Authors Name: 
Katie Watchorn
University: 
National College of Art & Design
Category: 
Visual Arts & Design
Award winner

A Softness Preserved You

My practice primarily deals with Irish rural farming, bringing informal and functional materials into a formal environment, in how the configuration of materials can create an atmosphere, and the combination of organic substances with rough agriculturally based raw materials. Using ‘agriculture’ as a medium, I am primarily concerned with the irish dairy industry, and the made-for-function materials, non-ornamental objects, improvisational techniques and livestock resting places of the typical rural irish farm. Seemingly improvised yet obviously functional objects of the rural dairy business change from the function of unrefined materials in formal terms and re-appropriating the utilitarian materials of my fathers farm and adjusting their contents/function/uses. The placement of collective items within such a space becomes important, with the nature of the objects becoming symbolic. Bovine livestock is represented through the mediums of jelly, animal fibre blankets, fatty products and milk. These organic commodities of nature become un-animate representatives of agrarian livestock and goods. I look to a change in function on the farm and how a simple piece of scrap galvanize is re-appropriated as a trough or a chemical bucket to milk carrier. I am interested in the care and maternal instincts of the farm environment, and the materials used to portray this nurturing towards non-humans. Artists which I have explored include the work of Joseph Beuys, Seamus Heaney, Miroslaw Balka, Robert Gober and Nina Canell for her experimental approach and exhibition aesthetic.