THE TOWN Hall Theatre bar was the location for the recent launch of the opening of artist and animator Ciara Nolan’s debut solo show, Féar (grass ), comprising prints of images from Nolan's short animated film of the same name.
Féar is an exploration into a sense of place, told through a journey of a figure through three environments - grass, rocks, and sky. There are several underlying themes to the show such as the fusion and tension between person and place, the cyclical nature of life, and the changing and fragile body.
“It follows this character through three environments,” Nolan tells me as she describes the film from which the exhibition is derived. “She is half girl, half grass; all of her limbs and head are made of grass. It starts off in a grassland environment which is actually based on the bog in Connemara so she is of that land and belongs there. It is all to do with sense of place. Everyone wants to belong somewhere but then there is also the drudgery of place so you don’t actually want to be stuck there at the same time.”
“The land itself starts to come alive, it is like a fight between her and the grass, trying not to be stuck there and then she breaks away from the grass and it goes into this new environment which is quite dark and it is made of rocks so it is quite different to what she is,” Nolan continues. “Blades of grass start to come out of her and go into the rocks and as this happens the rocks start to form on her body and they end up weighing her down and she has to break herself away from them.
"It is all to do with going to a new place, trying to become part of that place at the same time but then sometimes that doesn’t really work. The last place she goes into is like a beach. There the wind picks up and she gets kind of ripped away. All of the grass starts to come away from her and she is trying to grab at it but then she lets go and lets the wind take her. It is all about acceptance and giving in to your fears.”
The imagery throughout the show is striking, as is the way Nolan sometimes blends drawing and photography in the one composition. I ask her how she first became interested in animation and whether she will continue to present her work in exhibitions as well as film. “It started with doing a sequence of drawings," she says. "When you see the moves, just the magic of it, your drawings come to life. Once I started doing it I just couldn’t stop. I definitely have the fine art side to me and the themes that I deal with all come from fine art so I’ll probably continue to exhibit.
Féar continues at the Town Hall bar for the next couple of weeks and is well worth a visit. Nolan intends to put the film online in July. Excerpts from Féar can be found at http://cargocollective.com/CiaraNolanVisualArtist/About-me.