‘Bare Root’


  • Opening: Friday 20th October at 6.00pm
  • Venue: Wexford County Council Offices, Carricklawn, Wexford
  • Exhibition runs 23rd October – 1st December 2017
  • Guest Speaker: Curator, Anya von Gosseln
  • Curated by: Catherine Bowe

The Arts Department of Wexford County Council in partnership with Wexford Arts Centre are delighted to present Bare Root, a group exhibition exploring rural and farmyard environments, and the points where nature and the man-made intersect. Situated in the County Buildings, Bare Root features the work ofartists including Frank Abruzzese, Michael Canning, Els Dietvorst, Michael Fortune, Janet Mullarney, Rosie O’Gorman, Helen Robbins, Blaise Smith, Brigitta Varadi, Michael Wann and Katie Watchorn.

The term Bare Root refers to a technique of arboriculture whereby a plant is removed from soil in a dormant state, from which it can more rapidly acclimate to new soil conditions. Bare Root emphasises time, materiality, and the transference of traditions from one generation to the next within rural communities. This diverse exhibition recognises the sensibilities surrounding land and labour, illuminating the nuances and materiality of Irish rural farming, capturing the traditional and common place in a profoundly uncommon yet relatable way.

Materiality and documentation is to the fore of the exhibition. Traditional photographic principles are utilised in a distinctly modern way, while paintings and delicate drawings in graphite and charcoal recollect artefacts, archiving, and early archaeological and horticultural illustrations. Sculptural works encapsulate the essence of life and growth, represented through twisting forms and natural shapes. The improvised, functional and adaptable nature of materials on a farm is explored, underlining personal experiences within these environments and humanity’s impact upon these landscapes. The inclusion of heat lamps and dyed sheep’s wool offer a tangible and textured basis from which contemplate the sequence of life, death and the identification of animals, plants and territories.

The progression of time underscores much of this exhibition; the time between frames where subjects and sequences are frozen in a single channel of light and captured on film. The time and cycle of husbandry and cultivation, of seasons, changing practices, traditions and lineage. Our relationship with the natural, yet agrarian environment, is also dissected as Bare Roots observes our own behaviour and engagement with the landscape, and the behaviour of animals within such spaces. Folklore and stories, both ancient and combined with contemporary references, are presented through video and animal pelts, highlighting the rich oral history that exists in this country, associating the rural landscape with myth and fairy tales. Together these elements represent and record the intuitive innermost workings of agricultural spaces. A world which is emotional, historic, and deeply seated within the Irish consciousness.

Bare Root will run in Wexford County Buildings, Carricklawn until Friday 1st December 2017. Opening hours are Monday to Friday from 9am-5pm. For further information on the exhibition please contact Catherine Bowe, Visual Arts Manager, Wexford Arts Centre, Cornmarket, Wexford on +353 (0)53 91 23764 or email catherine@wexfordartscentre.ie. Alternatively, contact Lisa Fortune, Assistant Staff Officer, The Arts Department, Wexford County Council, Carricklawn, Wexford on +353 (0)53 9196369 or email lisa.fortune@wexfordcoco.ie.