The Lady of the Lake is Hiding in the Expanded Field was presented at the 2nd Symposium of Digital Art in Ireland at UCC organised by Sample Studios and the UCC Department of Digital Humanities on the 13th & 14th of June 2024 in Cork and funded by the Arts Council of Ireland.


Abstract

Is it possible to be an artist in a world where everything is watching you as much as, or even more so than you are watching it? The 1981 film Excalibur by John Boorman, filmed at Powerscourt Waterfall in Co. Wicklow, provides a wonderful analogy of what it’s like to be an artist navigating digital technologies in the 21st century. A loss of situatedness leads me to wonder if I am the sword ‘Excalibur’ embedded in the stone waiting to be released, to be plucked from the dilemma of the past so that a heroic potential can be realised and put to use, only to be broken, thrown into the depths of the lake (or in this case the pool at the bottom of Powerscourt Waterfall) and lost, once more to be rescued and held on high by the Lady of the Lake?


Art is the key to unlocking realities through the imagination, images creating an apophenia making sense out of the noise. Painting has been a means of falling into our imaginations since the Stone Age reminding us that experiencing is a creative act of imagination. In this paper, I will discuss ideas of representation and transformation in developing artwork through my practical and thinking processes, as part of my Horizons project. Taking George Barret’s 18th-century paintings of the View of Powerscourt Waterfall (he painted several versions – there is one in the National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin and another is in the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool) as source material, to create drawings and paintings and develop digital 3-dimensional virtual landscapes exploring a sense of dislocation and disorientation, a situationlessness created by a data-driven digital era.


Image 1: View of Powerscourt Waterfall, 1760, by George Barret, oil on canvas; Image 2: Entangled Horizon 2 drawing after View of Powerscourt Waterfall by G. Barret, by Sarah Iremonger, ink on paper, 2022; Image 3: Rendered image of a Blender Digital 3D landscape based on Entangled Horizon 2, drawing by Sarah Iremonger and Daniel Murray, 2023.