New Sketches for an Artificial Forest exhibition at Roscommon Arts Centre

Sketches for an Artificial Forest by artist Catriona Gallagher will open at the Roscommon Arts Centre tomorrow evening (Friday, November 10).

Sketches for an Artificial Forest by artist Catriona Gallagher will open at the Roscommon Arts Centre tomorrow evening (Friday, November 10).

Sketches for an Artificial Forest by artist Catriona Gallagher will open at the Roscommon Arts Centre tomorrow evening (Friday, November 10 ).

The exhibition brings together Catriona’s ongoing research into the forms and histories of forestry plantations that have become a dominant element of Irish and UK landscapes over the past century. She explores how human design and management of intensive forestry have taken a fundamental feature of landscape and culture, as well as an apex ecological system, and made it uncanny, an artificial architecture for the extraction of natural resources.

In film scenes, photographs, models and drawings we are reminded that a forestry plantation is not a forest. In her exhibition at Roscommon Arts Centre, Catriona stages this research within a ‘gesture’ of a forestry plantation, where lengths of Sitka spruce timber, locally grown and milled, are suspended through the space in a 1.5m x 1.5m planting grid, each unit an approximation of the tree it was sawn from.

The exhibition also includes an ongoing film project entitled ‘Forest AI’ which is a made up of a series of walking interviews filmed with local residents, foresters, ecologists and conservationists in Northumberland (UK ), County Roscommon and County Leitrim. This film tracks the artist’s navigation through the complexity of forestry, where planting trees seems good on the surface but faces demands for change.

Hints of narrative about an AI system taking over forest management after a global collapse play out in the film. Sketches for an Artificial Forest holds several worlds in parallel – not only the worlds of pro- & anti-forestry, and private & public ownership, but also the real world of the documentary, and the imagined world of speculative fiction.

Catriona Gallagher is a visual artist and filmmaker based in Athens, Greece. Her work probes the collision of manmade and natural worlds, navigating overlooked details in our physical surroundings and their mirroring psychological landscapes. Her practice integrates moving image, drawing, writing, research processes and site-specific responsiveness. She has recently made projects based on forestry plantations in Northumberland and the West of Ireland, plant metamorphs in Rome, and urban weeds in Athens.

These reveal a mapping of more-than-human relations, in place over time. In 2022 Catriona was artist in residence as part of the Wings Programme at Roscommon Arts Centre. A large part of her research for the film work Forest A1 was carried out during her residency there. In 2016 Catriona co-founded A–DASH project space and studios in Athens. She gained an MFA from the Ruskin School of Art in 2018 and a BA in Sculpture from the University of Edinburgh in 2013.

Her work has been screened and exhibited in the UK, USA, Russia, Ireland, Italy, Greece and France, and supported by Arts Council England, Creative Ireland and the Bridget Riley Foundation. Sketches for an Artificial Forest opens at 6pm on Friday 10th November with a drinks reception at Roscommon Arts Centre. All are welcome to attend.

The exhibition runs until December 22.

 

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