Limerick, Ireland
Caoimhghín Ó Fraithile, Rag Tower, rags and wood, 580 x 366 x 366 cm

Caoimhghín Ó Fraithile


The creation and reception of artwork that embodies traditional ideas and practices can be a catalyst for the process of spiritual grounding. In my opinion, spiritual grounding is necessary to counteract the isolation that many people experience in our consumer society, which tends to be obsessed with the allure of all that is new and the illusion that the material world alone can satisfy all our needs. In contrast to the instant gratification associated with modern consumerism, tradition offers a space for meditation and self-reflection by making use of beliefs and techniques that have been handed down through the generations.

The receptive nature of working in ways that are long established, and the memories invoked in this way, connect me to a rich sense of culture. My own objects and installations draw on the oral and agrarian traditions of Ireland, and the place where I was born and raised, to enrich the present by incorporating the past. The materials I use, such as stone, wood, straw, lead, handmade paper and salt, are related to emotional attachments with rural life. Working with a strong emphasis on the human touch with handmade objects creates an intimacy that allows the viewer to associate closely with the process of making.

The sense of familiarity which my work arouses has the additional advantage of drawing the viewer into a place of safety and comfort. Rather than shock my audience into a defensive posture, I prefer to entice them into a sense of ownership of the work. From this position I believe it is easier to get them to question their assumptions about the world. Thus, by combining traditional working practices and materials with insights from the conceptual approach, I aspire to challenge set patterns of thought within contemporary society in a way which can even provoke a healing and cathartic experience.

(Text: on the border of each other catalogue, 2003)

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