Caoimhe Kilfeather and Karl Burke: Elemental

Saturday 12 January – Saturday 2 March 2019
Caoimhe Kilfeather and Karl Burke: Elemental | Saturday 12 January – Saturday 2 March 2019 | Uillinn: West Cork Arts Centre

An exhibition of contemporary sculpture, especially for children • Curated by Superprojects

Aimed especially at children aged 4-12, Elemental is an exhibition that invites children and people of all ages to encounter contemporary art through touch and movement, as well as sight. Leading artists Caoimhe Kilfeather and Karl Burke are transforming the galleries with their interactive, tactile sculptures and installations that explore scale, texture, space and light.

Elemental contains a major commission from Caoimhe Kilfeather, with artworks that suggest an imagined forest of both indoor and outdoor elements. One element, created from hundreds of metres of green Indian silk, hanging 3 metres high, will offer pockets of space for children to inhabit. A tree house will perch 5 metres high overlooking the exhibition space, and the floor will be covered with cushions and ‘leaves’ fashioned from organdie, with brooms and sweeping brushes to tidy up. In the upstairs gallery, children will be able to walk around and through a steel sculpture by artist Karl Burke (entitled ‘Taking a Line’), which stands 2.5 metres high, and creates a very subtle optical illusion that implies density in empty space. Both Caoimhe and Karl have also each made interactive works that speak to children’s oft held desire to creatively arrange objects found in nature.

Practising primary school teacher and trained artist Anne Bradley is creating ‘The Make Space’ – a calm, tent-like room where children can take time to creatively respond to the themes and materials of the works on exhibition; using materials such as sand, small objects, pieces of wood and fabric to explore pattern, visual order, touch and more.

During the final week of the exhibition, a number of additional artworks will be exhibited throughout the gallery. These commissioned works will be made collaboratively by local primary school children and artist Siobhán McGibbon, who will be working together over eight sessions in Uillinn to research, experiment and create their own artworks, responding to the exhibition themes.

Cleo Fagan of Superprojects says, “For some time now in my work as an engagement curator working on projects with children and contemporary art practice, I have wondered what art would be like if it was made specifically for an audience of children. Childhood is a very different time to adulthood and children so often encounter the world with much more of their senses than adults – they touch things they are curious about, they move their bodies in such a variety of positions and speeds. There is a lot of richness and energy to this way of being in the world and I wanted to curate an exhibition of work that encouraged, rather than discouraged, this type of encounter.” 

Ann Davoren, Director of Uillinn: West Cork Arts Centre, says, “This is a wonderful opportunity for children and people of all ages to explore contemporary artworks through the senses and to respond to the ideas and materials of the exhibition. We are delighted to be working with Superprojects and the three artists and designer involved who will draw us into the work and through the exhibition in different and exciting ways.” 

Superprojects, curated by Cleo Fagan, is an initiative for young audiences that generates possibilities for creative encounters with contemporary art and artists. Superprojects’ work includes school-based workshop and artist-residency programmes, Per Cent for Art commissions, festival events and child-centred exhibition programmes that open up the richness of national and international contemporary art practice to child participants; whilst actively fostering their development as meaning-makers and artists.

Caoimhe Kilfeather studied at the National College of Art Design, Dublin and the Slade School of Fine Art, London. Her work is predominantly sculptural and is influenced by an interest in the built environment and of our relationships to the spatial, formal and psychological qualities of architecture. The work demonstrates sensitivity to the intrinsic qualities of raw matter and Kilfeather’s manipulation of materials, scale and weight results in works where the physical properties of objects and structures are obscured and hard to define. Recent solo exhibitions include season and evening and weather and history at the Douglas Hyde Gallery and This Attentive Place at Temple Bar Gallery + Studios. Her work is included in many national collections such as IMMA, the OPW and the Arts Council. She lectures in Sculpture and Combined Media at the Limerick School of Art and Design.

Karl Burke is an Irish artist and musician based in Dublin. He has exhibited widely in Europe and North America including Sirius Art Centre, The Royal Hibernian Academy, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Hugh Lane Gallery, Project Arts Centre, The Mac, Maria Stenfors Gallery, The Serpentine and The Mattress factory.

Siobhán McGibbon is an Irish visual artist and researcher interested in transdisciplinary practice, particularly the intersections between art and medical science.  As well as exhibiting her own work widely in places such as The LAB, Triskel Arts Centre and for the TULCA festival; she regularly works on engagement projects with children, and recently did a project with Superprojects involving making and exhibiting artwork with a group of school children speculating on potential futures for human body. ‘Human Being and Human Becoming’ was the exhibition that resulted from this project and was at the Galway Arts Centre, as part of Baboro International Children’s Festival, October 2018.

Anne Bradley is a primary school teacher and has worked in Rathfarnham Educate Together National School for twelve years. She studied fine art sculpture at NCAD from 1997-2001 and completed the Postgraduate Diploma in Education at Marino Institute of Education in 2003. Her thesis, The Classroom as Studio, written for her M.A. in Visual Arts Education NCAD in 2012, explores the many relationships between art practice and education. The Reggio Emilia approach to preschool education with its focus on the artist as a key educator influences her work.

Elemental is funded by the Arts Council.

Saturday 12 January – Saturday 2 March 2019
Uillinn: West Cork Arts Centre
Skibbereen, Co Cork
Telephone: +353 28 22090
Opening hours / start times:
Monday to Saturday, 10am to 4:30pm
Admission / price: Free

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