Since giving up an almost exclusive painting practice in 2009, I have sought to address questions that relate painting and traditional drawing through a multi disciplinary approach. My installations aim to expand the notion of what drawing and painting might mean today and how such questions relate to the employment of digital media. I seek to address the problems and limits of the primacy of a two dimensional approach to drawing and painting that dominated the discourse of High Modernist art production. In light of twentieth century critical theorists such as Theodore Adorno and Ludwig Wittgenstein and the advanced works of artists like John Cage, Richard Long, Robert Smithson, Richard Serra and Donald Judd, I ask can drawing be extended into the physical space of the viewer with materials that are often, debris, cast offs and overlooked? The installations, whether digital video projections or physical interventions in space, seek to allow the viewer to be caught in a state of flux between the physical reality of the room they are in and the illusionistic and painterly qualities that can be derived from digital and traditional drawing practices. This flux can often produce a disorientating effect, which I hope will change a viewer’s perception of the encountered space and the presented artworks, as well as invite dialogue between the two. While I attempt to engage the audience by involving them in an open ended process that offers momentary flickers of escape, I also hope to slow down and focus on the stillness, the overlooked, and the poetic qualities inherent in the place where the work is presented. In this sense, I try to fuse a romantic sensibility with a need for a realistic approach to drawing that is in essence politically motivated.
Having made quite a few video installations recently, the space in The Drawing Project seemed to call for an installation that used physical works to interrupt the space. The challenge was how to address concerns that were dominant in the video works in another medium. The overriding interests I have are architectural space and the how the changing qualities of light affect it and our perceptions of it. I am attempting to make a spatial light installation without the use of video, digital cameras or projectors. In order to track the movements of light in my lived in environment without these tools, I researched other methods. Eventually a friend told me about the Van Dyke Printing Process. The drawings in the show were made by applying a light sensitive Van Dyke Brown Solution to large sheets of watercolour paper cut to the measurements of walls and other architectural features in my home in Baltimore and my parent’s home in Dublin. The solution reacts to sunlight when exposed and I work to capture light and shadows as they move on walls and other domestic surfaces. These indexical records of sunlight and shadows cast by myself and other objects are the starting point for this drawing installation. They are responses to my everyday environment. The coloured Mylar in the windows of the drawing project space are a response to the light conditions in the space where the work is presented. In a sense I am trying to map elements of familiar everyday environments on to the gallery space in a way that is sensitive to the particularities of each one and invite questions about how we perceive them.
– Bart O’Reilly (MFAST ’12)
The Drawing Project is an exhibition space and workshop for drawing projects within the Faculty of Film, Art and Creative Technologies at the Institute of Art, Design, & Technology – Dunlaoghaire. Opened in September 2011, it is a venue for Irish and International artists to exhibit and discuss their work with students of IADT-Dunlaoghaire.