Supported Summer Residency

Supported Summer Residency: Program Description

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the cancellation of almost all of our programming for the year 2020. As a result, the sense of purpose and collective effort these programs provide at our busiest time of year have been lost. As for many, this has been a challenging time and an opportunity to pause and reassess all that we do at Cow House. Now that restrictions are being gradually lifted, and we collectively return to our daily lives, we are adapting to a new set of circumstances.

After much consideration, we will reopen with a four-week residency program for artists based in Ireland. This residency will be possible through a collective effort that involves the generosity of our extended community of family, friends, artists, and alumni. We have taken a considerable amount of time to select and confirm participation with a group of artists we admire. Seventeen week-long residencies have been awarded to each participating artist in exchange for one original artwork on paper. We are now seeking seventeen separate donations of €400 each, covering our residency fee. In exchange, benefactors will receive one of the seventeen donated artworks based on a lottery system.

Everyone involved benefits from this effort. For us, at Cow House, it is a safe way to reopen after a prolonged closure, for the participating artists, to spend one week at Cow House, and for the generous benefactors, an opportunity to receive a new work of art. This residency is scheduled to begin on Monday, July 20th, and run for four consecutive weeks until August 16th.

Support the Program

If you would like to participate with a contribution of €400, please contact us directly. We will be taking these donations as part of this exchange on a first-come, first-served basis.

Participating Artists

Miriam O’Connor, Paul Gaffney, Mary Ruth Walsh, Michelle, Brown, Hina Khan, Laura Fitzgerald, Rhona Byrne, Colin Martin, Ramon Kassam, Yvette Monaghan, Sanja Todorovic, Ciara Roche, Aileen Murphy, Emma Roche, Salvatore of Lucan, Bassam Al-Sabah and Robert Ellis.

About the Image

The image above was taken on September 12th, 2005, and depicts the Cow House before its extensive renovation. Co-Director Frank Abruzzese had just recently moved to Ireland and made this photograph during a casual stroll around the farm. In the picture, Co-Director Rosie O’Gorman and her father Michael discuss her ambitious plans for the studio. It seems fitting to use this photograph in this context. We could not have imagined all that would transpire in the wake of our humble efforts back then. The excitement, hope, anxious anticipation and uncertainty seem to mirror some of our feelings at this moment. We are appreciative of the artists who have agreed to take part in this residency, our first program following the unprecedented COVID-19 global pandemic. Additionally, we are comforted by the words of concern and encouragement we have received re-affirming our mission to advance visual arts practice here in Ireland and abroad.

Week 1

Hina Khan

I am currently working on the female story and the fragmented anima. Anima is the part of the human psyche that Jung proved through his research of philosophy, psycho analytics, eastern mysticism especially Hinduism greek mythology and other Asian myths and legends as well as from science. Anima resides in all humans, both men, and women. it is the life force, the nurturing mysterious beautiful, feminine, sensitive emotional yin as in Chinese philosophy, and this is something that has existed for epochs upon epochs.

This piece represents the emotional connection between two people, two souls but you can find the red thread is stitching the body showing the relationship between textile and women and the journeys. the whole series I am developing and working on comes under one title, The Fragmented Anima.


Mary Ruth Walsh

Taking my inspiration from the language of architecture, I construct imagined proposals and spaces exploring ideas relating to the built environment and contemporary culture.

I create new dialogues drawing from utopian ideals of 20th and 21st-century planning and design often using found objects to make my work, I translate these into a type of architectural shorthand – like a new vocabulary.

Using this vocabulary I explore ideas of how architecture affects the way we move and behave and why and for who the space is created.

Michelle Brown

In The Book of Delights, Ross Gay describes the act of two people sharing the weight of a bag. He writes ‘It’s the lack of necessity of this act that’s perhaps precisely why it delights me. Everything that needs doing – getting the groceries or laundry home – would get done fine without this meager collaboration. But the only thing that needs doing, without it, would not.’ What needs doing here is the giving of support. How do we give or receive support? When can we let go a little and feel held? Celine Condorelli in her book Support Structure talks of giving or receiving support as a ‘politics of friendship … an [act of] allegiance and establishes who and what one can count on.’ As a person who is often in the caring or supportive role, I wanted to feel what it would be like to be completely supported – to let go and be held, even for just a little while. Thanks to Mary Ruth Walsh, Paul Gaffney, Hina Khan, Rosie O’Gorman, Frank Abruzzese, and Catriona Foley for their support in making this possible.

Paul Gaffney

During 2012 I walked over 3500km with the aim of creating a body of work that would explore the idea of long-distance walking as a form of meditation and personal transformation.

My intention was to create a series of quiet images, which would evoke the experience of being immersed in nature and capture the essence of the journey. The resulting series, We Make the Path by Walking, communicates a sense of the subtle internal and psychological changes which one may undergo while negotiating the landscape.

I was always fond of this image, and it narrowly missed out on being in the final edit of my book. I am happy to share this print as part of the residency.

Week 2

Colin Martin

'Dog (Motion Capture)’ depicts a dog in motion capture suit that is commonly used in the film industry to map an animal or actor’s movements digitally to an avatar. It was part of a series of paintings that explore our prosthetic relationship with technology and explore spaces that blur boundaries between the real and virtual and where technology, culture, and politics have become synthesized.

Colin Martin is an artist and lecturer based in Dublin. He is currently Head of the RHA School and lectures part-time in the NCAD Media Department. He is a graduate of DIT and NCAD and works in the medium of painting and film. Recent solo exhibitions include Keyframe, Platform Arts, Belfast, 2014, Collection, City Assembly Building, Dublin, 2012, The Garden, curated by Kate Strain, Broadcast Gallery, DIT, Dublin, 2011, Cyclorama, Basic Space, Dublin. Recent group exhibitions include Surveille.e.s CCI Paris, curated by Nora Hickey, House Taken Over, Private House, Belfast 2018, This is Not Architecture, Highlanes Gallery, Drogheda 2017, Far From Me, Josef Fillip Gallery, Leipzig, N.O.W.H.E.R.E., Interview Room 11, Edinburgh 2016. He has received the Arts Council Visual Arts Bursary in 2015, 2012 and 2007.


Laura Fitzgerald

Laura Fitzgerald is an artist working in video, drawing, sculpture, and writing. She is currently on a 3-year residency at the Fire Station Artists’ Studios in Dublin. Recent shows include ‘HEADCASE’ at the RHA Ashford Gallery and NO PITY! at Galerie Michaela Stock Vienna.

Laura will be exhibiting in EVA International, as one of the platform commissions selected by Matt Packer, Anne Talentire & Merve Elveren. She will also be exhibiting in the Coup de Ville Triennale in Sint Niklaas, Belgium, and Less Stress More Success curated by Rachel Botha at Kilkenny arts office both in September 2020 and the Zurich Portrait Prize in November 2020.

Laura was awarded the Wexford Emergent Award in 2019 and will present a new body of work at Wexford Art Centre in 2022. She is also working towards a solo show at the Crawford Gallery in June 2021, so she is very happy.

Laura has kindly donated the drawing Making a balls of it in bad weather, 2018. The drawing is pen on Fabriano and measures 29.7 x 42cm.

Ramon Kassam

Paintings form the basis of my practice. My approach is to invent a semi-fictional world to site an artist in. Painting in the third person, my works relate to one another through an invented narrative, depicting an artist’s supposed activities, environment, and viewpoints.

The painters’ studio and activity within is a recurring theme in my work. During my time at Cow House Studios, this theme was probed playfully through digital painting processes. A new suite of images were created, simulating and inferring processes and paintings produced during the residency. The alternative reality depicted includes images highlighting the painterly residue left in the wake of my manufactured activity during the residency, as well as images of some new paintings created in that parallel world.

Rhona Byrne

Worn Mountain is a site-responsive wearable work made from and by materials, animals, and by people inhabiting the landscape of Hjalteyri, Iceland surrounding the gallery. A participatory gathering invited the local Sheep farmers Club (Saudfjárraektarfélag Skriduhrepps) to dance on the wool to make felt for the work Worn Mountain. It was for the exhibition ‘Phishing the Landscape’ curated by Berlin-based artists Clementine Roy & Catriona Shaw and with nine international artists at Verksmi∂jan, Hjalteyri in Iceland.

Week 3

Aileen Murphy

I never plan what to draw. I figure it out as I go, through intuition; a gathered experience of drawing and everything that surrounds the days. I work quickly; a quick line, wash, colour. The build-up of energy and concentration gathered as I move through my drawing process is something that keeps me there. This drawing that I donate to Cow House is titled “Run into”, made with ink on paper. These two figures stand together, maybe sweating, maybe crying, maybe shedding. Whatever is happening, to me it seems it is because of their coming together.

Ciara Roche

Starbucks Study 1 is a painting that was made during the Cow House Residency. It is from an ongoing body of work around places of recreation and leisure, places where a particular lifestyle is aspired to, and places that are transitory that we inhabit for a short time and leave little imprint. It is perhaps a questioning of this consumerist culture that, in these times, has become even more relevant.


Sanja Todorovic

Sanja Todorovic is an artist based in Dublin. Primarily a painter, she is currently preoccupied with making embroideries. The donated piece, finished earlier this year, is tenth in the series called Heralds. Combining specific textural qualities of embroidered cloth with the graphic flatness of repetitive pattern, these works try to reflect on the wider ideas of materiality, time, and artistic value. Number ten started with an object–a seashell–and ended up a weird and bubbling puzzle.

Yvette Monahan

The Time of Dreaming the World Awake is a portrait of a place, a landscape of possibility.

I was drawn to this small region in Southern France by the story of Bugarach, the ‘magic’ mountain. Bugarach was somehow connected to a Mayan prophecy which indicated that the world as we know it, would end on December 21st, 2012. The prophecy claimed that this date would mark the beginning of a new era for humanity, a new and sublime future. Bugarach was to be the first bastion of this modern Arcadia.

Nothing happened that December. Despite this, I realised how important it was for me to believe in the possibility of an idyll, even if it only existed in my mind.

Week 4

Bassam Al-Sabah

Forget me notes, 2020. Taking large mechanical robots out of their natural context, a place of constant fighting and war, and the constant pull between the innocence of the juvenile depictions of cartoon characters and the inherent violence that belongs to them. The drawing offers an alternative setting for the robots, a setting that is melancholic and tender as opposed to their fast-paced storylines of doomed humanity with a vast collection of deadly weaponry, space ships, and landscapes of destruction.

Emma Roche

Candidate 3, oil on cotton over board, 2020 is part of a series of recent oil paintings which stem from ideas about ‘day jobs’. Each work isolates images of past positions, self-portraits, bosses, interiors, exteriors, in house rules, colleagues as well as imagined occupations and invented roles. These inquiries into labor and the gig economy are motivated by the artists’ personal experience. Quasi-human form, repetitive pattern, haptic qualities, familiar processes, child-like note-taking, and innate handling of materials are central to the work and all that informs it.

Miriam O’Connor

The image that I am donating as part of the Cow House Studios’ Supported Summer Residency Programme derives from a long-term project engaging my relocation to the family farm following the death of my brother in 2013. Up until this point my brother had thoughtfully managed the farm for almost three decades, and the task of keeping things going was then conferred to my sister and I. Developed throughout this intervening period, the work reflects on the day-to-day demands of farming life while questioning photography’s ability to communicate the magnitude of this life-changing event.

Robert Ellis

This portrait is one of four of Herbert in the series ‘Proverbs’. In this series, we are presented with a long term multimedia project involving recorded audio, alongside still and moving images. As a body of work, it emerged in response to the writing of Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, a Nobel prize-nominated author, who describes the African landscape as being ‘blanketed in a European memory of place’. The series contemplates the connection between landscape and memory, meditating on these age-old proverbs in the context of the contemporary landscape. In this portrait he is eighteen years old, the others were taken at ages fifteen, seventeen and nineteen. These form an integral element of time and change within the series.

Wandering through this unfamiliar landscape, the images linger on the people and its landforms. Fluid in approach, there are no fixed stories to tell, or no conclusive outcomes to communicate, rather an overarching narrative considers how a place is experienced, in terms of its aesthetic values, and for the layers of memory and history that it holds.

Salvatore of Lucan

The work I donated is a picture of me about to go for a swim. I’m dipping my toes into the pond and putting my earrings onto my phone. The first day I did a little sketch of my view down my stomach to my feet and I painted from that sketch. In the end, I turned the painting upside down cause that’s the way people see me. People do not see me from the view from my head. I suppose whoever gets the painting can hang it whatever way they like though. Also, I have an extra toe in the picture. That is why the painting is called The extra finger.