Rising from the Hill: Local Systems in Global Contexts

Autumn Residency programme at Cow House Studios
30 October – 10 December 2017

Participating Artists: Angela Jerardi, Charlotte LagroMartina O’Brien, and Rowan Lear

Residency Curators: Kelley O’Brien & Dr Francis Halsall

With the generous support of Wexford County Council & The National College of Art & Design, Cow House Studios presents Rising from the Hill: Local Systems in Global Contexts, a 6-week residency that will explore and develop methods of giving aesthetic forms to real-life, situations. In particular, participants will respond to the local environment of Cow House Studios, in the rural Irish countryside of Wexford. Participants will be encouraged to use ideas, strategies, and metaphors of “systems” to consider the complex relationships between this local context and larger global systems such as economics, telecommunications, meteorology and so on.

This residency was conceived in the spirit of meaningful exchange between practice and theory and as an outcome of ongoing collaborative projects between Francis Halsall and Kelley O’Brien investigating social relations through the lens of systems. This means to uncouple systems from individual humans and think of them, instead, as complex interactions of people, architecture, things, communications, and environments. In other words, individuals are not separate from their environments, but rather, an integral part of them.

Through structured conversations, readings, and site explorations residents will articulate different methods for aesthetically “mapping” the historical and contemporary context of Irish relations with global and social systems of power. Residency participants will be invited to develop a proposed project to be presented as both a visual record of research and development through a collaborative exhibition at the gallery at National College of Art & Design, Dublin and a published catalogue documenting the processes of the participants, visiting artists, academics and organisers.

The 6-week studio residency will be accompanied by a series of discussions and dinners led by Francis and Kelley as well as many visiting artists, curators, and academics. The participating artists will engage in a variety of aesthetic practices and have been selected to participate via open call process. The successful applicants, Angela Jerardi, Charlotte Lagro, Martina O’Brien, and Rowan Lear will come to Rathnure and reside at Cow House Studios from October 30th, through December 10th, 2017.

During the course of the residency, these artists will have time to work independently on their proposed projects, experiment with new processes for exploring, understanding and mapping systems, work collaboratively to produce an exhibition at NCAD, Dublin opening December 8, 2017 and subsequently a published outcome to serve as a platform for critical discussion on the interconnectedness of social systems and environments.

Dr Francis Halsall is an art writer and academic who lectures in the history/ theory of modern and contemporary art at National College of Art & Design, Dublin where he is Director (with Declan Long) of Masters Programs: Art in the Contemporary World.

Kelley O’Brien is an artist based in the USA, her practice takes the form of site-specific works, to provide alternative contexts by which to understand lived environments. In her artist statement, she describes her work: I produce interruptions that act to reveal the affective dimensions of architectural and social systems. My practice takes the form of site-specific works, to provide alternative contexts by which to understand lived environments. Through the creation of aesthetic interventions such as radio broadcasts, historical land markers, personal interviews, and literal maps I aim to locate myself, individuals, and communities within the intangible context of their social relations. These works are the physical manifestation of the way individuals use and define a kinetic architecture and are not merely metaphors or expressions of the present environment. My research draws on history, geography, and current politics. This allows for a basic understanding of individual communities as being simultaneously past and present, individual and communal, formal and informal.

Angela Jerardi is an independent writer and curator living in Amsterdam. Within the contemporary context of the slow violence of ecological crisis, her work aims to materialize and rehearse possible models and narratives for cohabitation, in collaboration with artists and thinkers of all stripes. Recurring concerns and desires include: experimenting with means for complex publics to gather, privileging of divergent ways of knowing and collective models of working, and the exploration of play and humour as exhibition-making methodologies. Through these activities, she hopes to enact care and hospitality, encourage nuance, and ask how we can fail more honestly. Her current research, Characters in a forest telling stories musically, examines the intersection of socioeconomic botany, divergent logics of territory, and nascent human understandings of plant intelligence. Through the research of disparate forms of knowledge: vernacular, ethnographic, folkloric, curatorial and scientific, it aims to enact notions of polyphony as an approach for studying the wild blueberry bush and the boreal forests of Sweden and Finland as history-makers. She completed the de Appel Curatorial Programme in 2013, and has an academic background in cultural anthropology. Recent curatorial projects include: As far as anyone could recall, Fridericianum (2016), Neither here nor there, neither fish nor fowl at Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Siegen and Schloss Ringenberg, Hamminkeln (2015), and Game Theory, in the 2nd CAFA Museum Biennale, Beijing (2014). Alongside her curatorial work, she lectures at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie and writes for contemporary art publications and catalogues, contributing to, among others, Metropolis M and C Magazine.

Angela Jerardi, “Can you hear the birds? Probably not — they’re stuffed with sawdust. You need to listen for them when you are dreaming.” Photo courtesy of Biologiska Museet, Stockholm, photo: Arne Biörnstad


Charlotte Lagro lives and works in Maastricht, the Netherlands. She makes set-ups or installations that include photographic works, drawings, objects, sound elements and video’s/moving image. Her work explores our connectedness to the past and the way we interpret and give meaning to the world around us. People are central to her work. Focusing on stories that fascinate her, she follows individuals and often invites them to perform. Charlotte graduated in 2011 from the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Maastricht. In 2015 she won the Hermine van Bers Fine Art Award. She attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine (USA) in 2015 and was an artist-in-residence at RAVI Liège (B) and Maastricht University, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience. Charlotte has participated in numerous group exhibitions and has had solo exhibitions at the Biennial of Photography, BIP Liège (B), LOOP Fair Barcelona (SP) and CIAP, Hasselt (B). Charlotte is represented by Galerie Nadja Vilenne.

Charlotte Lagro, And it was quiet (…), 2015 Plywood with oak veneer and mahogany stain, 4 x 1,5 m Installation view at Galerie Nadja Vilenne

Martina O’Brien holds an MA in Visual Art Practice from the Institute of Art,
Design and Technology, Dun Laoghaire, and works with various media including drawing, painting, moving image and installation in investigating anthropogenic themes in relation to climate and physical and social geographies. Upcoming solo exhibitions include The Butler Gallery, Kilkenny, 2018; and Garter Lane Arts Centre, Waterford, 2018. She was The Irish Centre for High-End Computing’s Artist in Residence, 2016, and awards and artist grants include an Arts Council Project Award 2017; Arts Council Travel & Training Award 2017; Kildare County Council Arts Act Awards 2016 & 2017; Arts Council Artist in the Community Project Realization Award 2014, and an Arts Council Artist in the Community Research and Development Award 2014. Selected recent exhibitions include The Headless City, TULCA, Galway Arts Centre, 2016; ART WORKS, VISUAL Carlow, 2016; Casting Territory: A River Keepers’ Index of Lesser Known Patterns, RUA RED, Royal Dublin Society Library and Archive and The Waterways Centre, Dublin, 2015; Continuum, Draiocht, Dublin, 2015; and the Cube Space, The LAB, Dublin, 2013.

Martina O’Brien, Peripheral Outlook, 2017 production still, duration 8 minutes, two-channel HD video and audio

Rowan Lear is an artist, writer and organiser, currently based in London. Her materials are old and new media, found images and objects, and language itself, creating texts, scores, installations and interventions. Committed to collaborative working and experimental study, her practice is a tangle of thinking, making and writing about systems, ecologies, technology and embodiment. In recent projects, she has explored ways of killing time, the social function of artistic labour, and how office furniture choreographs the body. From 2014-2017, Rowan was a co-director of the artist-led Bristol Biennial, developing artist commissions and testing alternative modes of organising. She organises events and experiments as part of the collective Institute of Killing Time, and co-runs a feminist study group, Wrk Wrk Wrk.

Rowan Lear, She gestured meaningfully with the pistol, (2016-continuing), performance, video, images, drawings and décollage, exploring technological gesture, gendered labour, and the relationship between the body and the apparatus. Above: Hands ‘remembering’ the gestures of photographing with different cameras.

Read more about our exciting new opportunities; Artist ResidenciesFieldWorks – Gap Year Art Program & Art On The Farm – Summer Art Program For High School Students

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