Weekly blog


Hi everyone. My solo exhibition at Blackwater Valley Makers in Fermoy opens tomorrow and runs for the month of December. It is called ‘We are one’ and concentrates on our relationship and interconnection with the natural world from which we spring and to which we inevitably return. I am posting my artists statement here and a few of the images and will upload the remaining images over the week. Please let me know your thoughts re the work. Thank you.

Where the air is clear

Artist’s statement

We are one

The first drawing of the exhibition is of my mother’s elderly hand outstretched to cradle a falling autumnal leaf – which signifies for me the deep relationship and interconnection between human beings and the natural world and the many non – human beings that inhabit it.

In the majority of the drawings I use the ‘blind’ approach which means that when I draw I consciously do not look at my actual drawing action; instead I concentrate my gaze on the subject matter. I like the element of surprise when I look down eventually at my paper/canvas as there is a risk involved in blind drawing  which could result in a drawing that either  does not meet  my expectations or far surpasses  them. In my drawings I aim to catch a feeling for the elements and creatures/plants I am portraying rather than to capture them realistically.  I find blind drawing an ideal drawing method for attempting to capture a sense of the essence, presence or energy of my subject. This approach to drawing helps me gain a deeper connection to what I am trying to portray and in so doing produce a drawing which feels to me to be in some way true to that which I am trying to depict.   I often use homemade charcoal and garden sticks for drawing and like the different blacks and marks they can give. I have used some homemade natural inks that I have made from beetroot, elderberries and blackberries in some of the drawings and the colours can be subtle and exciting at the same time. I use various types of paper including paper found or left for recycling in my work. I enjoyed printmaking in Art College and have added some print layers to some of my drawings.  I like to work outdoors as often as I can, weather permitting. 

I am using natural sounds including birdsong, the occasional cat, a car in the distance and the rustling of leaves and the sound of the river, which I gathered on my walks to engage another of the senses while you are looking at my interpretation of my world.

 I have also included a mummified starling which I found on one of my walks as I occasionally come across dead birds and small mammals and use them as subjects for my drawings.

I am highlighting the beauty and wonder of the world but I am also drawing the pain in my portrayal of the stream of sludgy water full of plastic items and bale wrapping. This particular drawing is paired with a drawing of a pristine section of the same river.  I have lived in rural north Cork for twenty years and enjoy walking and seeing its natural beauty. I have observed and learnt a lot from these walks and have come to know and love the area. Over the past few years I have noticed an increased degradation of streams, rivers and land in my area. I see with dismay hedgerows being butchered unnecessarily and edges of fields bordering woodlands sprayed turning grass yellow and I feel sorrow and anger at such actions.

I hope that my drawings, accompanied by the natural sounds of a walk in the countryside, help the viewer to look more carefully at the natural world that surrounds us and deepen our desire to nurture and protect it.

My drawings are at present unframed but if you wish to buy one I can arrange for the drawing to be framed.

If you would like further information about me and my work please see my website http://www.gilliancussenart.com

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