Three artists, Nuala O'Sullivan, Grace Roberts, and Suzanee Mortell explore how meaning, and a sense of identity is fashioned through social interaction.
Three artists explore how meaning, and a sense of identity is fashioned through social interactions and how the narratives we construct help make sense of our world. The artists examine how we give things meaning in order to expose the idea of a socially constructed reality, and the strictures placed on us as we live our lives; pressures of conformity, regulation and monitoring. Art allows us to explore and express the space between illusion and reality and feeds from our dreams, memories and our life experiences of myth, symbolism, and traditions. In this process the artist is the interrogator and the audience is the witness.
The three artists proposing this exhibition share these interests.
Nuala: "My work uses both photography and painting to explore how concealed repression can seep through from the past. Alongside this the aesthetic and culture of the 1950s have strong visual resonances for me".
Grace: "I am fascinated by the discourse of power relationships, in particular through visual representation, and how to think about the other, and use symbols to produce abstract images to challenge dominant ideologies".
Suzanne: "In my work I allude to stories with insinuations, inspired by memories, my childhood and my local countryside. In my paintings I try to re-create generic images with qualities that trigger associations for the viewers".
Suzanne Mortell is a Limerick based artist. She graduated with a BA in Fine Art (Painting) from Limerick School of Art and Design in 2006 before completing a Higher Diploma in Art Education in 2010 and now teaches Art in JTBCS, Hospital, Co. Limerick. She is a former member of Contact studios, Limerick and has completed residencies in Carcassonne, France and Blackstaff Mills, Belfast
In her work she tries to command a magical realism that plugs into childhood nostalgia. Combining found images with childhood memories and the local landscape, she tries to create an almost tangible timeless fourth dimension. Her need is not to paint landscapes and scenarios as they are but to paint them as they exist in her mind’s eye. In this body of work she develops scenes that examine the narrative of boyhood comradery and generic body language.
Grace Roberts graduated from the Limerick School of Art and Design in 2006 with a BA in Graphic Design. She went on to complete an MA at MIC/University of Limerick in Media and Communication in 2008. Her MA thesis was an analysis of newspaper visuals and was presented at the International Communication Association Conference in Chicago in May 2009. This study has had an enormous influence on her photography and painting. Grace has exhibited work throughout Ireland and her most recent exhibition was a solo show ‘Look Beyond” - an exhibition of oil paintings at Quay Arts in Killaloe in May 2017.
The pieces in this exhibition are the result of a combination of the artist’s interest in the power of visual representation and religious belief systems, as well as a fascination with signs and symbols, myths and illusion which are important elements in the work to create layers of meaning. Grace works mainly in oils, but has recently incorporated beeswax into her work with interesting results.
Nuala O’Sullivan is a Limerick based artist. She graduated with a BA in Fine Art (Painting) from Limerick School of Art and Design in 2006 before completing a Fine Art Masters Degree in 2013. O’Sullivan’s work uses both photography and painting to explore how concealed repression can seep through from the past. Alongside this the aesthetic and culture of the 1950s have strong visual resonances for her.
She has exhibited extensively including solo exhibitions at the Church Gallery, LSAD; Draíocht, Dublin; Signal Arts Centre, Bray; and Enniskillen Arts Festival. Group exhibitions include ‘Known Unknowns’ and ‘Visions of Now’, LCGA, Limerick; RHA 2015, Dublin; ‘Personal Selection’ selected by John Shinnors at LSAD Limerick, ‘Essays from the House of Memory’, Ormston House Limerick and ‘State of the Union’ Occupy Space, Limerick. Selected work was included in Eigse, Carlow, and the Royal Ulster Academy Show, Belfast.
She exhibited in Quimper France in 2012 as part of an Art twinning project and in 2014 exhibited as part of the idir group in New York Foundation for the Arts in New York. Collections include Laois County Council, Northern Trust, UL, Office of Public Works, Limerick County Council, LIT, and private collections. Nuala has a studio at Limerick City and County Council facility in Cappamore and is a long-standing member of Contact Studio group in Limerick.
Artist Statement: Memory is the starting point of much of my work. Memories evoked through old home movies, photographs, and stories told by people about their lives in 1950s Ireland. These memories recall the poverty of the period alongside the sense of repression and claustrophobia that permeated everyday life.
The challenge of my practice is to make artwork that contributes to greater cultural understanding of how we live in the presence of the past and the relevance of 1950s nostalgia and repression to today’s society. This history plays a part in the stories we construct about ourselves and our society today. Alongside this the aesthetic and culture of the 50s has strong visual resonances for me. My artwork offers my personal perspective on that time.