Sligo-based visual artist, Bernie Colhoun, creates abstract artworks often geometric and minimalist in nature. Using reclaimed objects where possible is an important aspect of her practice, elevating waste materials and assigning a sense of permanence to them. Colhoun is a fine art graduate from Crawford College of Art & Design and was a founding member of ‘Sample Studios’ in Cork City. She has exhibited nationally and this year was awarded a residency at Pulled Print Studios in Sligo and was invited to be part of the Irish contingent at Staring at the Sea – Land Art & Reflection Symposium.
Initially inspired by mineralogy during her time working in the jewellery trade, in the years since she has also pursued ideas surrounding geologic time and our human interaction with it. Recent work has been a meditation on the physical essence of time and creation. Constructing snapshots of immensely vast timescales and infinitesimally brief moments she presents the viewer with the hidden stories and unseen world below their feet. While exploring the growth structures and stages of metamorphosis within the rock life cycle she has also become drawn to the human manipulation of it and how information can be stored within. This has led Colhoun to another branch of research, ancient Irish petroglyphs. Utilising personal field recordings from prehistoric sites around Ireland and reflecting on our ancestors’ ancient iconography she is reimagining the mysterious symbology of the original mark markers.
‘Scattered across the landscape these stone anomalies have always struck me as an enigma, the structures and markings acting as conduits to unknown narratives.’
By investigating our Earth’s material origins, properties and application in our manmade world Colhoun is initiating a discussion around our geological history and our human and social interaction with it.