Hexagon was a 2014 Wicklow County Arts Office project presented by Cork Printmakers in association with Mermaid Arts Centre, Co. Wicklow. It was the result of an intensive two-week residency which took place at Cork Printmakers fine art printmaking workshop. Three Cork-based artists with printmaking backgrounds – myself, Fiona Kelly and Conall Carey were selected via an open submission process to be involved in the project. During the residency we worked with three selected Wicklow-based artists – Laura Kelly, Joanna Kidney and Aoife Flynn, teaching them various printmaking processes and facilitating them in the production of new work for the project. All six artists showed work in the final exhibition which took place in the Mermaid Arts Centre.
Although printmaking was the starting point and the main focus of the residency, the participating artists were free to use any techniques they wished in the final show and there were no expectations of particular outcomes at this point. However, the residency was an extremely productive and intense experience for all the artists involved, with work being produced that was very eclectic and ambitious in nature.
For my contribution to the show I developed a modular system of art-making, modUlar, a set of over a thousand identical components capable of being formed into a variety of configurations by myself or others.
modUlar can be configured into a number of 3d forms, or arranged on a flat plane to form various tessellated patterns.
In keeping with the collaborative nature of the Hexagon project, I wanted modUlar to be partly authored by the other exhibiting artists, who as well as working the components into their own artworks, allowed me to use them to form interventions with their installations in the show.
In addition to this, to allow for public interactivity with the piece, I set up a section where visitors to the show could build their own artworks with the modUlar pieces.
My artist’s statement from the Hexagon catalogue:
For me, the Hexagon project offered a very rewarding opportunity for all six artists to work through an intensive two-week period of collaborative activity. Over the course of this time the projects being developed by the artists continually grew in ambition and scale, with many creative decisions being made and technical solutions being improvised on the fly.
Some common threads of interest began to become apparent as we worked. A preference in bringing printmaking out of its traditional 2d, wall-mounted format and into installation was obvious. The themes of architecture and physical environment/landscape were there, as was a concern with fabrication from modular components and the use of found or commonplace materials.
My own work for the show picks up on these themes, and emphasises the notion of the multiple from printmaking. I have attempted to respond to the specific architecture and viewing conditions of the building, by producing an open-ended and potentially interactive artwork which is a hybrid of art, industrial design, and toy.
The official Hexagon catalogue, featuring an introductory essay by Alison Pilkington, is available to view here – hexagon-catalogue