Maeve McElligott, Urban Notes

Maeve McEligott studied at Crawford College of Art & Design, Cork and at in Chelsea College of Art & Design, London. She is based in Artspace Studios, Galway, and has exhibited in Ireland since 2000 in shows including Iontas 2000 & 2003, and Crawford Open, 2003. This is the artist’s first solo show. It features photography, installation and audio, reflecting the artists concerns:

My work revolves around social and political concerns.
While using mediums, such as drawing, photography, installation, and sound, the ideas and inspiration comes from social dialogue. The work revolves around public interaction either in the creation of the art works or the use of them. My role is as a facilitator, documenter and participant in the work, not as sole creator or owner. Since 2002 I have worked in photography series and installations that stem from political and cultural discourse.

Since 2002, I have been photographing graffiti, in London and Ireland. The photographs are large close up images of graffiti that often hint at location and site. Mostly political in concerns, the visual effect is often similar to abstract painting due to the tone and pattern of the images captured. Personal sentiments scrawled on toilet doors, and political beliefs etched on street posters, show how graffiti releases reactions, feelings of boredom, confusion, helplessness and hostility in modern society. I look for what is generally manifested only in fleeting attitudes, private fears
and cryptic gestures, finding visual indicators of what is usually kept private and out of sight. The questions that graffiti poses as opposed to the answers it provides are intriguing. Who does this? What social situation are they from? Is graffiti an anarchist action, or a common day street language? What is its relevance to a modern society? Is it a visual creation, altering the city landscape, or a tool of destruction? As an ongoing record I see the documentation of these images beneficial to social and cultural history and study.

I have also been photographing a car park shed for the last 6 months. The shed has been a car park attendant’s office for 8 years in Galway city in a school car park, run by local students every Saturday. With an interior that is covered in graffiti, the shed is a testament of time and boredom. As a found object the value of the shed is not in it’s artistic creation, but in standing as an artefact of boyhood activity. I have secured the loan of it for exhibition and use.

‘A GUN IN YOUR MOUTH’ is a looped 2.45 minute sound piece recorded on mini-disc in an underground station in London. Featuring an American/Anglo couple arguing after antiwar demonstrations in 2002, the piece was recorded unknown to those involved, using a handheld mike.
The piece demonstrates communication, and cultural differences. The recorded conversation resembles the graffiti images in that it is short, cryptic, and raises concerns about nationality, identity and communication.

Exhibition previewed 8pm Saturday 10 October 2005
Exhibition ran until October 1

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