Naomi Draper: but if I could understand what you are, root and all, and all in all

Friday 12 July – Saturday 31 August 2024
Naomi Draper: but if I could understand what you are, root and all, and all in all | Friday 12 July – Saturday 31 August 2024 | Roscommon Arts Centre | Image: photo of two seashells, though they also look quite like a few pieces of pasta; they are held in a pinkish cloth, and we see a blurred blue-ish background cut by a curl of red

This exhibition is the culmination of an extended period of related artistic and research engagement with Roscommon Arts Centre. The invitation to present this exhibition follows a three year curatorial residency that I undertook at the gallery from 2021-2023. During this residency I maintained a studio practice where ideas were simultaneously explored in my studio practice and my curatorial methodology. Both these practices were informed by an interest in the relationships between humans and other matter, the role process’ of production plays in this negotiation, and the potential of materials as active participants in our development and learning. I am fascinated by the human desire and drive to preserve, protect and care for collected things. My making practices explore the collection, preservation and archiving of plant material and found objects.

The title for this exhibition – but if I could understand what you are, root and all, and all in all – is extracted from a poem by Alfred Tennyson which articulates his curiosity and bewilderment before a familiar object.

Some of the objects I have been making and collecting explore the internal cavity of plants, seedpods, shells and other things, investigating an unseen invisible hidden space. Their making comes from a desire to form a deep knowing and understanding of an object, a draw to an objects vast implications, possibilities and potential. Through a casting process I  attempt to forge, establish and enable a relationship with an object I can never fully understand, access or grasp. I am drawn to things at the edge of material presence and attempt to give form to invisible entities, to really see something and understand it fully, to reveal a point that might have been previously overlooked.

A collection of things has built up now, objects have stayed with me and lingered in my studio for longer than I expected or understand. I am curious about their comforting presence, the sense of responsibility I feel for them and this desire and longing to know the object completely- my keeping of them acting as a way to hold this opportunity and potential open. The objects are not physically strong, requiring careful handling and storage, and I have been making a series of soft sculptures that act as packages and beds for them to rest and lie safely within, as a way to further protect, preserve and archive my findings.

Through this exhibition opportunity I hope to reflect upon my experience of working as a curator in Roscommon Arts Centre, to look at moments of making that happened between different spaces (my studio and other artist’s studios), and to observe where these activities met, bumped off one another and connected. I wonder if the making practices and research interests in my studio during this period can articulate some of the activities in the gallery while I worked as a curator. Through a series of fragments, objects, materials and text, this exhibition attempts to subtly acknowledge some of the encounters and meeting points between the two practices.

Friday 12 July – Saturday 31 August 2024
Roscommon Arts Centre
Circular Road
Roscommon Town
Telephone: +353 90 6625824
Opening hours / start times:

Tuesday – Friday 10am – 5pm; Saturday 2pm - 5pm, on performance days only

Admission / price: Free

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