Upside-down Mountains 2003
Proposal for Upside-down Mountains for the OPW Office of Public Works at the Northside Civic Centre, Coolock, Dublin 2003.
1. Proposal for a Neon Work - 175 / 500 cm; colour - light blue
For the Northside Civic Centre I propose to make a Neon Work based on drawings of the Irish landscape by George Pietre(1790 - 1866) who trained in Dublin as a watercolour artist and was one of the great Irish Antiquarians of the Nineteenth Century. The work will be light blue in colour and the placement is designed to wash the main hall in a light blue light mixing with the existing lights and complementing the blue of the wall tiles on the outer wall of the main hall. The colour of the light will draw people into the main hall and then reveal itself as a neon landscape.
2. Proposal for a wall painting extending from the back wall of the main hall and along the wall opposite the neon work to the reception area. This work will be painted in black acrylic paint directly onto the wall, the size is variable. This work is also based on landscape drawings by George Pietre, though in this work it is more evident that I am playing with the illusion of drawing and the representation of landscape by turning some of the drawings upside down. The blue light of the neon work opposite will animate this wall painting.
3. Proposal for a publication poster, as a free handout to the public. Printed in full colour on both sides it will be A3 in size. With photographs of the works installed in the Civic Centre, an explanation about the work  and the art history sources which the work is based on. This is designed to promote and explore the art work in the Civic Centre and the Civic Centre itself to the public.
These works are about an Irish Identity which is forward looking but also aware of the past. This is represented through the heroic nature of the subject matter, the mountains which stand proud and strong in their isolation, but which, were also used as places of refuge or escape in Irish history. The mountains are connected to their own inverted images, which could be valley’s, places of refuge.

Sarah Iremonger 2002

George Petrie – Research and Process Room for the Crawford Art Gallery, Cork 2004.

Revealing process, or revealing the experience of process is a common feature of contemporary art, ever since we began to see images of artists in the moment of action or making.

Looking back at the historical work of the artist and scholar George Petrie (1790 – 1866), we wonder about the eye of the artist or narrator, how he perceived the land and artistically developed and framed his vision into his strongly romantic studies of Irish sites and landscapes.

Throughout the exhibition, there is evidence of different stages in the artists’ process - from line drawings with pencil and ink, to ink wash tonal studies, to finished works in watercolour. The Research and Process Room brings our exploration a stage further and attempts to reveal this process. 

Looking at the recent photographs of George Petrie’s chosen sites alongside his series of studies of these places, we can begin to see and imagine a path of thought. You might ask yourself “where”, in this process, did the artist invest his voice. Was it only when he made a finished work, or was it when he saw a particular place for the first time?

Contemporary artist Sarah Iremonger has developed this interactive space, which allows us to creatively participate. The Research and Process Room includes stencils based on George Petrie's drawings, which guide the audience in creating their own linear drawings. Iremonger’s mural, developed from Petrie’s work with a postmodern sensibility, opens up the experience through a play on scale and subversion.

Being somewhat of an idealist of the Romantic era, Petrie believed that opening people’s eyes to the beauty of the Irish landscape would help solve social unrest. His enquiry into the sublime is still of relevance to us today. Some copy’s of Petrie’s books, essays and articles are also on display in the Research and Process Room giving a further key to Petrie’s thoughts and articulates his enquiry and vision through language.

Crawford Art Gallery 2004
(text displayed in the installation)