FieldWorks Gap Year: Autumn, 2019 Update

We are currently one month into the autumn session of our gap year program FieldWorks. Working with Co-Directors Rosie and Frank everyone created a series of paintings and learned how to use the darkroom to make black and white photographic prints. Additionally, visiting artist Ann Maria Healy has also introduced everyone to our new media equipment; making a series of short videos. Looking at the work produced, it is clear our students have accomplished a great deal in their time with us so far. We look forward to seeing how the development of these new skills manifest in their upcoming projects.

Amidst all the hard work in the studio (and rainy showers!) they also found time to hike up the Blackstairs mountain a few times. We’ve also taken several trips locally and further afield to the west of Ireland. In their first week we visited Kilkenny city; touring the famous medieval castle and viewing a fantastic exhibition by American artist Amy Cutler at the Butler Gallery.

While on a day trip to Dublin we visited one of our favourite places; the National Museum which offers a glimpse into early life and culture in Ireland. Dorothy’s Cross’ exhibition at the Kerlin Gallery sparked much interest; her stone sculptures are truly captivating. After a delicious dinner at the Ramen Bar, we went to the opening of the exhibition Desire at the Irish Museum of Modern Art. As part of the exhibition, we were especially excited to see work by our visiting artist Ann Maria Healy and to be treated to a live performance by musician Lisa Hannigan. After the opening everyone tried a glass of Guinness at the Royal Oak, a super quaint pub frequented by artists. Dublin proved to be a big hit and they all look forward to returning again over the coming weeks for more gallery hopping and thrift shopping.

A three day trip to Galway started off wet and rainy as we drove across the country to this picturesque city. At the Galway Arts Centre, we viewed an exhibition by local art group AKIN. There was time to explore the shops and narrow streets before a yummy burger at Botown. After dinner, there was time to soak up the atmosphere in a few pubs. The next morning we took the ferry to Inis Mor; the largest of the Aran Islands. Bundled up and prepared for heavy showers we cycled across the island to Dún Aonghasa. This ancient Bronze Age fort perched on top of a cliff always impresses and remains a personal favourite. On the boat trip back to the mainland, we were treated to a constant array of rainbows, a beautiful benefit of the changeable weather this time of year. On the drive home to Cow House we stopped at the Burren College of Art for a tour of the campus which is situated in the Burren; a unique limestone karst landscape.

These trips provide a real sense of place; not only introducing our students to the rich history and culture of Ireland but also providing inspiration and context for developing their projects back at Cow House. While working over the last month, everyone has made significant leaps forward in their practice, while getting to know each other forming close bonds. We’ve also seen lots of changes in hairstyles with several new hair colours and shorter cuts! As we prepare for our next trip to the west, we’re incredibly excited to see where the next few months take us. You can have a look at some photographs from our first four weeks here…

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