Building Material 2009

Image 1: Plans for Moylurg Tower C. 1972   Image 2: Moylurg Tower, Lough Key  Image 3: Reimagined Plans  Image 4: Plans for Moylurg Tower C. 1972

 

 

Below is a research text that was published in “Building Material – The Architects of Ireland Association Journal” issue 19.

Reimagining the Hierarchy of Monuments

On the 1st of February 1966, Fehily and Associates were instructed by what was then Bord Fáilte Éireann to prepare plans for the development of a forest park at Lough Key, Co. Roscommon on a site owned by the Department of Lands. The proposed plans included the design of a viewing tower. The architect, Jim Fehily, imagined this tower being integrated into its natural surroundings; its immersion into nature a pre-requisite of its aesthetic. Resisting the urge to create a pastiche or refer to classical architectural forms, the architect looked to Brutalism – a genre usually associated with the post war social utopia of 1950’s urbanism – as opposed to the bucolic and the romantic landscape.

These plans were never fully realised. Budget restrictions prevented the tower from being completed to the architect’s specifications. This documentation represents an artist’s attempts at re-imagining an architect’s vision, an endeavor to communicate his intentions. Made works question the relationship between the built and natural environment; our perception of and interaction with sites of apparent natural beauty is considered and how we catalogue the functions and roles of the places we encounter is a primary concern of this research.

By altering the preconceptions of a site, we may also be able to change its function or divert its historical categorisation by questioning the selection of sites we consider worthy of historicisation or preservation. The fascinating thing about these almost functionless buildings or projects – or perhaps in this case the absence of the realisation of the architect’s full intention – is that they might be considered non-places, blank canvases onto which other people can project their own ideals and utopias.

The Lough Key Forest Park was originally landscaped early in the nineteenth century. Western culture was experiencing a seismic change in attitude towards the landscape as landscape design became employed as a means of perfecting nature through remodeling the great estate parks to resemble a neat and tidy version of nature. As one historian, Richard Bisgrove, has commented:

‘By judicious manipulation of its components, adding a tree here or a concealed head of water there, [landscape architects] attended to the formal potential of ground, water, trees and so gave to landscape its ideal forms… less sophisticated spectators did not see nature perfected… they saw simply what they took to be nature.’ (1)

The Moylurg Tower stands on the historically significant site of Rockingham House, home to the King Family who commissioned the original landscaping. In the 1950’s the State and a group of local activists acquired the park and landscape architect, Jim Fehily, was contracted to restore the grounds and develop facilities in the park similar to the Wilderness Parks of the United States. Lough Key was one of the first of this model of landscaping in Ireland, as too was the Moylurg Tower unique using the Brutalist form in a rural context.

In the text, Of Other Places, Michel Foucault (2) contests the traditional notion of linear time, asserting that concepts of time have been understood in several ways, under varying historical circumstances. He argues that our relationships to and how we negotiate with spaces are constantly being remapped and rearticulated. He defines three core social spaces as the real, the utopian and the heterotopian. Of the heterotopian, he notes that it is

“site with an alternative relation to time, marked by the perpetual and indefinite accumulation of time, constituting a place of all time that is in itself outside the realm of normal chronology; in effect, heterotopia has its own time zone(s), or even none at all. (3)

My work attempts to portray this notion of a space being in its own time zone, one which is marked by the accumulation of time through its social and historical experiences. Could the Moylurg Tower be described as a heterotopia?

Though stylistically the tower may seem obscure in its rural setting, through the video piece From a Great Height the similarities in ideologies between the Romantic landscaping of the nineteenth century and Utopian ideas, which were never fully resolved in the Moylurg Tower, are explored. Mahler’s unfinished Piano Quartet (1876) in the final clip reinforces the sense of ‘what could have been’. Not known for writing piano quartets, Mahler was only sixteen when he began writing it and it was never completed.

By adopting a mirroring of the park against the tower by means of two projections, the dependence of one upon the other, the built upon the natural, is uncovered and the duality of their existence is exposed. Standing taller than the mansion it replaced, the Moylurg Tower now allows the public the opportunity to engage with the surrounding landscape and provides views which now exceed those originally reserved for the landed gentry. This work intends to present the tower as marking a point in time when the local community regained access to the parklands they had previously been denied.

(1) Cite MD. Cite MD (ITP) [Internet], California, ITP Available from http://citemd.com/cms/?q=node/65&query=c/ca/capability_brown.html [Accessed 25 June 2009]
(2) This text, entitled “Des Espace Autres,” and published by the French journal Architecture /Mouvement/ Continuité in October, 1984, was the basis of a lecture given by Michel Foucault in March 1967. Although not reviewed for publication by the author and thus not part of the official corpus of his work, the manuscript was released into the public domain for an exhibition in Berlin shortly before Michel Foucault’s death. This text was accessed online at http://foucault.info/documents/heteroTopia/foucault.heteroTopia.en.html [ Accessed 25 June 2009]
(3) Sophia, Ace. Foucault’s Heterotopia: The “Other” Spaces Between What is Real and Utopian. 13th February, 2008. 20th April 2009. www.socyberty.com

Info

Biography

Linda Shevlin is a visual artist and curator based in Co. Roscommon, Ireland. Her projects look at the complexities of modernity’s effects on land and the socio-cultural landscape of her environment. Her recent work has drawn attention to the role that certain historical/mythological tropes and characteristics have played in popular culture. Using exhibitions, film, and installations she creates situations that explore the borders of fact, fiction and reality.

She has been the recipient of the Arts Council of Ireland’s Visual Arts Curatorial Residency award for three consecutive years from 2013-2016.  In 2014 she produced a series of events and exhibitions in County Roscommon including a newly commissioned work by Sean Lynch; The Workers, a retrospective of the Art@Work project, featuring Michelle Browne, Gareth Kennedy and Elaine Reynolds and The Workers symposium with contributions from Grizedale Arts and others. In 2015 she is developing a series of situations that will challenge the conventions of working in traditional gallery contexts. The regional visual art programme will take a nomadic approach to making and exhibiting that will involve working with non-arts spaces around the County including museums and parks. Ultimately reflecting on the importance of rural visual art spaces as discursive sites for non-instrumental forms of thought and action.

In 2012 she was awarded one of two inaugural residencies under the Spark Project funded through Leitrim Arts Office & Enterprise Board in partnership with the Arts Council of Ireland. The work produced through this residency was exhibited at The LAB, Dublin in 2014. Other recent exhibitions include Crystal Palace, Breezeblock, Sydney (2014); LOCAL, The Dock, Leitrim (2014); Supernature, Galway Arts Centre (2013); Tulca Festival, Galway, curated by Megs Morley (2011); Circadian, Leitrim Sculpture Centre (2010); Social Capital, curated by Claire McAree, The Dock, Co. Leitrim (2009) and Crave, Cross Gallery, Dublin (2008).

Recent screenings of her films include Camper, TRUCK Space, Calgary, Canada (2013); Interchange, CEFA, Philadelphia, USA (2012); Surface Shorts, Surface Gallery, Nottingham, UK (2011) and Falling Awake Patna Museum, India (2010).

In 2009 Linda completed an MA in Visual Arts Practices through IADT and in 2010, was appointed to the Board of Directors of Visual Artists Ireland. In 2015 she will take up the role of Chairperson of the Board.

Curatorial Statement

My curatorial concerns centre around the production and dissemination of work in rural contexts, how artists make and present work and the support mechanisms that enable its production and also it’s migration beyond the environs in which it was created. Favouring projects that can be developed through dialogical and collaborative approaches, my projects explore community identity, focusing on marginalised or under-represented rural communities.

My interest lies in lesser-known aspects of history, their intersection with the present and how conceptual traditions in art can be unpicked through research in archaeology, history and ethnography. By presenting the work of artists who bring into play memory, hearsay, oral and archival history so as to construct new readings of the past, my curatorial projects aims to lay emphasis on the idea that the visual is an assimilatory process continuously at work in the construction of cultural, political, personal, and national identities.

C.V.

Qualifications

2008

Masters in Visual Arts Practice (Honours)

Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design & Technology

1996

Advanced Diploma Fine Art (Honours)

Dublin Institute of Technology, Mountjoy Square, D1

Recent Shows/Screenings

2014

The Crystal Palace

Breezeblock, Sydney

LOCAL

The Dock, Leitrim

Supernature

The LAB, Dublin

2013

Supernature

Screening with TRUCK, Calgary, Canada

Supernature

Galway Arts Centre

Supernature

Higher Bridges Gallery, Enniskillen

Solo Shows

2014

Supernature

The LAB, Dublin

2013

Supernature

Galway Arts Centre

 2010

Circadian

Leitrim Sculpture Centre, Leitrim

(in collaboration with Padraig Cunningham)

Relics & Ruins

The Hammond Gallery, Glengarriff, Co. Cork

2008

Crave            

The Cross Gallery, 59 Francis Street, Dublin 8

2007

The Burning Fields             

The Hammond Gallery, Glengarriff, Co. Cork

2005

Replace             

The Hammond Gallery

2004

Someplace Else            

Hallward Gallery, 65 Merrion Square, Dublin 2

2002

Terra Firma             

Triskel Arts Centre, Tobin St. Cork

2001

Solo x5              

The Model, Sligo

Selected Group Shows

 2011

Tulca / After the Fall

Curated by Megs Morley

Galway Arts Centre

Interchange

Centre for Emerging Artists

Philadelphia, USA

2010

alter / native project at the Boyle Arts Festival

Roscommon

2009

Notions of Capital (curated by Claire McAree)

With Aideen Barry and Carol Anne Connolly

2008

The Cross Gallery at ART08         

The RDS, Dublin

White Noise

Studio six, Temple Bar Galleries & Studios

2007

Convergence              

(Group show of resident artists + Bill Viola,

Hughie O’Donoghue, Caroline Patten & Stephen Kelly)

The Dock, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim

2005

A Moment in Time            

Temple Bar Galleries, Dublin

Stoney Batter Studio New Works          

Custom House Gallery, Westport, Mayo

2004

Full Circle             

Temple Bar Galleries, Temple Bar, Dublin

2003

Ground              

Galway Arts Centre, Dominick St,

Galway & Marketplace Arts Centre, Armagh

50/50

Temple Bar Galleries, Temple Bar, Dublin

2002

R.H.A. Annual Exhibition           

R.H.A. Gallagher Gallery, Ely Place, Dublin

Curatorial Projects

2014

Curator in Residence, Roscommon Arts Centre

Exhibiting artists include: Michelle Browne, Vanessa Donozo Lopez, Gareth Kennedy, Sean Lynch, Alice Lyons, Orla Mc Hardy, Eamon O’Kane, Sean Rafferty and Elaine Reynolds.

2010

Sacred Exhibition and Seminar

Enniskillen

alter / native at The Shambles

Boyle Arts Festival

Roscommon

Minutiae

Suki Chan (UK) and Oisin Byrne (IRL)

Roscommon Arts Centre

Awards & Residencies

2014

Visual Arts Curator in Residence Scheme

Awarded by Arts Council of Ireland

2012

Recipient of Spark Residency at The Organic Centre, Rossinver

Supported by Leitrim Arts Office & Leitrim Enterprise Board

Art@Work Residency

Awarded by Roscommon County Arts Office

2010

Capital Grant*

Arts Council of Ireland

Individual Artists Bursary

Roscommon Arts Office

Small Festivals Bursary (for alter / native 2010)

Roscommon Arts Office

2008

Artist in Residence 2005 – 2008

The Dock Art Centre, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim

Individual Artists Bursary

Roscommon Arts Office

2001

Arts Council of Ireland Artist’s Bursary

Collections

Office of Public Works, AXA Insurance, De Vere White,

Private Collections in Ireland, The U.K., Europe and The U.S.A.

Publications /Texts

2014

Supernature: Converging at the ‘soft edges’ of science, nature and the visual arts

by Joanne Laws

2013

Art @Work 2012

Published by Roscommon County Arts Office

2009

Reimagining the Hierarchy of Monuments

Building Material. Architect Association of Ireland Journal, issue 19

2008

Crave

Published in association with The Cross Gallery, Dublin & Roscommon County Council

 Other

 Appointed to Board of Directors Visual Artists Ireland

The all -Ireland representative body for professional

visual artists in 2010.

*Awarded for application on behalf of the alter / native project

 

 

 

 

Contact

Linda Shevlin
Tivanagh School
Cloonloo
Boyle
Co. Roscommon
Ireland
 
linda@lindashevlin.com
+353 86 605 2571
+353  71 966 4606