Alba Cortés & Ciara Rodgers
3-19 January 2023
Mon-Fri 11am - 4pm
Opening Reception: Thursday 12 January
MTU Gallery at 46 Grand Parade is delighted to open our 2023 programme with OBSERVATORIO INTERIOR, an exhibition by Alba Cortés and Ciara Rodgers.
This exhibition is supported by MTU CCAD, MTU Arts Office and Culture moves Europe / European Union Funding implemented by the GOETHE Institute
OBSERVATORIO INTERIOR has taken a few years to come together after being proposed in 2019. While Alba Cortés spent some time in a residency at the MTU Crawford College of Art & Design as ppart of her PhD research in painting at the University in Seville.
An ongoing visual conversation between these two artists connecting through subject matter, materials, tone, and texture, has developed into a quietly captivating exhibition of paintings, drawings, photography and installation.
Please see below a text conversation between the artists about their work, that gives a little insight into their processes and influences.
Artists in conversation
Exhibition Text: Inner Observatories
AC: Never before had I felt so close to the landscape in its purest form than when I first looked out over the cliffs of Ireland, the wind froze my face, there were no boundaries between me and pure nature. The solitary landscape, threatening at times and picturesque at others, gave me a new level of understanding of landscape and painting. Each one of us assimilates these experiences in a different way, and in my case, I apply my impressions to painting. On a conceptual level, I believe that Ciara's work and mine have important points of connection in the way we look at the landscape, although each pays attention to different elements within it. I see that Ciara refers to nostalgia, to what is commonly ignored in the modern era, to the configuring of maps through psychogeography and adding a sensitive dimension to elements built by man, integrated into the landscape due to their disuse.
CR: In Alba’s case, She also creates emotional maps, defining the landscape as a subjective experience. She is looking at natural spaces that have not yet been modified -to a great extent- by human interference . Alba adopts the contemplative gaze of romanticism from the 18th and 19th centuries, where the sublime landscape was capable of generating ideas of beauty whilst also managing to instill fear in the individual who attempted to confront it. Meanwhile, I am casting a sometimes sentimental, sometimes romantic gaze over the “beautiful ugly” of the 20th and 21st centuries - brutalist architecture, discarded objects, graffiti and domestic wastelands.
In short, the two of us are talking about almost the same thing, although from different perspectives. We are women who work as artists in a time of great change and technological revolution, where the scenery around us changes quickly, is perceived from screens or without paying attention to the vistas we are building. In OBSERVATORIO INTERIOR, the natural and the artificial, the ancient and the modern, coexist in a kind of hybridization of multiple times, cultures and life stages. We are aiming to expand the individual and collective imaginary that make up the idea of landscape.
Alba Cortes and Ciara Rodgers, December 2022
Alba Cortés (Cáceres, Spain, 1991) is a visual artist living and working in Seville, Spain. She has an International PhD in Fine Arts from the University of Seville (2021) and a Masters’ Degree in Art: Idea and Production (2016). Previously, she also studied a BA Fine Art at University of Seville (2014).
She has spent time as an Artist in Residence at the MTU Crawford College of Art and Design (Cork, Ireland) and Faculty of Fine Arts University of Lisboa (Portugal). Cortés has won several international painting awards, and her work is in private & public collections such as the Paul Ricard Art Club, Ateneo Mercantil de Valencia, Alcalá Museum or Loyola University, among others. Recent exhibitions include ETC, ETC, Nueva Pintura Andaluza, group exhibition, Yusto/Giner Gallery (Madrid, 2022), and Rosewood, Imaginario de Lejanía, solo exhibition, EsArte Gallery (Marbella, 2022).
Alba includes drawing and photography in her work, but her main medium is painting. Her creative process includes obtaining images from walks and physical and virtual drifts, related to the natural scenery. Investigating the complexity of our concept of landscape in contemporary times, she approaches the pictorial translation of experience in the environment, valuing the stimuli that condition our perception. Through the questioning of ancestral concepts such as the sublime, journeys or the imaginary, she is interested in expressing a physical approach to landscapes in a technological age.
Ciara Rodgers (Cork, Ireland, 1982) is a visual artist based in Cork City, Ireland, a member of Backwater Artists Group with a BA and an MA in Art from MTU Crawford college of Art and Design. She received a Visual Art Bursary from the Arts Council of Ireland in 2020 and an Agility Award in 2021.
Working in a variety of media including drawing, photography, performance and installation, Ciara often takes site specifical space as her starting point. She deals with themes such as memory, nostalgia, ruins, failure, restrictions, and freedoms with narratives borrowed from philosophical theory or fictional worlds often underpinning her research. Elevating defunct, forgotten or ignored spaces, structures and objects to a higher level of appreciation, fieldwork and walking the city are an integral part of her practice.
Notable recent exhibitions include; a city of beautiful nonsense, (solo), Studio 12, Backwater Artists Group, Cork, 13/10/22 – 25/11/22, Drawing Connections (a response to The Crawford Art Gallery Drawing Collection), The Lord Mayors Pavilion, Cork, 6/10/22 – 3/11/22, C L O S E R, Lavit Gallery Cork, curated by Janice Hough (IMMA) 05/05/22- 28/05/22.
Ciara currently lectures on the BA (hons) Visual Art at SETU Waterford and in Life Drawing at MTU Crawford College of Art and design.
Alba and Ciara shared a studio space during artists residencies at MTU Crawford College of Art and Design in the summer of 2019.
MTU Arts Office | MTU Crawford College of Art & Design | European Union implemented by the Goethe-Institute