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The Dock Commission : Towards the thing

About Padraig Cunningham

Padraig Cunningham’s work examines physical displacement in the environment, focusing on the gap between what is real and what is fictional. Within this dislocation, themes of loss and absence become apparent often centering on everyday places, their reinventing and questioning of their status, usage, and how they have been altered to accommodate human engagement. Implied in this alteration is nostalgia, a longing for what has been lost. The open receptive nature of the work is an attendant to that absence.

 After graduation from DIT in 1996 Padraig Cunningham co-founded Stoney Batter Studio and subsequently was involved in numerous shows including an emerging artist exhibition at the Ashford Gallery, RHA, and solo shows at the Cross Gallery, Dublin. In 2005 he moved to Boyle, Co. Roscommon and was Artist in Residence for a number of years in The Dock Art Centre, Co. Leitrim. In 2011 Padraig was invited to participate in an international project and residency in Bodh Gaya, India. The work was exhibited in Patina, India, and in Galway at Tulca 2011.  In 2017 and 2018, along with artist Karl Burke he was commissioned by Roscommon Art Center curator Linda Shevlin to make collaborative work with a Brothers of Charity group in Roscommon. He also worked with artist Anna Macleod on the Park Project; Portrait of a Lake and in 2018 on a collaboration with artist Mark Garry that was purchased by IMMA as a recent acquisition. In 2019 he completed a MA Art in the Contemporary World, NCAD with the thesis project exhibited at the Goethe-Institut, Dublin.

Padraig currently lives in Boyle, Co. Roscommon, and runs his own graphic design business along with his art practice.

About Padraig Cunningham’s Commission.

"Turning towards the thing, all lines of sight, of site, remain obscured. The non-human comes to the fore. Laughter is felt in its absence, with no objects of attention it floats free and the bird’s song mocks its attempt to inhabit their place. Fragments are all that is available to witness. The plumb line is obscured by the curve of branches; the ark and clustering of blackthorn, a filigree of chaotic growth overpower the built order; structures giving way. The young leaves of the birch and poplar defuse any lineation of forms. Imagine a time when a squirrel could travel this island from north to south, without touching the forest floor.As these things become hidden in nature, maybe their true worth becomes apparent in time. Without attention, we are un-filled, an obscure mass, undifferentiated prodding into a wedge of darkness. Only the focus brings us closer to the thing and to our self.

For The Dock Commission, I want to focus on the object in a state of transition. From things of purpose to uselessness, something once desired now forgotten. Moving image and text will focus attention on the forest, the stream, lost houses, and the deer that weave paths among its remains."