Fieldwork in the Bedrock of Spaces presents a body of work produced over the course of eighteen months at the artist’s studio in rural Tipperary. The exhibition’s title insinuates the processes through which these paintings emerged, their exploration of the means by which personal and collective experience is embedded in material and pattern. As we can read the history of a people in the features of a landscape—the scores across its surface, the patterns into which the land is cut, its strata—so we can understand these paintings as embodiments of memory, history and place.
Through the application of discrete but intersecting layers Geoghegan is able to collapse onto a single surface a whole history of painterly methodologies, each of which confers a different means of encoding our experience. Her elegant orchestration of these contrasting approaches suggests that a comprehensive account of the world must acknowledge and incorporate different perspectives, must attempt to reconcile competing systems.
The experience of looking at these paintings is comparable to the archaeological method suggested by the exhibition’s title. As they were built up in layers, so they must be excavated. It’s a process of recovery: the eye might recognise a pattern, form or shape in the work but take time to properly delineate it, to silt it out from the materials under which it is buried. These are paintings created through gradual, incremental processes, and they reward a long, hard, searching look.
Sheenagh Geoghegan is currently based in rural Tipperary, she completed her MFA at The Slade School in 2013 where she was awarded the Stanford Scholarship, The Orpen Award, and The Charles Heath Hayward Award , in 2012 she was chosen to represent The Slade to work at dOCUMENTA 13 on the activated projects during the hundred days of the festival. She has exhibited widely including London and New York where she recently showed at The Leila Heller Gallery.