Making Marks – an Irish artist in lockdown

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In these chaotic times of daily upheaval and global bombardment of fear and uncertainty, it has been both challenging and deeply humbling to make art.

As with many other areas of our existence we can take for granted basic ways of being until they are without our reach, temporarily or indeed for good.

I have known for some time now that my work has had and will have a place to assist, reach and resonate with many, breaking barriers to make an emotional connection.

To find myself unable to access this purpose due to this pandemic, brought me to a place of vulnerability and questioning.

In times of fear, current and older experiences dovetail to amplify blocks, barriers and defences aimed at protecting our most fragile selves.

When eventually, some weeks into this lockdown, I came to make some tentative marks again, it was with a poignant self-awareness and deeper appreciation of the unlimited freedom this creativity holds.

I became motivated to understand and honestly share what it is that moves me, to break down what happens in the process.

How do I come to make art, make marks?

It is something of a drive, an energy source of its own timing which stirs.

I may have an image in mind, quite often a dream in which the painting is imagined from the dream state and waking from which I paint [at times in the small hours].

I may have been commissioned to a subject and once the emotional connection is made the marks come.

More often than not I am moved to the art space and open myself to a process which I can only describe as spacetime where I am absorbed by and subsumed into an automatic creative expression.

A preparatory wash on the surface may be resin, acrylic or oil very much depending on what is to hand. I like the effect reached of using charcoal to make marks.

The tactile connection is deeply felt. My earlier collection of pastels allowed this without any judgement as to “technique”.

On occasion the first wash will complete the work. This I now trust. Neither is it scientific or timebound, I just know.

Other works I return to several times.

The key is to make the energetic and emotional connection, which for me, allows an authentic translation to the surface.

Consciously turning up to the Artspace allowed a new body of work to evolve in an exhilarating way.

The emergent collection of work [predominantly made during this lockdown] has as a commonality, honed awareness and sensitivity to the subject matter ,as well as a complete honouring of the vulnerability in the making.

33 pieces are now ready. In these unusual times of “virtual” communication, they will form an online exhibition which I am delighted to say will be launched August 3rd.

It’s a collection which speaks to breaking through fear, uncertainty and challenge to the reminder that making art is universally available to us and cannot in fact be censored.

Marks will always make themselves known.

Geralyn Mulqueen July 2020