Laura Fitzgerald: Strange Weather

Thursday 15 February – Saturday 20 April 2024
Laura Fitzgerald, Hard Right Ahead, 2024. Pen and sharpie on archival paper. Courtesy of the artist. | Laura Fitzgerald: Strange Weather | Thursday 15 February – Saturday 20 April 2024 | Ormston House | Laura Fitzgerald, Hard Right Ahead, 2024. Pen and sharpie on archival paper. Courtesy of the artist. | “(I suspect that we all wish that the title of this work wasn’t half so clever; we have been warned. The sole object in the drawing is a road sign, warning of a sharp bend ahead; the sign, which tilts slightly upwards and narrows to create a slight perspective effect, is of a horizontal row of alternating black and yellow chevrons pointing rightwards; it is on two posts, the second, farther one slightly raised above the height of the first. There is no background or other information.”

Some of the people living next door are happy and some of them are not happy at all. The unhappy people can be very annoying. They stare, they do not salute, they are rude, they issue court summonses. Or they have behaved very badly indeed and continue to salute anyway. They make living in the countryside challenging and tense. Mediation is a good idea if you fall out with the neighbours. For example, if they agree to open this gate, then we could talk. Even though the gate is essentially see-through, it is difficult to communicate with them through it. It is a big barrier in our relationship.

And where, where, where – is the right of way? There is no clear way forward, it seems. According to Hito Steyerl and many others, it’s difficult now to see what’s ahead of us. Well, she is talking about the future specifically, but the future and right-of-ways are very similar. I propose that the future, alongside all right-of-ways through land, should be delineated in highlighter yellow. If the yellow mark is clear and concise, there will be no arguments. If it is unclear, or if it is not there at all, there will be holy murder.

There is a limited supply of land (they are not making any more of it). Sad fields have washing machines and other rubbish hidden in the corners. Some fields have cows buried in them, together with old cars, and pianos. Archaeologists will marvel in time over what we’re at with this arrangement of animals and machinery. Some kind of cow sacrifice to the Washing Machine Gods, accompanied by a pianoforte to send it off.

And then there is this Knowth edition of Polly Pocket. It’s such a nice location, situated by the river with tranquil views of the surroundings. Apparently, there is evidence of fighting there too. Such a shame, it looked like such a lovely spot. Why can’t people just get on? I suppose I would have an arrowhead embedded in me by now. The ball is not getting any bigger.

Be careful in places where the signs are faded. Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it has gone away. So, watch out. I have cordoned off areas where there is a risk of personal injury to you, me, and others. The tape will be as long as possible. Meanwhile, if feeling despondent, read Albert Camus’ The Myth of Sisyphus, again, again, again, and again. A good laugh helps make everything better. All work is in progress, sure I’m in progress myself, until I eventually start to deteriorate and fall apart. Careful where you drive. Mind where you step. The weather is very strange at the moment.

– Laura Fitzgerald, 2024

Convening new and older work, Strange Weather immerses you in conversations that deal with land politics, mythology, and the happiness of neighbours. Laura Fitzgerald presents a body of new works including (but not limited to) wall-based painting, text, tape, and video. This expansive solo exhibition also includes older works that formed Rural Stress (2022), I have made a place (2021), and Fantasy Farming (2020).

Laura’s work is colourful, playful, and distinctly humorous. Often handwritten comments and narratives accompany her drawings and paintings, sometimes referencing personal experiences and sometimes pointing to much darker issues. The work draws connections between climate change and agriculture while exploring the complicated relationships of land ownership and land occupation. Strange Weather navigates these tense conversations, uncertain of any solution.

This exhibition is curated by Niamh Brown and supported by the Arts Council of Ireland and Limerick City & County Council.

Laura Fitzgearld is an Irish artist based in Inch, Co. Kerry. She is a graduate of both the National College of Art & Design, Dublin and Royal College of Art, London. She is a recipient of the Visual Arts Bursary Award (Arts Council of Ireland) for 2023–24. In 2023, she completed a three-month residency at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in Omaha, Nebraska, USA.

Recent exhibitions include Right-of-way at Wexford Art Centre, 2022; A Growing Enquiry: Art, Agriculture, reconciling values at the RHA, 2022; An Animate Land at Roscommon Art Centre, 2022 with artists Miriam O’Connor and Marian Balfe; I have made a place at the Crawford Art Gallery, Cork, 2021; the 39th EVA International with Fantasy Farming, 2020 at Limerick City Gallery of Art; and the site-specific, mountain-based artwork Cosmic Granny, 2019 in Inch, Co. Kerry.

Greetings from the Countryside (Strong Emotions)

To accompany her upcoming exhibition Strange Weather, Laura Fitzgerald is making a new publication, Greetings from the Countryside (Strong Emotions). The publication includes a new text and illustrations that reflect lived experience, relationships between neighbours, and conventional road signals. It is designed and printed by Or Studio.

We have launched an Indiegogo campaign to support the production of the publication, where you can purchase a copy at a discounted rate. Please consider supporting here.

Image: Laura Fitzgerald, Hard Right Ahead, 2024. Pen and sharpie on archival paper. Courtesy of the artist.
Thursday 15 February – Saturday 20 April 2024
Ormston House
9-10 Patrick Street
Limerick City
Admission / price: Free

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