Lockdown Postcards / February 2021

As mental health, communication and love #grá is key to every human being’s well being especially during the Covid pandemic I felt that sending a postcard was our way, as artists to express that. #grá/love for our fellow people will always overcome💚

Anna Marie Savage, Initiator of the Project

With the weeks of the third and so far longest Lockdown dragging on, we decided to intersperse our Zoom catch-ups and Zoom Making Sessions with a project that got us back to creating and sharing physical artworks amongst us, albeit long-distance. 28 AAEX members were each assigned another artist for whom to uniquely design one (or more) of the free postcards issued by An Post to every household, using or responding to words from the poem Still by FELISPEAKS, which strikingly reflects on the experience of lockdown. The project afforded periods of reflection and contemplation as well as the joys of both creating something precious for someone else and receiving such a precious item in the post as a keepsake and reminder of these times.

Many thanks to the author for giving us permission to use her words. A rendition of the poem by the herself can be seen here. More information about her and her work can be found on her website https://www.felispeaks.com

Artist Postcards

Aileen Durkan to Caoimhe O’Dwyer
Anna Marie Savage to Geraldine Martin
Bernhard Gaul to Aileen Durkan
Bláthnaid McClean to Anna Marie Savage
Catherine McCourt to Tara Carroll
Caoimhe McCarthy to Sinead McCourt
Caoimhe O’Dwyer to Caroline Duffy
Caroline Duffy to Ciara Agnew
Ciara Agnew to Claire McAteer
Claire McAteer to James McLoughlin (damaged in transport, mended using Kintsugi)
Geraldine Martin to Meilynn Cheung
Heather Cassidy to Petra Berntsson
Isabel Lapuyade to Julie Corcoran
Isabel Lapuyade to Niamh O’Connor
James McLoughlin to Niamh O’Connor
Jenny Slater to Catherine McCourt
Julie Corcoran to Bláthnaid McLean
Meilynn Cheung to Susan Farrelly
Michael Stafford to Isabel Lapuyade
Niamh Hannaford to Úna Curley
Niamh O’Connor to Rachel O’Hanrahan
Petra Berntsson to Caoimhe McCarthy
Rachel O’Hanrahan to Jenny Slater
Santa Drozdova to Tracy Fry
Sinead McCourt to Niamh Hannaford
Susan Farrelly to Santa Drozdova
Tara Carroll to Bernhard Gaul
Tracy Fry to Michael Stafford
Úna Curley to Heather Cassidy

AAEX Zoom Making

Skip to AAEX Zoom Making 2AAEX Zoom Making 3

Can we use zoom as a shared space for making, together apart? The Zoom screen presents us with a grid. The grid is present in many art movements, both as a tool to observe, categorize and compose images. Now zoom is another platform, another stage on which to perform.

Susan Farrelly: Proposal to AAEX – Zoom as Creative Platform

Following a proposal by AAEX member Susan Farrelly, we have decided to re-purpose Zoom for collaborative creative practice and develop a set of Zoom sessions that allow us to work together (or at least alongside each other) for a set time and record this in Gallery view, producing grid view recordings as collaborative artworks in their own right.

The first such session took place on Wednesday, 18th October 2020. 16 AAEX artists took part in the session, in which cameras were turned away from the participants onto a work or performance space of their choice. Instead of participant’s names, snippets of poems and other text were displayed.

List of participants and short statements about their contributions (left to right in the grid view):

Bernhard GaulAAEX spelled in flag alphabet
Jenny SlaterMy piece was a tableau of objects that I found during lockdown, on walks around my local area and in my garden. It was also about the opportunity the lockdown gave me to re-find or reconnect with a deeper sense of self through working with nature.
Ciara AgnewI am working on wood and a stretched linen canvas, I’m working with oil paints, charcoal, pencils and palette knives. I have no predetermined idea what the finished piece should look like, I’m playing with materials and colours.
Catherine McCourtI was thinking about how this lockdown is all about the promise of Christmas spent with loved ones. For my zoom video I started to make Christmas tree decorations to gift to my family which I hope to give to them in person after these restrictions are lifted.
Jean MarshallMala Meditation Necklace – 
“For every knot I make, I untie a knot within myself!”
Geraldine MartinI painted words in black on an old yellow brick – A time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing , because of Lockdown. This brick was at the farm. The lines were from Ecclesiastes. I was really experimenting with what I could do with old bricks.
Aileen DurkanI used a symbol of the labyrinth as a means of self-exploration and reflection, a way to find stillness in the storm. 
Michael StaffordOut of necessity, my work was made in my house and not in my studio where there is no Internet coverage, so I decided to use my laptop to be creative on. With no preconceived ideas on what to do, I scrolled through my folder called collected images and found a photo of a magpie. I use the bird as a symbol often in my work, superstition, fear hope, I leave it to the viewer. So in Illustrator I quickly made the paths and layers to make an illustration of the magpie. I then set about making a back ground then followed it by more spontaneous images to build a small narrative maybe slightly ambiguous and open to interpretation. It looks fresh because I felt unrestricted by the fact that it wasn’t preconceived……
Sinead McCourtMedium :wet felt ,beads and threads 
This is a wet felted piece taken from a painting I did of a bouquet of flowers from a friends funeral I was compelled to capture, as there was so much joy in the flower’s colours at  time of such sadness. It’s something I keep coming back to and have been working on it for 2 years on and off I reminds me of my friend and brings me joy simultaneously 
Heather CassidyA hanging form depicting how we are contained, closed in, restricted and how nature is our cocoon. 
Bamboo. Mixed Media
Susan FarrellyI chose to work on a surface that was a collaborative artwork created (with Bernhard) in 2016 that contains the marks made by many contributors. On it I placed two handsewn soft sculptures used in Craobh Rua (Muirhevnamore), the fabric was co-created at the opening night of ‘Installations’ and digitally printed. In my practice I am interested in the layers of memories that can be created by making. Some materials disrupt. Mirrors reflect and gel filters alter the screen colour, analogue (painterly) interventions on the digital canvas of Zoom. The blue gel (successfully at 16mins in) reflected portions of the computer screen where everyone else’s making was visible. I’ve tried to create a multi-perspective, entangled portrait of places and makers, past and present. Built by the hands of AAEX. 
James McLoughlinMy piece was titled ‘life through the bell jar’ and was about how we live now in our confines and our projected/online lives are where we interact and live another life.  It was also about getting a second life out of a piece of work and bringing it to life with light and shadow play. 
Una CurleyI worked on a ‘Perfectly disordered contemporary sampler showing the alphabet for artists’ 
Caoimhe O’DwyerShadow and Light part II – Watercolour
The impermanence of the Japanese Maple through the window and how it casts and retracts shadows always fascinates me. As autumn turns to winter the Maple is at its brightest and most vibrant with the leaves seeming to hang by the barest threads until eventually an overnight wind yields bare branches one morning. To paint this I set a light above the table which allowed me to look obliquely and indirectly at the shadows and to line out their shapes.
Santa DrozdovaMy  evening project was to create a “2-meter-distancing” broomstick for sweets and Halloween face mask
Niamh HannafordI took my inspiration from an excerpt of text by James Joyce. “Pull out his eyes. Apologise”. 

Humans are hard-wired for collaboration and new technologies of communication are currently being seen as a super-amplifier of this collaborative mindset. Digital innovations and representation continue to reshape and reform our society, economy, culture and lifestyle. In this current working within the restrictions of a pandemic we have been forced to interact, to copy, to mimic, to repurpose as well as revalidate our own reality through the screen. We have learnt to navigate, update and continually adjust from both within and beyond an action, to enact, to construe and to reflect back our innermost social and political anxieties.

Susan Farrelly: Proposal to AAEX – Zoom as Creative Platform

For the second session on 11th November 2020 we chose to impose a colour scheme (blue and/or red) and let performance artist Niamh Hannaford play with peoples text/name tags and choreographing order of appearance by removing and re-admitting participants to re-arrange the screen layout. We also increased the work duration to 40 minutes. Participants enjoyed the aspect of just working alongside each other as absorbing and calming, but felt interrupted after 20 minutes.

Participant’s statements:

Bernhard GaulAAEX spelled in flag alphabet
Jenny SlaterMy piece was a tableau of objects that I found during lockdown, on walks around my local area and in my garden. It was also about the opportunity the lockdown gave me to re-find or reconnect with a deeper sense of self through working with nature.
Ciara AgnewI am working on wood and a stretched linen canvas, I’m working with oil paints, charcoal, pencils and palette knives. I have no predetermined idea what the finished piece should look like, I’m playing with materials and colours.
Catherine McCourtI was thinking about how this lockdown is all about the promise of Christmas spent with loved ones. For my zoom video I started to make Christmas tree decorations to gift to my family which I hope to give to them in person after these restrictions are lifted.
Jean MarshallMala Meditation Necklace – 
“For every knot I make, I untie a knot within myself!”
Geraldine MartinI painted words in black on an old yellow brick – A time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing , because of Lockdown. This brick was at the farm. The lines were from Ecclesiastes. I was really experimenting with what I could do with old bricks.
Aileen DurkanI used a symbol of the labyrinth as a means of self-exploration and reflection, a way to find stillness in the storm. 
Michael StaffordOut of necessity, my work was made in my house and not in my studio where there is no Internet coverage, so I decided to use my laptop to be creative on. With no preconceived ideas on what to do, I scrolled through my folder called collected images and found a photo of a magpie. I use the bird as a symbol often in my work, superstition, fear hope, I leave it to the viewer. So in Illustrator I quickly made the paths and layers to make an illustration of the magpie. I then set about making a back ground then followed it by more spontaneous images to build a small narrative maybe slightly ambiguous and open to interpretation. It looks fresh because I felt unrestricted by the fact that it wasn’t preconceived……
Sinead McCourtMedium :wet felt ,beads and threads 
This is a wet felted piece taken from a painting I did of a bouquet of flowers from a friends funeral I was compelled to capture, as there was so much joy in the flower’s colours at  time of such sadness. It’s something I keep coming back to and have been working on it for 2 years on and off I reminds me of my friend and brings me joy simultaneously 
Heather CassidyA hanging form depicting how we are contained, closed in, restricted and how nature is our cocoon. 
Bamboo. Mixed Media
Susan FarrellyI chose to work on a surface that was a collaborative artwork created (with Bernhard) in 2016 that contains the marks made by many contributors. On it I placed two handsewn soft sculptures used in Craobh Rua (Muirhevnamore), the fabric was co-created at the opening night of ‘Installations’ and digitally printed. In my practice I am interested in the layers of memories that can be created by making. Some materials disrupt. Mirrors reflect and gel filters alter the screen colour, analogue (painterly) interventions on the digital canvas of Zoom. The blue gel (successfully at 16mins in) reflected portions of the computer screen where everyone else’s making was visible. I’ve tried to create a multi-perspective, entangled portrait of places and makers, past and present. Built by the hands of AAEX. 
James McLoughlinMy piece was titled ‘life through the bell jar’ and was about how we live now in our confines and our projected/online lives are where we interact and live another life.  It was also about getting a second life out of a piece of work and bringing it to life with light and shadow play. 
Una CurleyI worked on a ‘Perfectly disordered contemporary sampler showing the alphabet for artists’ 
Caoimhe O’DwyerShadow and Light part II – Watercolour
The impermanence of the Japanese Maple through the window and how it casts and retracts shadows always fascinates me. As autumn turns to winter the Maple is at its brightest and most vibrant with the leaves seeming to hang by the barest threads until eventually an overnight wind yields bare branches one morning. To paint this I set a light above the table which allowed me to look obliquely and indirectly at the shadows and to line out their shapes.
Santa DrozdovaMy  evening project was to create a “2-meter-distancing” broomstick for sweets and Halloween face mask
Niamh HannafordI took my inspiration from an excerpt of text by James Joyce. “Pull out his eyes. Apologise”. 

AAEX invite you to make with them on zoom. It will be a relaxed, non judgmental space. It will give attention to our making (not talking). We can consider the roles we play as observer and observed. A temporary microculture, us all producing sample like petri dishes, presented as a grid. A virtual sampling of how we (AAEX) make. Our multiple views and value systems portrayed.

Why? It’s a way of visually exploring how we communicate as a group, our relationship with how we make, our AAEX peers and the virtual world we inhabit temporarily – a testing ground for dialogue. A chance to perform and participate in a pool of common meaning, capable of constant development and change.

Susan Farrelly: Proposal to AAEX – Zoom as Creative Platform

Our 3rd Zoom making Session went international. In a collaboration with Creative Spark (Dundalk, Ireland) and Anda Cowork (Granada, Spain), AAEX members were asked to correspond to Haikus, photos and videos related to a project by Spanish artist Manuel Navarrete López, in which he raises chickens to distribute eggs to people in need. Some Haiku snippets were inserted into the recording.

P2P EXCHANGE PROGRAM: The Creative FLIP P2P exchange program is aimed at engaging leading, established, and innovative creative hubs with peers from emerging creative hubs across Europe, as well as with relevant educational institutions. The idea of the exchanges is to seek new formats of cross-sectorial cooperation between creative hubs and the educational sector, initiate projects of co-creation or collaborative plans, as well as to share knowledge and expertise across Europe through public and/or community events. https://creativeflip.creativehubs.net

List of participants, chosen Haiku and short statements about their contributions (left to right in the grid view):

Ciara AgnewThe fowl headed hen
Getting ready to peck
Her way to the top
Grainne MurphyKikiriki
Or
Scairt an choiligh
/ cock-a-doodle-doo

I made drawings in response to the Spanish, Irish and English version of cock-a-doodle-doo
Susan FarrellyI introduce the eggs of my hybrid hens that are laying: Joan Jett (Big Brown shelled egg), Coco Chanel (Medium size cream brown shelled egg) and Charlotte (small china blue shelled egg). Presented on a red pillow, edible treasure. I collected the shells from the eggs, feathers from the wing clipping and the cock feathers (from the lost cocks that had to be returned). I used plaster to make the hen-made materials into totems and relics in thanks and remembrance. There are 3 haikus that I have taken inspiration from. Coloured ears and punk is a translated line from one.
Heather CassidyLine from poem – And so scary

The blood sucking mite that terrorises the chicken.. 
Bernhard GaulCostume 
What day is it today? 
I look at the moon


Animated GIF and images for postcards made by altering one of Manuel’s photos
Claire McAteerI run, I fly
I do everything I want
I peck at everything I see


I used pre-gathered black, white & red materials & yarns to freely play in response to the haiku. Moving fabrics became a loose collage of a hen pecking. This was repeated. Finally 3 hens were drawn with fast, free marking making using ink, twigs, fabric & brushes.
Una CurleyMy first was a quick drawing, a humerous response to which came first the chicken or the egg.
In response to:
Fuimos lo que nos coméis
Fue antes el agua
Y antes la nada


My second is collage of images of Spent Hen and Síle-na-gig with text and Haiku
Spent Hen, eggs all laid
Body lean, legs long and splayed
Síle-na-gig like?

In response to:
Se me pone la piel de gallina: I get chicken skin (Goosebumps)
Aunque ya la tenía : Although I already had it
Gallinescu

The ‘Spent Hen’ (a hen which has finished Laying) which has very little flesh on the breast and longer legs compared to a chicken bred for eating. I thought it looked like our sile-na-gigs (grotesque stone carvings from the middle ages showing figures of naked women displaying an exaggerated vulva) www.irelands-sheelanagigs.org. Sounds like She-lay-no-gug (‘Gug’ was our childs pet name for an egg)
Catherine McCourtSo curious 
And so myedica 
My intrigue


I printed off Manuel’s Haikus, and glued them to a canvas sheet  to create texture and then used one of his photos as a reference for a charcoal, chalk and pencil drawing. While I was drawing I tried to emulate the scratching actions of chickens as they explore their surroundings. I may manipulate them digitally.
Isabel LapuyadeFuimos lo que nos coméis
Fue antes el agua
Y antes la nada

I used a cyanotype coated paper, to paint over with water. I then placed a golden paper shaped like an egg and exposed the cyanotype to my luminotherapy lamp for 20 minutes. Once done, I cleaned the cyanotype using a paint brush and water, to slowly bring out the design. By using cyanotype, and accessible source of light and water, I brought the golden egg to life.
Niamh HannafordMala puntería
Me pica el dedo,
No coge la comida


I chose to represent the haiku which describes the hens feeding and lack of coordination. The hen missed the mark. I too often feel I miss the mark, and so this poem spoke to me. During our zoom making session, I cut lino ready for printing and made some clay eggs, which I plan to fill with the words of the haiku. 
Caoimhe O’DwyerHaiku by my son Lochlann in response to my water colour:

At the crack of dawn,
The old cockerel crows loudly,
Waking all from sleep

AAEX Flamingo

A Flamingo Has Landed in Dundalk

AAEX were kindly invited to provide a contribution to the closing event of the Seek Festival 2020, planned for the 8th of August at the Spirit Store.

In the spirit of connecting to the town’s history, AAEX members decided to create an installation of an oversized flamingo sculpture with mechanical wings to commemorate the flamingo, which in 1985 took residency at Dundalk Bay and drew large crowds, even prompting a photo competition in the Argus. The AAEX Flamingo was originally meant to be installed at the small island opposite the Spirit Store, the habitat of the original one. However, as that event had to be cancelled due to the postponement of Phase 4 of the easing of Covid 19 restrictions, it was installed on the roof of the Dundalk Tourist Information on Market Square instead and became part of the attractions in town, intended to attract visitors like its original predecessor.

It managed to put a smile on many people’s faces as a lighthearted edition to all the other fantastic artworks that went up during the Seek Festival!

We enjoyed producing the flamingo as an opportunity to collaborative work coming out of lockdown and before more stringent COVID restrictions were re-introduced.

Impressions

Production and Installation

Cardboard Prototypes

Some photos of the original flamingo and background info

Main photo: Isabel Lapuyade

Photos of the original flamingo courtesy of Charley Mc Carthy and Joe Quigley from the Dundalk Northend and Friends Facebook group.

#GraspTheArts – Show Your Hand

AAEX is delighted to support https://www.graspthearts.com, a campaign of solidarity with the Irish Cultural Sector during the COVID 19 crisis, initiated by AAEX member Niamh O’Connor.

In response to the recent debate about insufficient funding for the arts sector, artists, writers, performers, administrators, invigilators, frame makers etc., in short anybody contributing and being part of the cultural sector is asked to cast their grasp in clay, salt dough, paper pulp or similar, add a label with their name, profession, location and comment and then post a photo on social media with the following hash tags:
#graspthearts #showofhandsIRE #mycontributinghand #cultureworks #weareirishculture

Keep your cast for a physical display yet to be developed, once it is safe again to do so.

For full details and instructions, including salt dough and paper pulp recipes visit https://www.graspthearts.com

AAEX Installations (Dundalk)

Two Weeks of Art Installations in Dundalk

15 – 29 November – 41-42 Clanbrassil Street

Long Walk Shopping Centre – The Demesne – County Museum – Train Station  / Park Street

AAEX_Installations_Map

AAEX (Art as Exchange) is a dedicated group of over 30 local artists, who over the last 3 years have provided a variety of local arts initiatives.

From 15th -29th November 2019 AAEX will be showing visual art installations in a central exhibition space at 41-42 Clanbrassil Street and selected locations in Dundalk.

20 AAEX artists have created a wide variety of art works including video installations, sculptures, tree wrappings, projections, hangings in public spaces and performative interactions.

Exhibiting artists: Anna Marie Savage, Bernhard Gaul, Caoimhe O’Dwyer, Caroline Duffy, Ciara Agnew, Geraldine Martin, Grainne Murphy, Heather Cassidy, James McLoughlin, Jebun Nahar, Jenny Slater, John Moloney, Michael Stafford, Niamh Gillespie, Niamh O’Connor, Omin, Petra Berntsson, Samantha Brown, Susan Farrelly, Úna Curley.

Curatorial Support: Anne Mager / the corridor

Open daily 12 – 5 pm (except Sunday 17th November)

Opening reception:

Friday 15th November 7 pm. All welcome.

Other events:

WHERE IS THE ART IN DUNDALK? – 23rd November 5 pm
Panel discussion  hosted by the corridor

What are the working conditions for artists and creatives in County Louth and why are there not more opportunities and experimental spaces for visual artists in Dundalk to present their work? Which ways of collaborations and partnerships can lead to a vital and versatile arts scene? Together with artists and business owners from Dundalk, we want to discuss the infrastructure, needs and challenges for artists in the region.

Participants:
Tom Muckian, Roe River Books
Paraic Mc Quaid, visual artist and lecturer
Úna Curley, visual artist and AAEX member
Moderation: Anne Mager & Marcel Krueger, thecorridor.ie

Followed by:

Brochure Presentation // Meet the Artists – 23rd November 6 pm

The exhibition is supported by Dundalk BIDS, Creative Spark, the Dundalk Credit Union, the Local Enterprise Office Louth and Ronan Halpin. AAEX would like to thank the various locations for letting them put up artworks.

Exhibition Video

Video

Exhibition BrochureDownload as PDF

Floor Plan / MapDownload as PDF

floor plan_map

Supported by

Creative_Spark_Logo         BIDS    DCU_master logoLEO_master_LS_Pos Ronan Halpin

AAEX – Installations on the Beach

On Saturday, 22nd June 2019, AAEX members, joined by families and friends, met up at Dunany Beach to avail of the free outdoor exhibition space and make some temporary landscape installations from found materials or items they brought with them (everything brought to the beach was taken away again!)

Participating AAEX members: Heather Cassidy, Caroline Duffy, Bernhard Gaul, Niamh Gillespie, Marie Kelly, Caoimhe McCarthy, Jebun Nahar, Michael Staffordand Drogheda based artist John Moloney.

 

Live Motion Drawing

On 18th December 2018 AAEX Member Orlaith Culinane organised a live notion drawing session with local dancer Fiona Keenan O’Brian for us as a rare Pre-Xmas treat for the group.

We spent the afternoon at the Long Walk Community Rooms, with Fiona performing for two solid and very intensive dance/drawing sessions. Some photos and resulting art works below.

Fiona is a member of Qintessence Theatre Company
Music: Mikronesia – Landscapes 3: Iceland

First Fortnight 2019 – Inside Out Again

First Fortnight is a charity that challenges mental health prejudice through arts and cultural action. It aims to make the first fortnight of each year synonymous with mental health awareness, challenging prejudice and ending stigma.

On 17th January 2019, Creative Spark, in association with Inspire Wellbeing, hosted their third annual First Fortnight event, Inside Out – Again, challenging mental health prejudice through arts and cultural action. The free event provided an opportunity to bring the artist inside out, inviting everyone to bring their art and creativity out of the home or studio and into the community.

Among the 30 or so contributions by poets, singers, performers, a nutritionist and various others were again several provided by AAEX members:

  • Sew Happy: a perpetual participatory stitching project (Úna Curley)
  • Flower painting with textile designer Caroline Duffy
  • Participatory mono printing workshop (Bernhard Gaul)
  • Nonsensical Board Game – a game that challenges you to come up with the rules (Susan Farrelly)
  • Voice performance (Ali Warner)
  • Meet the artist presentation: Photography and Cyanotype (Samantha Brown)
  • Meet the artist presentation: Art Therapy (Jenny Slater)