Siobhan McDonald

Crystalline – When Plants Remember

1 November, 2018 to 9 January, 2019 in the Dartington Space Gallery

Crystalline, When plants remember – At The Edge of Visibility, is a work which premiered at the Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris (CCI Paris) in March 2017 and was selected by the United Nations to promote The COP-23 Paris Climate Agreement. The work builds on the central theme running through McDonald’s work about what is still unknown to science, exploring the origins of life and plants as a way to see clearly into the future. The exhibition commemorates the legacy of acclaimed Irish Captain Crozier, a major figure in the exploration of the Arctic regions.  During the middle of the 19th century he navigated the North West Passage and this project seeks to unearth his outstanding set of historical plant archives – which have never been on public view – representing a time on the planet before the accepted date of climate change. Last year Siobhan discovered a set of 190-year-old seeds that came from his 1825 Arctic Expedition buried in the Antiquities Department of the National Botanic Gardens, Dublin. In working with scientists at Kew Gardens, Siobhan is attempting to germinate the seeds to bring back plants from a time just before climate change began in the Arctic.

Siobhan is interested in the changeable nature of landmass, historical events and their interconnection to time.  During her residence in the School of Natural Sciences at Trinity College Dublin (2017-2019) she worked with organisations such as The European Space Agency (ESA), The JRC European Commission and The European Research Council to explore ecology in light of current ecological concerns.  She pursues knowledge to ask questions about the structure and history of the earth –– her art practice calls on notions of what is still unknown to science, exploring the Anthropocene and the recent consequences of our treatment of nature.  Her projects employ an interdisciplinary approach that manifests in many forms including painting, drawing, film and sound.

Recent solo shows include Limerick City Gallery, 2019; The Dutchese Museum, Dresden; The National Trust-Fox Talbot Museum, UK, 2018; Disappearing Worlds, Taylor Galleries 2018; Crystalline, Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris, 2017; A Change in the Signal, Highlanes, Ireland, 2017.  McDonald is represented in many collections, both public and private, in Ireland and America such as Allied Irish Banks, Bank of Ireland, The Ulster Museum and University College Dublin. Her projects are supported by the Institute of Physics, Culture Ireland, The Arts Council and The European Research Council.

Siobhan holds a Masters in Visual Arts Practices from IADT.  Siobhan is an Artist in Residence in the School of Natural Sciences at Trinity College Dublin. In 2018 she received the Trinity Creative Challenge Award from TCD.  In 2017 she received a Bursary from The Arts Council of Ireland and is a recipient of a Creative Ireland Award supported by Culture Ireland as a part of GB18:  Promoting Irish Arts in Britain.

Artist Talk via Skype:  There will be an opportunity to hear Siobhan speak about her work and experiences at the First Friday on 2nd November, in the gallery.  For more information about the gallery, hours and directions, go here.

Main image:   still from At the Edge of Visibility4 minute film © Siobhan McDonald, 2015 (shot in the Arctic Circle). Edited by Christopher Ash. Sound composition by Irene Buckley containing sounds collected in the Arctic, sounds of dying glaciers recorded by Professor Chris Bean and sounds recorded in space.

About Crystalline

This exhibition has been supported by Culture Ireland as a part of GB18:  Promoting Irish Arts in Britain.