About Darn Thorn's Commission
“The genre of landscape often operates as a signiﬁer for the economic and ecological concerns in my work. This commission will continue a trajectory mapped out by Arcadia in Grey (Sirius Art Centre, Cobh, 2015) and Fjordism (NKD Norway 2010 & Sternview Gallery Cork 2019) where the idealised image of the landscape as employed by the tourism industry is subverted.
In Leitrim the issue of plantation forestry and the prevalence of the introduced Sitka spruce have generated contention within the community. Necessitated by questionable government environmental policies, the tree disrupts the environment by acidifying the land and requiring pesticide to mature. Native wildlife cannot live under its dark canopy. The forest, superﬁcially green, is in fact a dead zone.
In the history of landscape photography the works of Ansel Adams and Eadweard Muybridge documenting the forests of North America are ubiquitous. Associated with Romanticism and Modernism, their works were repudiated as mawkish by artists of the postmodern era. That their landscapes evoked an idealised portrayal of the forest is pertinent to this investigation.
For these reasons I will approach the Sitka forest (a North American native) with this legacy in mind. By employing a large format plate camera similar to the equipment they used, I will make a series of black and white images evoking their epic vistas in an ironic fashion. In this way the commission will engage critically with the economic and governmental policies that make this industry viable."