AN EXHIBITION OF NEW WORK BY VIVIAN HANSBURY
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Exhibition Run: 10 November - 14 November
Preview: 10 November 6pm - 8pm
Gallery Opening Hours: Monday - Friday 10am - 5pm, Saturday 12pm - 5pm
Questioning Identity, Landscape and Belonging
Hansbury’s work goes deep into the issue of one’s place in the world, and our inescapable relationship with our physical and social environment. It also addresses memory and the shifting nature of remembering. She is mining a similar emotional territory to that explored by other artists including the poet Heaney, and Joseph Beuys, for whom bogs and peatlands have mythic and symbolic significance. For Hansbury too, the bog is a metaphor for submerged memories and experiences that are buried in the unconscious. She is drawn again and again to the imagery of the bog landscape of her childhood, the environment and the community with which she has a vital emotional connection, yet also that sense of not quite belonging.
‘Bahi Kubo ’is a lullaby about a little home in the Tagalog language of the Philippines. Hansbury creates a seamless interweaving of landscape, imagination, and personal history. Growing up in the midlands near the bogs in County Offaly, there were few, if any, reference points for her bi-racial identity. Her artworks, which the artist describes as extended drawings, are the embodiment of her memories and her experiences, and are inextricably aligned with the physical and cultural landscape of the boglands.
In her choice of withy or willow branch as the primary material used in the installations, the artist evokes deeply embedded cultural connections, as well as creating an aesthetic that is at once mysterious, otherworldly, yet strangely familiar. Withy is a strong flexible willow stem which has eco-cultural connections to the history, economy and heritage of the boglands of the artist’s childhood. Used in ancient rituals, traditional crafts and until recently, an integral part of rural life, the withy is replete with mythological and archaeological significance.
The installations are deceptively fragile looking, delicately suspended by steel wire which allows for movement, and punctuated by contrasting jesmonite pieces. This reflects the artist’s concern with a spatial and bodily relationship with the artworks. Hansbury emphasises the importance of the viewers’ engagement with the artwork, and the potential for the creation of meaning, subjective and associative.
The exhibition, curated by the artist herself is site specific and responsive to the space where it is displayed. The intention is to subtly guide the viewer along a path of reflection in a disorienting space that exists in neither past nor future, but somewhere in between, a space the artist refers to as liminal, a space of change and possibility.
Text by art writer Mary Flanagan.
In conversation event at The Complex 13th November, 6.30pm:
Vivian Hansbury and Helen Carey (Director, Fires Station Artist Studios)
For Vivian Hansbury, the process of making and materiality are important elements of her sculptural practice. The emergent tactile quality of the finished works is a central concern. Ongoing research includes developing new materials that are more sustainable and have a less negative impact on our
environment. Her approach involves combining traditional and experimental processes, combining weaving and cast elements to create more visceral works. Interested in notions of identity expressed through a process led approach. The work addressed here relates to experiences growing up surrounded by the landscape of her childhood.
The meeting of process and transformation alongside topical conversations regarding environmental concerns are embedded in this body of work. Specialising in sculpture, installation and video media. Solo art exhibitions have included ‘Blot on the Landscape’, Linenhall Arts centre, Castlebar. Earlier this year, she completed a residency award at the Firestation Artists Studios. Vivian graduated from the University of Ulster, Belfast, with an MFA in Fine Art in 2000. She is currently a Lecturer at the National College of Art and Design.