FieldWorks Gap Year: Autumn, 2019 Update 2

We are now two-thirds of the way through our autumn gap year program FieldWorks. This past week our students have enjoyed some well earned time off. Everyone managed to travel for at least part of the week. Some went home for their break but most travelled within Europe with Helsinki, Barcelona and Berlin among their planned travel destinations. We did manage to get some Halloween celebrations in before everyone’s departure. Pumpkin carving and an impromptu dance party were certainly in order and, of course, costumes!

In the time immediately following our last update we welcomed artist Paul Gaffney for the week. Paul’s art practice is lens-based with a particular focus on photography and meticulously sequenced and constructed photobooks. Paul designed workshops during the week encouraging our students to think about the creation of new artworks and ideas through process. Rather than thinking of artmaking as a linear progression, Paul wanted to encourage a more cyclical methodology where ideas emerge from making, editing then re-visiting ideas again and again. This process of expansion and distillation is critical in making work stronger. On the last day, everyone sequenced their work, learning how the juxtaposition of images can help to construct meaning.

Following our week with Paul and some independent work in the studio we travelled west to County Kerry. On our first day, we left early and took advantage of some nice weather, renting bikes and cycling through the stunning Killarney National Park. By the time we all returned to town, we were exhausted and enjoyed a well-earned meal in The Laurels Pub. The next day, after some shopping and exploring in Killarney we set off for Dingle and although the weather was a bit rough, the changeable weather made for some stunning views and epic, turbulent seas. Inch Beach, the entire Sleigh Head Drive and Gallarus Oratory, “a fairly impressive pile of rocks”;-) were all highlights on this day. For our final day, after a stop in Dingle Aquarium, we set off for home, making time for a stop in Lismore for some food and to see the exhibition Origins featuring works by recent Irish graduates at Lismore Castle Arts.

In our final week before break, artist Damien Flood worked with students individually. Rather than develop a series of workshops, Damian chose to conduct a series of studio visits with students, gaining insights into their practice and challenging them to make work at a rapid pace. Damian has a wealth of knowledge when comes to painting and contemporary practice, providing technical assistance and suggested artists throughout the week.┬áIt was a real pleasure watching everyone work diligently in the studio. This week, more than any other, we witnessed some remarkable progress in everyone’s work. It was clear during the critique that everyone has a clear path forward for the final four weeks of the program. We look forward to seeing what comes next. You can see an updated library of images here.

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