I have been walking the same route through my neighborhood for years. I would describe the walk as beautiful, which it is. The truth is, I hardly see my surroundings because it’s so familiar. It takes concentration to experience a familiar path in a new way.
I have always been intrigued by the trust that humans place in lens-based mediums, as well as the strategies that can render the illusion of depth and flatness through drawing or painting. For me, the limited view of a viewfinder, the suggestion of three dimensional space through line, or the time lapse of editing video, these are all to me a playground for manipulation – for using different forms of representation to expose something familiar in a new way.
Although I had an idea of what I wanted to pursue during the residency, I also knew I wanted to reconnect with the darkroom process, and be playful rather than perscriptive about what came out of the experience. I wanted to escape the instant-gratification mindset of shooting and editing digitally; to remember the time, practice and care that goes into creating precise film exposures without previewing, to engage with tempramental chemicals and experience the irregularity alternative processes and hand-coating paper. I embraced the slower pace. While the melting, cooling and drying took place in the darkroom, I walked, hiked, biked and bussed within the limestone landscape of the Burren and brought images and concepts back to the labs through sketches, film and files. I studied fossils and researched stone walls, moved in and out of different elevations and wifi zones, used paper and digital maps to navigate my locations. Maps, elevation, music, geography, and technology were all key in the building of the different works and series that emerged from the residency. The experience was so intense and grand in impact that I feel as though I’m looking up at a mountain trying to describe what’s at the top.
The Burren is not a place one forgets. I spent a semester abroad as an undergraduate student at the Burren College of Art, and returned as a resident artist after fourteen years. There are many exchange programs, there are many residencies. There is only one Burren College of Art – it is a truly unique place.