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THE CABINET OF WONDERS #2 The Cabinet of Wonders #2 2/10/2016 - 25/01/2017 The Cabinet of Wonders is an ongoing project devised and curated by Ian Wieczorek Presented in association with Linenhall Arts Centre

PREFACE Cabinets of Curiosities, also known as Kunstkabinette or Wunderkammern, were collections of unusual objects which offered insights into the rich and often curious diversity of the natural world and beyond, spanning everything from antiquities and religious relics to natural ‘freaks’, medical curiosities and other uncategorisable items. Inspired by the empirical approach of Classical thinkers such as Aristotle and Pliny the Elder, Cabinets of Curiosities found their beginnings in the time of the Renaissance. Initially seen as both edifying and as markers of status for their collector-curators, they offered a cocktail of learning and entertainment. The Cabinets remained a mostly exclusive preserve of the rich and influential, until in the 19th century the likes of showman PT Barnum’s American Museum introduced a more public and often sensationalist sensibility. While the fashion for Cabinets of Curiosities no longer holds popular currency (with a few notable exceptions), they paved the way for the more formal and rigorous museum model that we are familiar with today. Taking its inspiration from the Cabinet of Curiosities, The Cabinet of Wonders presents a series of objects mined from the creative imagination of a selection of contemporary visual artists. Inspired by the eclectic approach of the original collector-curators, it presents a range of works that will hopefully intrigue and engage the passing viewer.

CURATOR’S NOTE This second incarnation of The Cabinet of Wonders is again the result of an open call-out to artists. The ongoing Cabinet of Wonders project acknowledges the original Cabinets of Curiosities, embodying the subjective eclecticism excercised by collectors as early practitioners of curatorial practice. This second iteration is informed by a narrativedriven subtext, responding to the young audiences attending the Linenhall’s RoolaBoola Children’s Arts Festival. The artists: Saidhbhín Gibson explores the containing of the non-human, and Man’s control of the natural world; Margaret McDonnell engages with environmental issues, our interaction with the animal kindom past and present, and the spectre of extinction; Cecilia Moore investigates wood both as a material and with reference to its former existence as a living thing; Peter Nash wryly explores aspects of the fallibility of the human condition; Jane O’Sullivan offers a series of eloquently poetic and personal meditations, “making new meaning from the everyday and transforming matter to a different space and narrative”; Verona Stellet explores the concept of the oceans and shores “as both anthropogenic and natural environments”. With thanks to the Linenhall Arts Centre for facilitating this project, and to all the artists who submitted proposals for the project. Ian Wieczorek

SaidhbhĂ­n Gibson Pavo glas fragmenta

(glass, peacock feathers, toy soldier)

As little as possible and as much as necessary (holly leaves, lace thread)

Pavo glas fragmenta contains a dome of barbs striped from five train feathers shed by a male peacock. In this pared back form, the bird’s plumage is minimised to basic elements while maintaining a striking visual of its unique sheen. The natural fibres are huddled into a glass jar. The original functional components have become static in a revised nonnatural ornamental condition. The lace stitches in As little as possible and as much as necessary adorn ten partially decayed holly leaves. The intricate organic venation is exposed due to the natural process of decomposition. The parts of the leaves that were torn have been delicately mended using stitches commonly found in needlepoint lace.

Margaret McDonnell This Little Piggy (clay, fabric)

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

(clay, fabric, picture frame);


(clay, twigs, rabbit fur) This work explores the often troubled relationship between the human and natural world. This Little Piggy reflects upon the status of animals in an economic environment geared towards intensive farming methods; Here Today, Gone Tomorrow marks the extinction of the Passenger Pigeon due to hunting and deforestation just over 100 years ago; and Remains acknowledges an interrelationship between Man and animal that can be traced back over millennia.

Cecilia Moore Resuscitate

(beech mallet, bronze) Wood as we use it has the power to support weights, warp, shrink, bend, imagine if it had the energy to re grow. The mallet, a beautiful form in itself begins to sprout.

Peter Nash I Wanted To Say I Love You

(timber, clockwork motor, rubber skull, galvanised wire)

Portrait 2

(clockwork motor, steel wire, pine wood) My current practice is influenced by a pre-internet age of museums, encyclopedias, diagrams, printed maps, exploded drawings and half-remembered facts and experiences. It consists of drawing and sculptural assemblages made from reclaimed mechanical parts and toys, many of which reference historical artworks, automata and scientific experiments. In reference to our current disposable, throw-away culture, the sculptures are made of cheap or reclaimed materials. I am concerned with frailty, insecurity, being unsure of the truth, and just holding it all together on the edge of collapse. My work is an attempt to explore some of these human fallibilities.

Jane O’Sullivan that is where I am located presently

(bird’s nest, doll’s dress, ceramic doll and rabbit, paper, coral beach, leather case)

for ever (is that one word for ever ?)

(metal box, coral beach, victorian dolls arm, legal string)

truth is my identity

(mirror, toy cupboard, porcelain figurine, coral beach, lace scrap) To inspire wonder is the aim with my series of interconnected installations, and an accompanying limited edition zine. Found objects are laid out with the intention of evoking a sense of surprised joy in the viewer. The work is intensely soul searching and represents a quest for new meaning from the everyday, transforming matter to a different space and narrative. It addresses parts of us that may or may not already be lost.

Verona Stellet Beach Balls (found shore debris) Discard and waste can be witnessed at coastal shores around the world. From these coastal zones where nature and human spheres converge I collect natural and marine debris from which I create work. Through my work, I explore the concept of the oceans and shores as both anthropogenic and natural environments. I came across a large number of ‘beach balls’ of varying sizes on one of my walks along the tide line. The mostly perfect round bundles of natural fibrous material were interwoven with manmade objects like nylon line, cloth and plastics thus embodying in themselves the theme of my sculptural work.

The Cabinet of Wonders Email: Website: Linenhall Arts Centre Linenhall Street, Castlebar, Co. Mayo F23 AN24 Ireland Tel: (+) 94 9023733 Email: Website: Ian Wieczorek Tel: (+) 353 86 8200886 Email: Website:

Cabinet of Wonders #2  

The Cabinet of Wonders is an ongoing visual art project at the Linenhall Arts Centre, Castlebar, Co. Mayo. From the time of the Renaissance,...

Cabinet of Wonders #2  

The Cabinet of Wonders is an ongoing visual art project at the Linenhall Arts Centre, Castlebar, Co. Mayo. From the time of the Renaissance,...