In the art museums of Russia, women sit in the galleries and guard the collections. When you look at the paintings and sculptures, the presence of the women becomes an inherent part of viewing the artwork itself. I found the guards as intriguing to observe as the pieces they watch over. In conversation they told me how much they like being among Russia’s great art. A woman in Moscow’s State Tretyakov Gallery Museum said she often returns there on her day off to sit in front of a painting that reminds her of her childhood home. Another guard travels three hours each day to work, since at home she would just sit on her porch and complain about her illnesses, “as old women do.” She would rather be at the museum enjoying the people watching, surrounded by the history of her country.
1. Stroganov Palace, Russian State Museum
2.Matisse Still Life, Hermitage Museum
3.Konchalovsky’s Family Portrait, State Tretyakov Gallery
4. Veronese’s Adoration of the Shepherds, Hermitage Museum
5. Rublev and Daniil’s The Deesis Tier, State Tretyakov Gallery
6. Michelangelo’s Moses and the Dying Slave, Pushkin Museum
7.Malevich’s Self Portrait, Russian State Museum
8. Nesterov’s Blessed St Sergius of Radonezh, Russian State Museum
9. Petrov-Vodkin’s Bathing of a Red Horse, State Tretyakov Gallery
10. Kugach’s Before the Dance, State Tretyakov Gallery
Cottages of Quigley’s Point
Cottages of Quigley’s Point documents interventions in abandoned vernacular dwellings in my local area in County Donegal. In a landscape dominated by the legacy of therecent housing boom the remains of these older cottages are easily found, down country lanes and hidden in clumps of trees. They are known in the community by the names of the families that last lived in them, whether these families still live in the area or have moved away, and reflect that the historical aspects that linger in rural places remain a part of contemporary life.
It is common to read images of derelict cottages in a nostalgic light, celebrating the simplicity of an older way of life with a romantic attachment to hearth and home. This romanticising tendency precludes the encountering of such spaces as they actually are, as part of the landscape as it is now. The interventions are intended as a fresh approach to subject matter that would otherwise be considered an evocation of the past. The addition of bright colours and movement situate the subject in the present, briefly reanimating it in the encounter, and marks my exploration of this redundant yet accessible aspect of the locality.
My motive with this project is to disrupt rather than oppose traditional imagery of the Irish cottage, avoiding the dichotomy of the romanticised and the real. Rather, by interrupting the static interiors of these buildings I add an active and particular dimension to this element of the rural landscape, pursuing a personal means of negotiating past and present in my local community. (artist statement)