The works presented in this exhibition hem embody in one way or another diverse meanings ascribed to its title:
old Frisian word hemme meaning enclosed land
border of a piece of clothing
encircle and restrict the space or movement of
denoting or meaning blood
The starting point was a strange half told family story related to events 100 years ago. Ghost story as allegory perhaps.
This set in motion a meditation through drawing of edges and movement in both external and internal imagined landscapes.We see this in the series entitled Trace, which are made of layers of paper, compressed earth and pencil. They are shown laid out flat at table height in specially constructed frames of perspex and oak. The drawings become at points in their making like a set of shaken out signs and patterns encoded in and into the work, maybe to be deciphered into meaning or taken as direction.
Fiona O’Dwyer’s work possesses a sensitivity to material, a musicality and experiential poetic nature. In the video work we see the repetitive movement of the hem of a garment, the line that circles us in, the part that touches the ground.
In another piece, set out like wings, are six stone guns collected by the artist between 1992 and 1993 while building her studio in Co. Clare. The pieces are sandblasted with the words or more accurately the sound pill powder.
In this year, in the context of the churning of history O’Dwyer ponders her own history and her experience of continuing to be an artist on this rural edge. Articulated through the work itself, its materiality and relation to place she reflects on the possibility that the epigenetic memory of a migratory early life experience made her not the outsider but the artist.
March 18 – April 14, 2016
The Courthouse Gallery, Ennistymon, Co. Clare, Ireland.