A Desert in the Ocean curated by Catherine Howe
August 19, 2011
Opening reception: June 30, 2011, 6-8pm
A Desert in the Ocean - The View from Cill Rialaig, is an exhibition of works resulting from a convergence of Irish and American artists and writers in retreat on the remote coast of Co Kerry, Ireland.
Participating artists: Katrina Balling, Gemma Billington, Vincent Desiderio, Nicole Etienne, Micah Ganske, Caroline Hinkley, Catherine Howe, Sue Hubbard, Ronnie Hughes, John Jacobsmeyer, Trevor Joyce, Nancy Lorenz, Helen O’Leary, Colette Robbins, Judith Schaechter, Barry Schwabsky, and Carol Szymanski
The site of the pre-famine village ruins of Cill Rialaig offers fertile terrain for trans-disciplinary discussion: an extraordinary geography of a land's end-encompassing desolation, exile, and longing. A group of today’s city-bred artists and writers seem to have little in common with St. Brendan the Navigator and his intrepid monks, fifth century pilgrims born in County Kerry, who cast off their tiny boat into the unknown waters in search of "a desert in the ocean,” a paradise cloistered from all worldly distractions and trivialities. However, to retreat into solitude, to make work and live a life in devotion to art, the ascetic impulse within the studio or writing room is still essential.
The best artist retreats try to provide this environment. They are a haven where we can sweep away distractions and just create. We leave our striving competitive selves behind to step outside of our daily lives for a short time. Cill Rialaig is one of those places. Perched on high cliffs at the very edge of Europe over a limitless expanse of ocean, it offers clarity - the view out and the view in; the expanding framework to do something really worthwhile. This exhibition is the culmination of that contemplation.