I believe that painting is pigment being dispersed on a flat surface, representing an image. My animations and photographs are also pigments being dispersed digitally on a flat surface and shown on a screen. I believe a screen and a canvas have close similarities as they are both flat and both project an image. I have pushed past the idea that painting must be a canvas on a wall. It can be much more than that. It can be an installation, pieces on the floor, found objects, video or photography; the list is endless.
The Good Shepherd Laundry on the grounds of the current Limerick School of Art and Design was built in 1848 and continued to operate as such until 1990. Despite this building being a Magdalene laundry for more than a century there is no commemoration on the grounds or in the building itself. This laundry fulfilled many other roles including that of an industrial school, a reformatory school for girls, an orphanage, a convent and a church.
I have used 26 decorative yet ignored grates around the base of the building as sites to breathe life into the hidden history of the building’s former purpose. My video investigations, using a fibreoptic cable, mirrors and 35mm film stop motion animation, explore these sites by delving deep inside and then watching the world outside. The grates are personified into living beings through the audio of breathing which highlight their function as the lungs of the building. Sounds of the laundry echo throughout these videos, capturing the hardship these women and girls had to endure as they ‘scrubbed away their sins’.
These investigative pieces are placed in natural spaces within existing architecture. The viewer must peer through the grate replicas to experience the visuals. These installations are placed so a passer-by might stumble upon them as I did with the grates themselves. They draw the viewer in, by whispering the truth that they have witnessed.