Skibbereen Arts Festival has commissioned five artists - William Bock, Lauren Gault, Michael Holly, Siobhán McGibbon and Tomas Penc - to develop new artwork for five 'billboard' sites in Skibbereen around the theme 'Skibbereen 2018'. Each of these artists has spent some time in Skibbereen through Uillinn's artists' residency programme, where their programme of work was an exploration of some aspect of the town. These artists' diverse views of Skibbereen will offer an insight into the town for locals and visitors alike.
William Bock is an artist based between West Cork and London whose work explores relationships between memory, identity and belonging. His work is intrinsically process led and takes the form of photography, performance, object making, participatory events and site-specific installations. With a background in performance and theatre making, William’s visual practice is site/subject responsive and often collaborative. William is founding member of the DIG Collective, winner of the 2014 ArtQuest Workweek prize and shortlisted for 2016 International Sculpture Competition in Bern, Switzerland (Volkeschule Kleefeld). William has co-produced projects in London and internationally commissioned by Art Safiental Switzerland, PEER Gallery London (Real Estates 2015), Home Live Art, The Barbican and the University of Guadalajara, Mexico. William studied MA Fine Art at City and Guilds School of Art, London.
"The ReWilders are photographic portraits created using wild plants and materials found in specific natural environments along the West Cork Coastline. These portraits celebrate the untamed and uncertain borders between human and nature, merging plant and organic form with human features to create new mask like faces. These strange and uncanny faces speak of 'rewilding' our relationship with the so called 'wild atlantic way', bringing the coastal environment symbolically back into the heart of Skibbereen. Inspired by the 16th century painter Arcimbaldo's famous portraits using plants and vegetables, these photographs bring to the fore, a performative and durational engagement with nature and ecology".
Lauren Gault graduated from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design Dundee, and she now lives and works in Glasgow and Belfast, working in installation, writing and performance. Lauren has exhibited nationally and internationally with solo exhibitions including: Present c0mpany, Centre of Contemporary Art Derry Londonderry (2018); lipstick-NASA, Jupiter Artland, (2015); fugue states (with Allison Gibbs), Centre for Contemporary Art, Glasgow (2015); I AM IN/ Losing you, Modern Edinburgh Film School, GSS, Glasgow (2015); Plosive blows, Hotel Maria Kapel, Netherlands (2015). www.laurengault.co.uk
Michael Holly holds a MA in Visual Arts Practices from IADT, Dún Laoghaire, and works with various media including photography, video, installation and drawing in parafictional investigations into local and national identities. He has participated in several exhibitions and residencies throughout Ireland and abroad including Uillinn: West Cork Arts Centre; Siamsa Tíre, Co. Kerry; Roscommon Arts Centre; The LAB; Dublin City Council Arts Office' 36 Chambers, Toronto; and Y Galerii, Tartu. Michael has received financial support and awards for his work from institutions such as The Arts Council or Ireland, Dublin City Council, Cork County Council, Siamsa Tíre, The Arts Council, Ireland and The Department of Foreign Affairs. www.mickholly.net
The future of the human species is an ever-expanding field, with the borders of the possible and the ethical being repeatedly redrawn and increasingly re-imagined. The Xenophon Project explores the liminal territory between the known and the unknown, the rational and the irrational, the real and the imagined. Irish artist Siobhan McGibbon and writer Maeve O’Lynn began their collaboration in 2015; a collaboration which arose from McGibbon's period as Artist in Residence on the Chimera Art and Science Programme at CÚRAM (Centre for Research in Medical Devices) at NUI Galway and at the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI). Together they employ a multi-disciplinary approach, combining poetic narrative, contemporary arts practice, animation and technology to explore the interstices between art and science. The duo have taken their inspiration for Ballyclerke, the latest iteration of The Xenophon Project, from McGibbon’s residence at West Cork Art Centre in Skibbereen this year. Exploring the idea of water as post-human living space, they have developed the idea through video, performance and this billboard that the current flood relief works taking place in the town may, in another time, be engineered to create rather than prevent flooding. They have named this aquatic region Ballyclerke, in tribute to one of the town’s most venerated citizens, the astronomer Agnes Mary Clerke, in their quest to bring ideas from out of this world…under the Ilen.
Tomas Penc’s artwork draws from psychology and symbolism used in advertising industry, visual art references, and popular culture signifiers and the ways that they determine meaning and frame of perception in the current world. It is concerned with the unresolved relationship we have with the present day technology as the “new reality” through which this perceived world is operated, both in abstract and material terms. The approach to the work is open-ended and idea driven, the resulting artwork is usually project based and often site-specific. The long-term aim of the research is to include the audience in the so called “participation mystique”, incorporating kinetic sculpture elements, sound, interactive installation and 3D animation/projection. www.searchagonygrows.org/studio.html