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Kildare > Arts > Guth ón bPortach

Guth ón bPortach

Saturday March 9th until Friday April 5th

The work of three artists, working in very different media is the subject of the next exhibition at the Riverbank Arts Centre, which is open to the public from Saturday 9th March until Friday 5th of April. Paintings by Lucy Tormey, weavings and paintings by Monica de Bath, and ceramics by Debbie Ní Chaoimhe are included in the show.Ceramic by Debbie Ní Chaoimhe

Guth ón bPortach or 'Voice from the Bog' is the name of a Community Arts initiative that has taken root in the rich boglands of County Kildare. It is an artist- led initiative with a small pool of experienced Midland artists who work in both a Community Arts context and in developing their own individual artistic expression.

The Project began as a Community Arts residency in Rathangan and its hinterland of West Kildare in 1999 under the guidance of Community artists, Monica de Bath and Deborah Ni Chaoimhe. It was funded by Kildare County Council and An Comhairle Ealaíon and was supported by the local community. Participants were encouraged to develop a visual language in clay, weave and paint. The group have explored issues related to the ways in which we engage with our natural environment and with other members of the community. Their work tells of the unique raised bogs of the midlands, its layers, markings, textures, colours and history while also exploring the very human issues of identity, community, isolation, migration and social integration.

A workshop on weaving and working with textiles will be given by Monica de Bath in conjunction with the exhibition, on Thursday 14th of March; Lucy Tormey will give an artist's talk in the Riverbank on Friday 22nd of March at 1.00 pm; and a workshop in ceramics, in assocation with Gael Scoil Cill Dara will be held on Tuesday 12th of March.

The exhibition continues in both galleries at Riverbank until Friday 5th of April. For any further information, please contact Catríona on (045) 448314, or e-mail us on Weaving by Monica de Bath

Guth ón bPortach - The Artists

Monica de Bath is a founder member of Taipéis Gael Teo, (a group of contemporary tapestry weavers). Her work has been influenced by the strong weaving tradition in Glen Colm Cille, Co Donegal, and in particular by the use of wood, natural dyeing and spinning. Her starting point for the work on show is a series of miniature textiles using cottons and wool which are inspired by the miniature woven garments found at Huaca Prieta, a pre-ceramic burial site in Peru. From this starting point grew the large sisal pieces and paintings. These are about the cutting away of the bogs and the notion of how the bog preserves many traces of human activity and ritual.

Debbie Ní Chaoimhe has been working as a community artist for the past 10 years. The materials and methods that were integral to her works were wide and varied with an emphasis on organic materials, from clay to willow and paper. This comes from a strong interest in the environment.

She notes, "My involvement with Guth ón bPortach has led me to look more closely at the environment immediately around me, and to observe the consequences of human interaction with it. I regard this Earth as a host mother. All of our actions affect her, albeit in a positive or negative way." This work explores the idea of the earth as a sacred vessel in which the dreams, stories and secrets of the past, present and future are stored. Every mark we make, either literally or metaphorically, has a story connected to it. I see these vessels as containers in which secrets are stored and some in which dreams burst forth and could not be restrained."Instillation by  Lucy Tormey

Lucy Tormey has worked in Mullingar with a wide range of community groups. In recent years she has worked more specifically with adults who have intellectual disabilities. She is strongly influenced by the uninhibited approach of these artists and by the unique artwork that they produce. As she lives in the midlands, she is interested in the interpretation of the midland region as a physical and emotional centre. The lake and bog landscapes of the region often provide the starting points for her paintings which are concerned with the simple moments of life and the search for hidden beauty.

Currently, all three artists are working on proposals towards a series of group exhibitions between 2002 and 2004. In addition to their exhibition at the Riverbank Arts Centre, the group are planning exhibitions for Dunamaise Arts Centre in Portlaoise, Linenhall Arts Centre in Mayo and Mullingar Arts Centre in Co Westmeath.

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