I was delighted to be awarded this new percent for art commission Semblance last year for Scoíl Bhríde in Edenderry, Co Offaly. The project is being curated by Rina Whyte with the Office of Public Works and the Department of Education. I have been busy collaborating with 100 students from 5th and 6th class to make it happen. We have carried out a series of creative engagements with the students over a number of months which feed into and help shape the final project outcomes.
The project started out with a series of craft workshops in February 2020 making traditional St Brigid crosses using rushes with Heritage Specialist Melanie Lorien. There was great engagement with a large number of students who really worked very hard to manipulate the rushes and get their hands working. Our lives today are very technological, so it was good to touch natural materials so to speak. Melanine was a wonderful tutor in the art of rush manipulation and showed many examples of how rushes were used in various ways on farms long ago. Rushes were a source of soft material before we had plastic and were used to make toys, figures and playthings, for mummers masks, to make baskets for eggs and also to make brushes to sweep the floor. People on farms would be able to craft the rushes to make things they needed and give objects as gifts. The Semblance sculpture refers to the history, heritage and indirectly to St Brigid. It also refers to place, nature and community. Perhaps today young people do not get the same opportunities to make objects that we did in the past, yet is so important not to lose these skills and the satisfaction of creating our own unique things. We had to stop and find ways around covid stoppages including delivering workshops via zoom which was an interesting experience. Giving a zoom drawing class to 90 students was a memorable experience, but thanks to the helpful teachers it went well.
A film about visual art installation Rainbow In A Box commissioned by Dublin Fringe Festival/Baboro/Cork Midsummer Festival for Tracks young radicals commission 2019. The project was filmed on location at Dublin Castle for Dublin Fringe Festival and at Spanish Arch Galway for Baboro Arts Festival. The project is due to tour in 2020/21. Rainbow in a box explores the colour and the phenomena of rainbows. It uses special lighting and materials to explore colour theory and refraction.
Rainbow In A Box
Irish Arts Review feature September 2020
A essay by Catherine Marshall curator and art critic about the Word-Tree and Our Place public art project for Sancta Maria Secondary school, Louisburgh Co Mayo will feature in the September 2020 issue of The Irish Arts Review. The essay looks at the project from various angles and frames the work in the contemporary world. The year long socially engaged art project saw the artist collaborating with Transition Year students and invited artists to produce the text resulting in an external sculpture and a series of drone photographs which were installed in the school atrium as large scale L.E.D photographs. The project was a collaboration with the students, creative writer Jean Tuoumey and graphic artist Frank O Reilly. The project is due to be launched in September 2020. The project was funded by the Dept Of Education percent for art.
Completion of Word-Tree sculpture for Sancta Maria Secondary School New Building Percent for Art, Louisburgh, Co Mayo.
I completed Word-Tree in March this year (2020) just before the Covid lockdown. It was an incredible and challenging experience to realise the project. Stainless steel is a beautiful material but also very hard and unforgiving. It is the ultimate material of the 20th Century. (The Dragon Rocket made by SpaceX (Elon Musk) is clad in stainless steel so if it is good enough for outer space well....... It is incredibly durable and when mirror polished retains the highly polished finish.
Working with the TY years in Sancta Maria was a great experience. They created the poem which forms the tree shape with creative writer/poet Jean Tuomey over a series of workshops in 2019. The final group poem they created is really interesting piece of textual work. The bottom line of the poem finishes with the line "Our grades do not define us" A brave and fitting statement for a bunch of highly imaginative, confident young people ready to take on the world! There was huge support for the project via TY co-ordinator Ms Deborah Maxwell who was so helpful at every stage. Word-Tree was a very ambitious undertaking from the very start the school put their trust in me to realise the project. I cannot thank them enough for that. Under the careful stewardship of the Principal Pauline Moran with assistance from Miranda Rice and Art Teacher Tom O Flynn the whole project moved like a well oiled train. Noel Billington (Caretaker) was on hand at all times to make my my job easier. There was such a helpful spirit all round it was special. This was an extremely complex project with many elements to resolve at each stage. I had to stretch my art practice to encompass the many elements from so many different angles.
I especially want to thank Jess Matterer (Bremen, Germany) for his support and technical assistance throughout the project. Jess formerly worked on some extremely complex engineering projects including The Louis Vuitton Foundation building in Paris designed Frank Gehry Architects Los Angeles. Frank O Reilly -O Reilly Design, Westport Co Mayo provided the graphics to help visualise the project.
The new school is a beautiful building designed by Taylor McCarney Architects, Castlebar, Co Mayo who were also the art project curators. It is sensitively designed with a spacious atrium and a flowing design that is set in the most spectacular location on the edge of Louisburgh town a short walk to the Atlantic sea nearby. Nature, the wild ocean and the overarching mountains provide an ever present back drop. I want to thank Barry Kinnane (Architect, Taylor Carney Architects Castlebar) for his constructive advice during the whole project and prompt responses to all my emails.
As part of the project the TY students also created a series of poems which were animated by drawings via workshops from art students under guidance from Tom O Flynn (Art Teacher) These poems and drawings are on permanent exhibition in the school. They are a doorway into the world of ideas and images reflecting on personal relationships, nature, the school community and the natural world. This was formally attended by Minister for Social Protection Michael Ring on the opening of the new school.
Fergal Mc Grane(Engineering Support Services, Swinford Co Mayo) gave excellent support on the structural engineering sideI worked with Olandi Engineering locally for precision cutting of materials using water jet technology. Stephen Cannon contractors Lousiburgh was very helpful and obliging for all the foundation works. The first time we tried to install the sculpture there was a gale blowing so we had to reschedule. Ruairi Mc Connell (Mc Connell Fine Furniture) was on hand to solve some challenging technical issues. Paul Sammin Electrical were super with advice on lighting and Abcon (Stainless supplies) in Cavan were just fantastic to work with I especially want to mention Gary O Connell who offered expert and timely advice. For assistance in the studio I want to thank Peadar Cawley (Welding) Tony Day Studio Technician.. Mairead Ludden MEng (Engineer Castlebar) provided practical support along the way. The school was built by Kilcawley construction and I want to thank Dermot Kelly(Project Manager Kilcawley) and Malachy Heverin(Site Manager) for their willingness to help.
In December 2019 Cathal Mc Carthy was selected by the Town Council of Hochstadt to create a new Public Art Sculpture in Bavaria Germany. This new sculpture will be a socially engaged project exploring themes of peace in our time and the environment. It will engage with young people from Hochstadt and young people from Castlebar in a unique way as their ideas and words will be incorporated into the work.
The sculptor received a warm reception when he proposed his ideas for the sculpture to the members of Hochstadt Town Council in December 2019.
This new sculpture will form part of the Cultural Mile Exhibition which will see major new works created by contemporary artists in Bavaria. The sculpture is due for completion in 2021.
Link for news in German.
Cathal Mc Carthy is delighted to announce that he has been awarded the Baboro International Children's Festival/Dublin Fringe/Cork Midsummer Festival Tracks Commission for 2018/2019. The art commission will involve creating an art installation in a 20 foot steel container that will be designed and created by the artist. The box installation will tour to all three festivals during 2018 and 2019. The winning proposal by the artist is to create a "Rainbow in a box" installation for young people. Please check the festival websites for more information at a future date.
I have been very fortunate to complete 3 sculpture residencies at the studio of US sculptor Richard Hunt in Chicago in 2015, 2017 and 2018. Richard is an amazing artist to be around and at 83 is still at the top of his game. I first met Richard at the International Sculpture Conference in London in 2010. Following his invitation I got the opportunity to visit the studio in Chicago in 2015. One of the most prolific artists in the USA he has completed over 120 public art commissions in various locations and he has work in several of the prestigious art collections in the US including MOMA(Museum of Modern Art New York) and Whitney Museums. Being in the company of Richard is always a memorable and enriching art experience both from his knowledge, passion for art and his incredible sense of humour. I had the opportunity to work alongside Richard on some of his major public art projects including "Diapason" for the school of music in Iowa University and "Swing Low" a sculpture for the Washington Smithsonian Museum. I also created some new works while on the residency.
Cathal Mc Carthy has been asked by the Hochstadt Town Council in Germany to create a new sculpture for their town in Bavaria. A delegation from Hochstadt will be visiting the studio in April 2019 and going to see some of Mc Carthy's public art works in Co Mayo.
On behalf of Kenny Gallery and as a result of the Kenny Gallery Sculpture Exhibition "Sculpture for Galway 2020" Cathal Mc Carthy was asked to develop a proposal for the new development at Bonham Quay in Galway. This major development by BPD Architects of over 200 new office spaces is due for construction in 2019. Mc Carthy developed a number of ambitious proposals and presented them to management in Febuary 2019.