A municipal art collection is a body that is in the process of becoming and so, is not easily defined. The works chosen from the collection for the Finding Form’ exhibition echo this feeling of flux, of taking form, the momentary becoming monumental through time, context and medium. This panel will discuss what it means for artists to be part of a municipal collection and what the responsibilities a local authority has regarding purchasing art, display and interpretation of works.
The panel will be chaired by Cristín Leach, Writer, Broadcaster, Art Critic and includes artists whose work features in the collection, Seán Cotter, Emma Stroude and Sarah Browne alongside Arts Officer for Kildare County Council, Lucina Russell.
Cristín Leach is an Irish writer, art critic, and broadcaster whose critically acclaimed memoir Negative Space was published by Merrion Press in 2022. Her art criticism has appeared in The Sunday Times since 2003. She is a regular contributor to RTÉ TV and radio and also writes for Irish Arts Review and RTE.ie Culture. She presented the four-part radio documentary series Ireland Portrayed for RTÉ Lyric FM in 2020 and co-presented the New York Radio Festivals award-winning short series Through the Canvas for RTÉ Lyric FM in 2018. Her short fiction and personal essays have been published in Winter Papers and broadcast on RTÉ Radio 1 as part of Keywords. Her second book, From Ten till Dusk – A Portrait of the Royal Hibernian Academy in Twelve Stories, will be published by the RHA in 2023 to coincide with the Academy’s 200th anniversary.
Painting for me is a purely personal language and as such requires a great deal of the viewer. To have to learn a new language, or at the very least a new dialect, each time they see a different painter can be an obstacle to reading a painting. It is a purely personal and sometimes introspective way of approaching the world and trying to make some sense of what life is about, how best to see it and where we are in it.
My current practise continues my enquiry into climate change where our natural world is both disrupted and a disruptor and since 2020 I have banished toxic solvents from my studio, difficult enough when I relied so heavily on the flow of turpentine across my canvases.
Originally from England, Emma Stroude completed her studies in London at Chelsea College of Art and Design and The Slade School of Art. She moved to Ireland in 1996 and studied in NCAD before settling in Sligo where she plays an active role in the arts community.
Primarily a painter, Emma’s current practice is underpinned by a dedication to life-drawing which has a strong influence on her work. Emma was the winner of the Irish Arts Review & Ireland US Council award for portraiture at the RHA 2021 and the recipient of the inaugural In Plain Sight commission from King’s Inns and The Bar of Ireland 2022. Most recently she was invited by the OPW to create portraits of the first four female senators elected to The Seanad for The Houses of the Oireachtas. She has had 3 solo exhibitions. Her work is housed in public and private collections including OPW, Sligo County Council and Kildare County Council. Website: www.emmastroude.com
Sarah Browne is an artist concerned with spoken and unspoken, bodily experiences of knowledge, labour and justice. Her practice involves sculpture, film, performance and public projects, and frequent interdisciplinary collaboration.
Browne’s recent solo projects include Echo’s Bones (2022: collaborative filmmaking project with autistic young people, responding to works by Samuel Beckett, commissioned by Fingal County Council); and Public feeling (2019: public art commission in South Dublin leisure centres). Solo exhibitions include Report to an Academy, Marabouparken, Stockholm (2017), Hand to Mouth at CCA Derry~Londonderry & Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane, and The Invisible Limb, basis, Frankfurt (both 2014). In 2020 she curated TULCA Festival of Visual Arts, Galway, with a project titled The Law is a White Dog.
Significant group exhibitions Browne has participated in include Bergen Assembly: Actually, the Dead are Not Dead (2019) and the Liverpool Biennial, with Jesse Jones (2016). She is associate artist with University College Dublin College of Social Sciences and Law.
Lucina Russell was appointed as Arts Officer for Kildare County Council in 2000 and is also the Creative Ireland coordinator for the county. With overall responsibility for arts policy and programme in Kildare, she has established arts and cultural programmes across artform and practice. In 2029, she led the successful bid, with KWETB for Kildare Music Generation and in 2021, a bid to the Arts Council for a 3 year ground-up project, Creative Places Athy.
Instrumental in the establishment of a ground-breaking Arts, Health and Wellbeing programme for Kildare, she was a founder member of artsandhealth.ie. Lucina currently represents the Association of Local Authority Arts Officers on the advisory group for artsineducation.ie.
Committed to working with strategic partners, she has developed long-standing relationships with Maynooth University Departments of English, Music and Geography, connecting artists, academics and communities. Lucina is a member of the Kildare Readers Festival committee and sits on the board of Riverbank Arts Centre, Newbridge. She was appointed to the board of Arts and Disability Ireland in August 2022. As Arts Officer, Lucina is custodian of Kildare’s Municipal Art Collection.
Sarah Browne, Carpet for the Irish Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, wool and linen carpet, leftover stock from Donegal Carpets Factory, 300cm x 300cm x 2.5cm. Installation view at Istituto Santa Maria della Pieta, Venice (Irish Pavilion). Photo: Ros Kavanagh
Currently part of the Kildare County Council Municipal Art Collection, hanging in Maynooth University.