The MTU Arts Office STEAM Exhibition Award is presented annually to one or more graduating students from MTU Crawford College of Art & Design who’s work uses or responds to “STEM” concepts, processes, or materials in insightful and innovative ways.
The 2021 recipients are Sarah Kelly, Fionn van der Noll and Mary Whitty.
Cellular Exchange is the MTU Arts Office 2021 STEAM Award Exhibition. The title, selected by the artists, was inspired by the commonalities in their work. As a scientific term, it refers to the process in which waste products and toxins within muscles are exchanged for healthy nutrients and oxygen. They felt that this definition acted as a strong link between their practices and concerns.
FIONN VAN DER NOLL
My practice is concerned with research on the value of traditional ideals within the studio. I incorporate sustentation of nature, notions of new technology, art within science, and their increasing importance within artistic research. This is reflected through the use of contrasting materials and technologies.
An important aspect of the process is a focus on sanctuary for declining ecosystems and a possible utopian future.This current work is based within a sculptural and printed language. The installed work is constructed using industrial metalwork and traditional basket weaving techniques, these forms are inspired by bird nests and ancient crannoìg structures. The prints are made using digital painting with screen print elements; the motifs of which are inspired by conservation data of endangered Irish birds.
My work is an exploration of roots and mycelium, the relationship between the two and how it can be presented visually by using various materials. The work takes a closer look at these structures, revealing this interconnected landscape that is otherwise left unseen. I aim to focus on the role of mycelium, a thread-like underground root network of fungi which is vital to the survival of our natural environment. Copper wire is used to create sculptures mimicking root and mycelial network growth. I also forage various natural materials whilst walking in the forest to make inks with for prints. Copper is another material used for ink making. I hope to develop an understanding of our connection with nature, and this fungi kingdom through sculpture, imaginative drawings, and visual stories. By working with nature, we can create and develop new outlooks on life, improving our emotional and mental perspectives.
Video produced by Sarah Kelly
My work is a combination of sculpture and performance. It deals with the visceral; not only in its visual echoes of the internal organs and soft structures of the body, but in the raw emotion and instinctive nature of its construction. I have a deep personal connection to the work, large-scale pieces which are the product of prolonged periods of focused, repetitive work; stitching, fusing, taking apart and bringing together. In wearing the work I examine its relationship to gravity, space and perception – performance is central to my research. In my display I use mirrors, windows, and recognisable waste items (drinks bottles, fast fashion and packaging), a language which invites the viewer to see themselves reflected. I feel this work is part of a broader conversation around sensation, emotion, representation and (in)visibility which is current and necessary.
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