Vessels 2021-22
Vessels is a painting project I have been working on through the pandemic since autum 2019. The vessels used in this work have been sourced from different countries; these include North America, Thailand, Iran, Turkey, Pakistan, Syria and Sudan. Some are thousands of years old, some hundreds. They have been reduced to transparent silhouettes, superimposed one on top of the other and
painted as transparent colour separation films, magenta, cyan and yellow, to resemble Venn diagrams.

This work has been made in the context of a post-representational
thought process, for example by using diagrams; images that interact with the world rather than representing it. The work has been painted from the perspective of colour as transparent refracted light. The framework holding this light uses a kind of 'Venn logic', which suggested a self-directed concept for making the work that 'generates the thing to be done' (credit for this phrase goes to Catherine Harty). The vessels have been chosen because of their multi-time, multi-national implications.

I started to explore the history of vessels, how the shapes changed through the ages and their cultural identification with different countries worldwide. I devised a plan to reduce the vessels to simple shapes/silhouettes and settled on seven basic shapes from: Turkey, Iran, North America, Sudan, Thailand, Pakistan and Syria. I then started to superimpose the shapes one on top of the other and noticed that they suggested Venn diagrams.
 
Painted from the perspective of refracted light, the three basic colours, cyan, yellow and magenta, make up all the other colours possible in the world. I followed the ‘Venn logic’ of colour choice suggested through the layering process of the silhouettes. This created an illusion of layering, while in fact each colour is chosen and painted separately.
 
I choose watercolour paint to make this work as it offers a huge variety of colours to explore and they dry quickly, so that I can develop the ideas in rapid succession. This process of development also inserted a political dimension/implication to the work. That of mixing cultures as they were placed one on top of another and through the mixing of colours at the points of contact with each other.
 
Like all painting projects, particularly with a series, the work then took on a conversation with itself and I became the facilitator of that conversation. This included breaking the rules I had established and experimenting with random colour associations, pivoting and moving the vessel shapes around. This pushed the work towards states that suggest broken or collapsed diagrams. The ‘Venn logic’ established in the early part of the series becomes obliterated.

Work from this series will be exhibited at Oliver Sears Gallery in May 2022 which has been funded by a Cork County Council Creatives Artists Bursary 2022. Work also can be seen as part of the online exhibitions 'The Time of Our Lives' 2020 and 'New & Recent Work' 2021 at www.oliversearsgallery.com and six works were exhibited as part of 'An Incadescent Connection' Studio Exhibition in Kinsale 2021.