Ciara Roche: Here and Away
This new body of work by Ciara Roche began as an investigation of places of recreation and leisure around coastlines in Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. Mostly works on paper, a little larger than postcard in size, these paintings capture public spaces for holiday-makers, surf shacks, beaches, cafes, but devoid of people themselves.
These studies elevate the structure instead, benches, picnic tables, HB bins and empty vehicles and imbue each scene with an eerie peacefulness.
The absence of people makes the works more difficult to locate or date. There are no clues given by figures or fashions. A surreal quality pervades in the silence of these ordinarily social spaces. In capturing these private moments in public spaces, Roche hopes to allow the viewer to project themselves into the scenes. We all have memories, recent and long past, of trips to the beach, holiday postcards received and sent, and somewhere in the recesses of our memories, the glamorous sun drenched lives apparent in Home and Away, the Australian soap opera which has had a strong following on Irish TV screens for more than 30 years. This exhibition brings together Roche’s studies, made in direct response to these coastal locations, including Palm Beach, where the fictional seaside town of Summer Bay is set. These works on paper, made quickly with a fluidity and energy, at times appear to make light their subject as she moves between the northern and southern hemispheres.
Ciara Roche is a painter based in rural county Wexford. Her paintings explore place, light, time and structures where there is basic human interaction around different parts of the world. Having completed an MA in Art Research and Collaboration with the Institute of Art Design and Technology in May of this year, the final outcome being a body of work shown in meatspace, an event held in the Royal Irish Academy for one night only by the collective with Becks Butler and Astrid Newman in April of this year. As part of the same collective she was awarded the Per Cent Per Art Commission with Wexford County Council in January 2019. The collective worked with different community groups in Enniscorthy town on DisPatch, a pop-up post office where postcards were free to send anywhere in the world on the June bank holiday weekend 2019. Other recent group exhibitions include RHA Annual in 2018, PeripheriesOPEN in Gorey 2018 and Origins with Lismore Castle Arts in 2015. She was commissioned to make paintings of Lismore Castle and gardens in 2016, culminating in a solo show in Lismore Castle Arts in September 2016. Her work is included public and private collections throughout Ireland, Britain, USA and China.