To Walk in the Image

St Carthage Hall

25 Mar - 07 May, 2023

25 Mar - 07 May, 2023

St Carthage Hall, Lismore Co. Waterford

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To Walk in the Image

Curated by Susan Bright

Phoebe Cummings, Sabine Mirlesse and Alexander Mourant

Lismore Castle Arts: St Carthage Hall

25 March – 7 May 2023

Preview Saturday 25 March 2023, 3-6pm


At the heart of the exhibition is an expanded view of the photographic medium. To Walk in the Image directly responds to the site of the gallery as a former chapel and ideas of spirituality, ritual and the land. Early Christian chapels were often built on ancient pagan sites of worship where respect was sewn into human behaviour around the rhythms by which the land breathes, grows, dies back, and rejuvenates. Each of the artists shown consider the internal possibilities of the land and respond to what is not plainly visible.

Pheobe Cummings works predominantly in unfired clay often making interventions that are made directly on site. Her sculptures react and respond to the gallery or museum space and center on materiality, fragility and ultimately decay. They seem to hold mysteries of the past and often draw on references of English paganism and ritual. The work is fragile and does not last - inevitably it will return to the earth again. For this exhibition she is creating a large hanging piece titled Cumulus that will be suspended in the middle of the chapel bringing the earth inside, the exterior into the interior. The 'unfixed' nature of the clay speaks to its organic nature, reminding us that earth 'breathes' and lives. She deals with clay as a time based medium rather than concentrating on ornamentation or practicality as is more commonly associated with ceramics.

During the pandemic Sabine Mirlesse began a daily ritual of writing intimate letters to volcanos. Postcards to Volcanoes (2020-2022) reaches for answers from entities that represent the beginning of the world but also have the power to end it. Each letter is shown with a vintage postcard of the real volcano. The personification of the land as illustrated by a postcard (or icon) is a projection that holds potential far beyond our tangible understanding of images and the supposed clarity of words. Her words, and the direct contact with the volcano makes the viewer aware of the futility of life, but conversely, the vastness of being. Each letter asks questions, talk candidly or seeks reassurance to something greatly more significant than oneself - just as prayers often do.

Alexander Mourant is showing two bodies of work. Aomori (2017) is taken in Japan. The blue is achieved by shooting through a piece of a church's stained-glass window. In art history the colour blue has long been used as a demarcation of distance. In this work this concept becomes a paradox - the landscapes have spatial remoteness and distance but simultaneously evoke an emotional closeness for both the artist and the viewer. The use of stained glass, an apparatus associated with sites of western worship, emphasizes ancient spiritual practices that believe nature is an embodiment of divinity and sacred power. Also showing is Three Sketches Running for Two Hundred and Ten Seconds or Three Furrows (2020). This is just one part of a larger body of work titled On Living Stones and Reaching. Made in the furrows for Jersey Royal potatoes on his family farm these contact prints record where the sky touches the earth.

Image: Alexander Mourant, Blue Tree, 2017 106cm x 86cm Archival Giclée print Bespoke white frame Edition of 5 + 2AP. Image courtesy the artist.

Top header image: Phoebe Cummings, work in progress during ceramics fellowship at Camden Arts Centre, 2012. Image courtesy the artist.

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Opening Hours

Lismore Castle Arts
Monday to Sunday
10:30am – 5:30pm
March – October

St Carthage Hall
Saturdays and Sundays
12pm – 5pm during exhibitions
Other times by appointment

The Mill
Saturdays and Sundays
12pm – 5pm during exhibitions
Other times by appointment

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