Beneath | Beofhód is a long term photographic series observing the raised bogs of the Irish midlands and the culture around them. Beofhód; an Irish word translating as ‘life beneath the sod’, allows modern excavations on bogs to be re-imagined as an archaeology of history and legacy, adding a vital layer of symbolism and metaphor to the project.
Although the visual enquiry into the topography and architecture of bogs is an important element within the series, it is also used as a vehicle for metaphorical exploration of society and self. Photography operating as a tool of expression, drawing on an emotional and intuitive connection with the landscape and terrain, is a central concern within the work. A significant subtext throughout the project is a meditation on the inherent dualities within our relationship with nature and our wider environment including; man and nature, tradition and modernity, light and dark, and space and place.
Following decades of intensive turf cutting and peat harvesting, Ireland’s modern bog landscapes have changed dramatically. Although these activities have bought substantial economic benefits and formed a strong sense of cultural identity in the Irish midlands, they have also led to considerable depletion. Legitimate environmental concerns have resulted in measures to counteract climate change resulting in the recent transition of Ireland’s working relationship with bogs towards conservation. This adds an important timely element to this series, as change and the end of an era is recorded, adding an additional layer of history and meaning to the work.
This project was made over the last four years and this is the first time it will be shown as a solo exhibition.
About the artist:
Shane Hynan is a lens based visual artist interested in rural Ireland, bogs and the built environment. His photographic practice is project based with a research and anthropological approach engaging social and environmental issues.
The metaphorical exploration of place, space and land underpins his visual enquiry and acts as a significant subtext throughout his work.
Shane studied at Belfast School of Art (Ulster University), completing an MFA in Photography in 2019. He’s the recipient of the 2020 ‘Emerging Visual Artist Bursary Award’ kindly supported by Kildare County Council and Riverbank Arts Centre. His work has been shown at a number of group exhibitions, including the RHA annual 2020 and 2021.
Beneath | Beofhód exhibition is supported by Kildare County Council Arts Service and Riverbank Arts Centre’s ‘Emerging Visual Artist Bursary Award’, which Shane Hynan was awarded in 2020. His practice is also co-funded by the Arts Council.
There will be an exhibition opening of Beneath | Beofhód on Friday, 12th November at 6pm with artist Shane Hynan and guest speaker, Martin De Porres Wright (sculptor and painter) and Lucina Russell (County Arts Officer, Kildare County Council).
25/11 Beneath | Beofhód – panel discussion (free, booking required)