Catriona Leahy – Artist Talk

Catriona Leahy / Aesthetics of Disappearance

Drawing attention to a sense of loss and disappearance

“I examine time, duration & memory both in a personal and wider social context, giving these inherently ambiguous, intangible and subjective phenomena a material and spatial context. I am intrigued by the apparently enduring presence and stability of structures and form – social, physical, geographical and cultural – and the transitory and malleable nature of memory, a moment in time, where time as well as these constructs are perpetually moving and in flux. Redundant or vacant spaces often pose as protagonists in my work; their structure and form have a virtue of clarity, coherency and vividness but by their curious appearance and ambiguous setting, they remain notoriously evasive and ambivalent with the ever-present possibility of dissolution. As conduit spaces for my exploration into time and duration, they call to mind the brevity of our occupancy of space, and the dependency on our presence to ensure their abiding memory.”

Found photos of purpose built game areas, 3 sided structures to play hand ball in. she was interested in these photographs because they seem out of place, out of time, no longer used how they were made to be, rather they may now be used as places for storage or dumping grounds. These structures are gradually falling into disrepair. Mirrors the gradual decline in local populations and micro communities in small towns. These structures are left behind as emblems of a community that no longer had that community to activate it. Bult by funds, community spaces, people would come to play and as spectators.

Her work developed from this is shown as a projection, the video of the game area is show along with sound which she recreated. the camera is positioned where the spectator would be.

Spit bite etching miniatures, documenting different ball alleys.

These photo etchings are the same ball alleys, but these show the podium where the spectators would watch the game, where the camera was placed in the video work. These were built at a later date than the ball court, perhaps to encourage spectators and renew interest in the sport.

Photo etching of a factory on rusted steel (abobe).  Closed in the 1980, causing the loss of hundreds of jobs. It remained empty until very recently when it was dismantled due to the amount of asbestos used in it so people were reluctant to get involved in dismantling it

This print (below) of the same factory was printed using a laser printer, and then transferred using chemicals onto   Japanese paper, each small piece that make it up is about a5 in size. These pieces mirror the fragmented appearance of the structure itself. They are assembled onto the wall only by the tops of the paper, which causes the fragile paper to move with the audience, which results in a floaty, dynamic appearance.

These works of hers in particular are of interest to me due to their similar subject to some of the work I have been doing. These abandoned empty spaces which have lost their purpose. Although for Leahy she is more interested In the shift of society and cultures, where mine are more fantasy like,  looking at the  stillness of empty spaces as if society as a whole has vanished.

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