An Exhibition in partnership with Cow House Studios
Runs Jan 28th – Feb 10th 2023
Open Wed – Sat: 1-6pm
The MART Gallery, 190A Rathmines Road Lower. – map link
“Time Sensitive: Leeward” presents a series of reflections and observations rooted in the artists’ lived experiences of the Rural(s). Artists Anne Vetter, Frank Abruzzese, Karl Logge & Marta Romani, Laurence O’Toole, Rosie O’Gorman, Sarah Ellen Lundy and curator Karla Sánchez, have all resided for long periods in both city and countryside, the latter being the place where, in the last several years, they have spent most of their time.
The Rural is not a unified and defined space; it is hybrid, it is complex. There are, also, multiple discourses of rurality. The social construction of the rural does not occur in a vacuum, it is embedded in networks of social, economic, and political relations, now very often directed from, or based in cities. Its representations often become detached from the referent of rural space and are disseminated and transported through global networks. The idea of the rural materializes in rural localities through social, economic, and political relations involving a variety of actors, both human and non-human.
The Rural has for long been a concept enveloped in prejudices and misunderstandings. It is a cultural construction permanently imagined and re-imagined. It is also an idea key to our relationships with and understanding of nature and the environment.
This exhibition comprises a mix of recent work: photographs, drawings, tapestries, installations, and video pieces. Animal life and death are present in the work of Sarah Ellen Lundy and the enigmatic, organic, ink drawings by Rosie O’Gorman. Every-day life, in all its joy and marvelous monotony, is captured in the photographs of Frank Abruzzese and those of Anne Vetter. An intense presence of the forest, and our perceptions of it, appear in the work of Laurence O’Toole, and in the tapestries and work by Karl Logge & Marta Romani we are faced with rituals and almost extinct traditions that once allowed the survival of our species.
It is, perhaps, in the rural, that our society can find some of the most effective and long-lasting solutions that we are all desperately searching for to improve the conditions for everyone’s future. And, while the title “Time Sensitive” suggests there is an urgency to make this happen; what if this process starts only by truly becoming aware of ourselves in the present, paying close attention to how we spend our time and why, becoming sensitive to time.
“Leeward” was a four-week residency at Cow House Studios, Wexford, in April of 2022. Together, artists and curator, explored prevalent attitudes and discourses around the Rural through a considered process that included a discussion of a selected list of readings and films as well as visits to various farms (some traditional, some following regenerative agriculture) a visit to and conversations with researchers from Teagasc, as well as wool traders, different families living in the countryside, and other art professionals. The aim was to have a better understanding of how the countryside works, what it needs, and what it can offer, including possible alternative scenarios for the future of the world. Leeward refers to the side of a mountain sheltered from the wind.
Karla Sánchez Zepeda O’Connell is an art historian, educator, and farmer (regenerative agriculture). Originally from Mexico City, she is founder and director of Blackbird Cultur-Lab, an experimental cultural laboratory based on a farm in County Wexford.
Anne Vetter lives and works in California and Massachusetts. They are a queer, trans non-binary Jew. Their work is focused on play, family systems, performance, and the fluidity of identity. They graduated Magna Cum Laude from Colby College (2017) with theses in Anthropology, Art, and Poetry. Vetter’s work has been featured in the New York Times Sunday Magazine, The British Journal of Photography, the Atlantic, the Washington Post Magazine and the Strange Fire Collective. In 2023, Vetter will open a solo show at the Allen Priebe Gallery, UW Oshkosh. Their work has been included in exhibitions at Huxley Parlour in London, EN, The Colby Museum of Art, Filter Photo, Black Bird Cultur Lab, the Humble Arts Foundation, Placing Political Art, and The Curated Fridge, among others.
Frank Abruzzese is an artist, educator, and Co-Director of Cow House Studios, the long-term project that he and his wife, Rosie O’Gorman, Co-Founded in 2008 at her ancestral homeplace in County Wexford. Along with Rosie, Frank is responsible for strategic planning, creative direction, curriculum development, and hospitality at Cow House, and this work now deeply informs his creative practice. As a photographer, Frank documents his surroundings and the patterns of behavior over time of those closest to him. How might daily practice work to shape an unexpected life? Considering his role as an educator, father, and host, Frank attempts to reflect a broader ethos of generosity, empathy, and commitment to creative production, giving form to a continually unfolding character of living. Originally from Philadelphia, Frank studied Moving Image Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and earned his MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2004. Frank continues to exhibit his work in both Ireland and abroad.
Karl Logge & Marta Romani from Sydney, Australia, and Brescia, North Italy, respectively, are husband and wife artist-team living and working in Sardinia, Italy. Their joint practice is influenced by the deep time of places, cycles, seasons, and the ancient art of weaving. Their work is closely connected to nature, territory, and cultural memory. Their community-driven projects engage weaving to explore the quality and care that connect us with the natural world and become entangled in its creative energy.
Laurence O’Toole has a graphic design and metalworking background and lives near Carnsore Point, Co. Wexford. O’Toole’s practice responds to the natural environment with consideration for science/pseudo-science boundary, modern mythology, and anxiety. His multidisciplinary practice can range from staged scenes to highly crafted pieces. He aims to initiate a connection with the natural and the cosmological, inviting the viewer to contemplate the unnatural forces that impact them.
Rosie O’Gorman lives in her native county Wexford. She graduated with a BA in Art and Design Education from NCAD, and received the Larkin Memorial Award for teaching, and the Taylor Award for painting. With the support of a Fulbright Scholarship, she attended the San Francisco Art Institute, receiving her MFA in 2004. On returning to Ireland, she established Cow House Studios with her husband Frank Abruzzese at her ancestral home on the foothills of the Blackstairs Mountain. Guided by her son’s curiosity for and instincts within the natural world, and a worrisome estrangement from the environment, her latest work explores the complexities and closeness of birth and death, of beauty and the grotesque, wildness and domesticity, fear and comfort, knowledge and instinct, of mythologies and bodily experience.
Sarah Ellen Lundy is a visual artist from South County Sligo; her studio practice is preoccupied with spaces and systems, predominantly the design of geometry and the cyclical systems of the natural world. Through the use of moving image, assemblage, and ephemeral performance materials, the works endeavour to negotiate provocative arrangements and question autonomy in the face of innate and applied homogenization.
This exhibition has kindly been supported by The Arts Council of Ireland.