of hideouts that generally entice them - spaces under trees or in bushes, cubby holes, small dens and treehouses. The parts of the exhibition that can be fully interacted with/moved around relate to how children like to order, reorder and rearrange as well as to put things in boxes, in bags and other containers as well as on themselves. Small things and details as well as big and enveloping spaces. Ongoing in my work is an interest in enclosures of different types as well as in working with materials and scale in ways which are immersive. It is also important to me that the work is a continuation of my practice generally: that although primarily for children, it can be enjoyed and contemplated by anyone, of any age.’
Cleo Fagan: ‘With Karl Burke’s work the experience for the viewer is skilfully scripted to create a sensory experience of the body in relation to the work, and our body in relation to the space around it; we become acutely aware of ourselves in space; our minds are firmly called to notice, that we, and our bodies, exist in space, moment by moment. So, it’s this connection to the body that drew me to believe that Karl’s work would also be interesting to a child audience.’
As a primary school teacher, parent and person with an active interest and background in contemporary art Anne Bradley has used her combined set of skills and experience to create a space with a pared-back aesthetic designed to enable focus, with activities and ‘creative toys’ inspired by the artists’ work.
Exterior view of The Fort by Siobhan McGibbon and students from Dromore National School, Bantry
Image by Kevin O’Farrell
For more information and images of the work by Siobhan and the children please see here