Ailbhe Barrett: Contemporaneity and the Elusive
Ailbhe Barrett has the rare ability to capture the ephemeral upon her canvasses and plates. Hailing from Co. Limerick, her practice is as anchored to place as it is to time. Her landscapes, generally unpeopled, are studies of light and form, stillness and movement. They seem to depict an inbetween-ness, a time between day and night or night and day, a journey not a destination. Since time immemorial humans have attempted to capture, whether in image or prose, the Sublime. Barrett returns time and again to the landscape, but in ever-evolving incarnations. Part pilgrimage, part personal exploration, these revisitations document a relationship in flux: person and place.
For her second solo show Contemporaneity and the Elusive, the scale and ambition of her printed works have grown expansively, pushing the medium to its limits. The results are a true testament to the artist’s commitment to her subject matter. The works range from the finely worked to the boldly gestural, shots of pure pigment sitting atop matte forestation, drypoint incisions deeply gouged into spitbite washes. Her fluidity between media is at once instinctive and measured as Barrett faithfully returns to the task at hand, the near impossible task of grasping the elusive, attempting to make permanent what is already passing. These works invite the viewer to immerse themselves in a moment, a moment that is at once familiar and yet very much the artist’s own.
Ailbhe Barrett is an award winning artist, mastering both printmaking and painting. As a landscape painter working mainly in oils, she developed a liking for the scope of the large canvas from a young age. At a later stage Barrett studied printmaking in Limerick Printmakers and Graphic Studio Dublin and continues creating work in both paint and print, constantly exploring the relationship between both.