Siobhan McDonald: Crystalline: Hidden Monuments
Limerick City Gallery of Art (LCGA) is delighted to present an exhibition by the artist Siobhan McDonald, first shown in Paris, in the Centre Culturel Irlandais in 2016. Included in the exhibition in Limerick is a Creative Ireland commission to address the late prehistory (Bronze Age) linear earthworks in Ireland called the Black Pig’s Dyke. In this new project, titled Hidden Monuments, McDonald presents a series of artistic enquiries to remind us of the Cairns, standing stones and Megalithic structures that foreshadow our architectural histories.
Since 2017, the artist has been working with archaeologists on a series of breakthroughs made from a recent radiocarbon dating programme. An extremely interesting aspect to this project is that because of the unprecedented rise in global temperatures last summer there was a drought, which magically drew henges in Ireland to the surface for exploration.
Art critic Cristín Leach says of the work “Connections, links, signs even, are intrinsic to McDonald’s way of working. One piece of research leads to another investigation. The art is an interconnected body of work that grows each time she displays it. Her new paintings, on 24 carat gold-plated copper plates look abstract, distressed, a word she uses when talking about other images she has made. It’s a word that speaks to the fragility and the anxiety inherent in the work. Despite it all she is optimistic. Her art is not deeply negative, although it is urgent, pensive, and full of thought-provoking beauty.”
For this new iteration of Crystalline in LCGA, brings a customized selection of works related to the substance of ancient and historic natural forms including a set of Arctic plant pressings from the 1825 Franklin Expedition. The themes that animate Crystalline—the deep history of materials, their changing states, and the fragility of bodies and landforms exposed to the elements continue through the exhibition.
Apollo’s Tom Jeffreys added “McDonald commemorates the vast diversity of the environment we inhabit and explores our equally diverse responses to it. She does so deftly and with an aesthetic that is at once coherent, understated and quietly powerful.’
McDonald’s research and preparatory work included an expedition to the Arctic Circle in 2015, collaborative work with the European Space Agency. She is currently artist in residence in the School of Natural Sciences at Trinity College Dublin (2017- 19)