KARI CAHILL

I am a site-responsive artist living between Cork, Dublin and various rural locations around Ireland. I have worked in a range of creative fields as an painter, sculptor, photographer, curator, event producer and creative director - a combination that has resulted in a diverse practice. I grew up surrounded by the landscapes of Athens, Greece and West Cork.

I am the founder and co-Director of Lay of the Land which runs in tandem to my personal visual arts practice.

 
 
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ARTIST STATEMENT

I am drawn to the idea that we are from the land, and that through our experience of it we begin to embody its essence. My work aims to close the gap between physical and emotional experiences of place. The lines between my painting work, my 3d work and through my work as co-director of Lay of the Land are blurred. I consider myself as an artist investigating notions of “Landscape” through a variety of disciplines. Each of these disciplines allows me a distinct perspective as I journey through the presence of place.

My painting practice requires that I spend time in situ - exploring the site by actively engaging in observing and responding to it. I see these journeys as an integral part of all of my creative practice and lead me to explore a scatter of locations throughout the country. From the sandy shores of Owenahincha and Barleycove to the majestic marine lake of Lough Hyne, my work has looked at how the Atlantic crashes against the coast at Brow Head heading north to the Cliffs of Moher up to Glassilaun Beach in Connemara. More recently I visited The Antrim Coast, trekking to the Giant’s Causeway and all along the Northern Coast down through the Gencollumcille Pass to An Port Donegal.

The landscapes of rural Ireland are second to none in their monumental vastness. These journeys have led me to enquiries about the people whose lives circumnavigate around the locations, they bring me into the histories which have wrapped themselves around the locations, embedding the topography into the psyche of those who call them home. The paintings that came from these explorations have been exhibited at SILVA, Lough Hyne, The Doswell Gallery, Rosscarbery, VUE Art Fair at the RHA, and were the grounding of work for a two man show titled “Coalesce” which took place in Studio 10, Dublin.

My paintings do not focus on a specific site, but rather the experience of a place. They capture a moment marked by a gesture. This direct and intuitive process of energetic mark making allows me to better understand the both the physical vistas of the natural environment as well as the essence of these environments. Through my mark making I have built up a visual vocabulary. This dynamic and expressive visual vocabulary serves as a opening through which my audience can peer through. The deep, luscious colours seen throughout my work further the evocation of the landscape, allowing the viewer to join me on a journey through an experience. By pulling and dragging colour and texture across the canvas with the same energy felt from the crashing rain, or by manipulating the visceral medium of paint to create a balance of motion, each piece gestures to the presence of a fleeting moment.

Lay of the Land exists currently as an arts organisation curating and creating residencies and exhibitions in locations throughout Ireland. The project is grounded in themes of environment and collaboration. My role in Lay of the Land can be identified as part-artist, part curator, part facilitator, part director; a unique combination which requires a huge amount of dedication. LOTL projects see investigation of a site within certain constraints; working in a specific landscape for a specific amount of time with the goal of creating a number of temporary outdoor installations. My experience as a participating artist for these projects has allowed me to add a further dimension to my personal artistic practice. The most recent iteration, SILVA, marked an important shift in my work, as the gap between my sculptural work and painting work narrowed with the creation of a series of large painted canvases strung between trees mirroring the growth of the forest.

 
 
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BIOGRAPHY

Kari has exhibited her paintings extensively throughout Ireland, and more recently in both São Paulo & Florianopolis, Brazil. She is represented by SO Fine Art in Dublin and was a featured artist at VUE Art Fair 2018 at the Royal Hibernian Academy. In June 2018 she exhibited alongside Rebecca Curling in their show “Coalesce” at Studio 10, Dublin. Currently she is collaborating with Composer Peter Power at the National Sculpture Factory and their project “In Clouds” is in it’s developmental phase and will progress through 2020. After spending time in residency at an artist collective in Brazil she is working towards a solo show in 2020, as well as developing a photographic exhibition and photography book.

She is one half of ‘Lay of the Land’ (LOTL) – a site responsive arts organisation. LOTL projects’ create greater accessibility to the arts in rural communities while allowing the visual arts to stand alone as a valuable and necessary cultural activity and experience. This is achieved through exhibitions, residencies and short-term projects in an ever-growing number of locations throughout Ireland. At its core, LOTL challenges artists and audiences, by both making art more accessible and integrated into the lives, communities and landscapes of rural Ireland, and by driving artists to create informed artworks of a quality and depth demanded by the magnitude of their surrounding landscapes. LOTL have produced 3 large scale projects to date and They have taken the form of a month-long residency followed by a large scale outdoor public exhibition at changing locations through West Cork. TOMBOLO 16, 17 and SILVA have facilitated the development of 14 artists. The artists developed and produced a series of site-responsive artworks which directly responded to their experience of the landscapes they were immersed in. A documentary following SILVA premiered at The Guesthouse, Cork as part of an event showcasing the work of emerging female artists. Kari has successfully established LOTL as a unique endeavour worthy of the Arts Council’s Arts Grant Award for their programme of projects in 2019.

While she was studying Fine Art at the National College of Art and Design, she set up ‘Basic Space’ - a not-for-profit artist-led contemporary art space, and was Director of the space from 2011-2014. Basic Space existed in a 10,000 sq Foot Warehouse in the heart of Dublin 8, before moving to Marrowbone Lane as part of the Art’s Council of Ireland’s Vacant Spaces Initiative. She set up residency programs and curated exhibitions and projects within this context; facilitating the work of both Irish and International artists practising a range of disciplines. Basic Space produced work for the closing ceremony of EV+A International as part of Gracelands 2012, as well as taking up residency at IMMA and TBG+S. Basic Space featured in The New York Times, The Guardian, as well as +Billion- Art Journal during Kari’s time as Director. The project continues to run, under different directorship to this day.

 
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