LANDSCAPE MACHINE looks at the human drive to invent, to collect, and to create.
It looks at the associations of the landscape with industry, and ideas such as identity, status, social mobility and lore. The exhibition is an elegant representation and document of the artists own quiet interventions and responses to the landscape. The galleries have been designed to unfold a way of looking at our relationship with landscape. They are intended to articulate interplay of how we regard the landscape, as a place for escape from our everyday life and as a resource which services our quest for industrial and agricultural advancement.
The artist, Marielle MacLeman is drawn to sites and places that have ever changing narratives, in this exhibition some works recreate lost sites, others reference fading human practices (particularly those of the textile industry) and at times the materials used are reconfigured as sculptural objects which articulate these shifts and changes.
In gallery one, she has made works that articulates a response to the traces we leave in the landscape. They draw inspiration from ideas of the natural and look at how we manage, map, preserve and package our “natural” world. She is also very interested in showing the limits of materials, and is working with processes that help to convey a narrative.
Marielle is also interested in our inclination to collect and invent landscapes, much of the installation references the notion of the souvenir. She had taken the raw materials from the landscape and made artworks which serve as a documentation of journeys she has made, for example to Omey Island, and trips through the rural and urban hinterlands of Galway city and other sites in Connemara. The large drawing in Gallery One, took over a year to compose and was made in response to a description of a 17th Century Pleasure Garden, the work is made by a stamp, made from words used in a French poem of the time which had described the gardens. In this gallery she also used grass from the excavated site of a picnic rug. The grass was reprocessed into paper pages to reference a guide book.
In other works in this room she has used the remains of campfires to make botanical studies, and the viewer is invited to a sea view which can be observed from a terrazzo bench made from beach glass which she has collected from Galway Bay.
Ideas of place making are explored further in Gallery Two where the work incorporates woollen blankets and rugs, but any domestic connotations these might have are married with the industrial skills needed for manufacture, such as carding and sorting mechanisms. Machine made carpet is incised with carpets that have been work by hand and reference Chinese lattice work – this is also a comment on the mass exportation of Irish wool to China, (95% of Irish wool is exported to China). Drawing from the traditions of former cottage industries all the woollen elements in the exhibition have been coloured by plant dies collected from the land.
Maeve Mulrennan (MM), curator at The Galway Arts Centre and writer was invited by The Dock to take part in a public interview with artist Marielle MacLeman (MMacL). The discussion that unfolded was about Marielle’s work,her research interests and how the exhibition came about. You can read an edited documentation of the interview here
Interlocking warp with weft.
Tapestry workshop with artist Frances Crow
Adult Workshop - Sat 7th May.
Natural resources workshop weekend
with artist Marielle MacLeman
Adult Workshop - Sat 4th & Sun 5th June