Sarah Iremonger

Horizons 2014-17
Horizons is a collaborative project with poet Derek Mahon. The project so far involves a completed prose piece, which has been published as part of his collection 'Olympia and the Internet' The Gallery Press 2017. The visual work has developed in three parts. The first part involves works based on Cork Harbour, which investigates the idea of ‘separation’ represented through colour separations and the distant horizon. The second part is a reflection on the idea of ‘lost islands’ in this case Skellig Michael, sea camouflage and Star Wars, while part three, looks at the idea of ‘beyond the horizon’ creating landscapes based on the works of Irish nineteenth century painter James Arthur O’Connor, woodland camouflage and plastic waste.

When I'm working many concerns and ideas flow through the work, here are just a few of them:

In this work I am interested in looking at ideas about our interconnectedness with the world. Foreground and background are collapsed in an attempt to dispel or displace the duality between humans and the world. Subject and object are collapsed through the disintegration of the images into a kind of camouflage the images are hiding in themselves.

Painting is my choice of medium for this project because it exposes the possibility of reducing everything to information or data, in this case lines and colour, while at the same time, it offers the opportunity to reorganize and recreate that information in new and unexpected ways.

The most recent of these works is painted in, what could be described as, an automatic way. Three traced images are superimposed on top of each other to scatter or disintegrate the images and then painted as if filling in a colouring book, by not letting the same colour touch each other and covering the whole page.

This way of working has implications with regard to the mental processes involved in understanding our visual world, 'pre-visual' memory of objects seen as abstract shapes in early childhood and how once we 'know' what the object is, it becomes enmeshed in our mind as part of the recognizable world. The mental processes involved depend upon memory, knowledge and familiarity. The fragmentation or abstraction of recognizable visual images here, calls upon these faculties to recreate vestiges of an understandable world.
Concerns regarding identity are also explored here, in the form of providing camouflages for Skellig Michael, so that Skellig Michael can choose to hide in a variety of environments, for example, woodland, pink, desert and sea. This idea is extended through the invention of a 'star wars camouflage' based on a simplified version of a storm trooper helmet, repeated and fitted into each other. This work explores the loss of Skellig Michael’s identity through a series of images, which act like a hall of mirrors, where the image of the island is interwoven through the camouflage of the storm trooper pattern as if in a kaleidoscope.

The ecological concerns of this work are focused on an expression of our relationship with world. We are world and world is us, as a sort of unavoidable meshing or elimination of boundaries in the way we think about ourselves and world.

Documentation of the process and research material are included here. This work has been funded by a Cork County Council Arts Grants Scheme Award 2015 and two residencies at Cill Rialaig, Ballinskelligs, Co. Kerry 2014 & 15.

Sarah Iremonger 2017