Marie Farrington | Artist in Residence
[Slides] Spill, slump sequence (x) / Landslip, strata sequence (y), 2023. Olivine dust, bio-resin, slumped glass, cast and acid-etched glass, anthracite, cast ink, bio-resin, stained thread, carborundum grit, carved wax attached with body heat, specimen display cabinet. Photography Kasia Kaminska. In: Glossaries for Forwardness, solo exhibition, Museum Building, Trinity College Dublin.
Artist in Residence
The research-based practice of Irish artist Marie Farrington meets the landscape and memory at a point of convergence. The artist responds to the place through material exploration, using methods of mapping and display, layering and folding the landscape into the visual formats within the exhibition space and her atelier. The practice becomes a geology site creating a concept and a method for making where the tectonics of the specific materials, buildings, and their history are intuitively examined and where the landscape is welcome to participate in its own representation.
“Landscape: Landscape implies framing, incorporating the act of looking into the idea of land. It proposes itself as a participatory act.” (A Glossary for Forwardness, Marie Farrington, 2023)
As a geology site
We met with Marie at the beginning of her two-phase residency at SEA Foundation, in June 2023 while her multi-platform project Glossaries for Forwardness was presented in the Museum Building in Trinity College Dublin, where the Geology Department is located. The exhibition focused on the interpretation of the landscape via geological sampling methods. It examined links between the representation of the environment and the display of layered stones, sounds, and installations; and via a program of talks, workshops, screenings and listening sessions made site-specific for the existing building and area.
In her practice, Farrington often starts with responding to the specific place through a set of elaborate processes which merge the scientific approach in co-creation. As her practice departed from the sculpture-oriented field suited to the white galleries, this concrete exhibition made an impact on understanding her artistic practice as a geology site where accumulation, removal, and extraction of materials reveal the active nature of non-human matter.
Point of charge
Looking at the careful documentation of the artworks presented on Farrington’s website, the artworks feel like grains of memory spread around the space never obviously present but evolving through the site. In her latest exhibition, the floor plan encouraged a viewer to actively look, establishing the space for the display to be encountered by an untrained set of eyes. Viewers were wandering through the exhibition space as they would walk and wander in the landscape. This interaction brought another layer to the set of historical encounters of the geology site.
Faults + Folds (as Farrington refers to another exhibition in Oonagh Young Gallery, Dublin) become gentle hints that the world is made of materials and their emerging correlations with each other and us – humans. Although this can be imagined and, in fact, is interpreted, via an overwhelming collection of processes and objects, Farrington approaches any site with a minimalistic eye, allowing the materials to find their point of charge. Broken and failed objects too have their place in the exhibitions questioning the hierarchy of value which is often attached to the exhibition display.
Surface as an archive
Marie Farrington is attracted to the surface quality of the sculpture. The sculptural work is composed of flat layers oscillating between the objecthood and the image. An example of such can be the volcanic olivine dust mounted in a thin layer of bio-resin. This process is a reference to the above-mentioned geology sampling methods which allowed geologists to mount the piece of rock in resin and photograph it. In the Geology Department, the archive of the objects goes hand in hand with the record of images, documenting the history of the landscape in two opposite ways of representation.
In her book Dust (2002), Carolyn Steedman writes about modern understanding of history relating to the philosophy of dust which covers up the surfaces and circulates the air, thus being a physical reminder of history which has never left. Production of knowledge about history and the landscape, as well as this ambiguity between sculptural and photographic, further provoked Farrington’s interest in the sculptural surface. According to her, it is a collision of history and the future – the carrier of the deep time which transforms the material into an archive.
“Surface: The end point of light and the starting point of shadow. The imagehood of a thing. An archive of material interference. A site of intense contact between the history and future of an object.” (A Glossary for Forwardenss, Marie Farrington, 2023)
Bio Marie Farrington
Marie Farrington was born in County Kildare, Ireland (1990). She lives and works in Dublin. By using materials that allude to architecture, geology and histories of display, her work evokes how matter is coded and transformed over time. Materials such as wax, dust, milk, oil, ink, plaster, glass, steel, muslin, and anthracite converge within her installations, evoking a spectral presence through provisional elements that respond to light or bodily heat; changing shape, soaking, stinking, merging, and becoming unfixed. She frames the resulting works as ‘relics in reverse.’
Recent projects include Glossaries for Forwardness, a solo exhibition at the Museum Building, Trinity College Dublin, curated by Rachel Botha (2023) and Hammerheads, a group exhibition at Solstice Arts Centre, Navan, curated by Brenda McParland (2023). She is a 2023-25 Research Associate at CCA Derry-Londonderry. Upcoming projects include a Percent for Art Commission at Ardgillan Community College, Balbriggan (2023), and a solo exhibition titled Relics in Reverse at PuntWG, Amsterdam (2024). Her work is held in public collections including the Arts Council, the OPW Irish State Art Collection and Trinity Centre for the Environment.