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Parallel [in]Between

an incidental flux' is the first solo show by Ellen Duffy, Draíocht’s resident artist 2022/2023.

Commissioned by Draíocht and curated by Sharon Murphy. 


Duffy works across sculptural assemblage, expanded painting, mixed media collage and drawing. Her process is playful and seeks the building of dialogue between the objects/materials used in her work. She builds on gestural mark-making and the integration of recurring forms that appear across her artistic practice taken from found forms of her everyday. Using site responsive installations, works on paper and sculpture to build networks that call to the interconnections between the viewer, the space, the work and the artist. Duffy’s process-led engagement is haptically driven by an interest in materiality, form and colour. 


For this new body of work, Duffy has adopted and retranslated found and sourced materials during her year long residency at Draíocht to build a new abstract, playful language for a site specific exhibition in Draíocht's Ground Floor Gallery. Duffy calls attention to the potential within these seemingly random materials by pulling them from their everyday contexts. Provisionally assembled the installation draws on the connectivity of things. Essential components, fragments of the wider network are together and lifted up by one another. Forms are constricted, layered, shaped and misshaped, contorted and compressed and ultimately are carriers of expression through form and colour for viewers to interpret for themselves.

'Parallel [in]Between' at BKB Studios, Dublin.

This long term project played out in a series of formats, beginning with the exchange of a series of collages, writings, images and small sculptural objects. Both artists’ worked on top of the materials and sketches that they received in the post, interjecting themselves into the others' work. A dialogue began that freed up expectation and any preciousness one might have towards their own work. It enabled them to engage haptically with work other than their own and build upon the frameworks set by their individual practice, allowing scope to take on new ways of thinking about collaborative art making. 

photos below by Lucy Tevlin.

'Parallel [in]Between' at Platform, Belfast.

The most recent iteration of the pairs project was a  show of the same title in Platform, Belfast. Much like the previous chapter of  of Parallel [in]Between. The pair share core values that impact how they make work.

The importance of materiality, the dependence on the work’s response to a site and a process led practice. These key factors manifest in sculptural installations for both of them. However, it is at that point they start to diverge. Ellen’s assembling process involves free-form decision-making that utilises found/discarded and industrial materials, incorporating them into fabricated structures that create interdependent assemblages. Kate implements a more rigorous set of rules, taken from industrial processes – such as cast making, woodwork and welding – to exercise the points between object and space. Kate considers looking, reflecting and spending time within the boundaries of a site an important aspect of how she fabricates her sculptural interventions in space.

Throughout the year the pair both worked through their copies of Contemporary Japanese Sculpture by Janet Koplos. Her chapter ‘Sculpture as Relationship’ resonated with both artists’ practices in a significant way. When discussing the work of Mono Ha artis Lee U-Fan, she writes “… the materials do not merge into a unity but retain their separate identities and play off each other in weight, form, colour, etc.”. The relational network of things are built in response to one another – in balance with one another and the space of the gallery. Kate and Ellen fabricated and assembled this installation based on structural and spatial characteristics of the install site.

Photos below by Simon Mills.

Dock Summer Commissions 2020 with Kate Murphy

Ellen was commissioned by The Dock Arts Centre for their Summer Commissions to create a body of work over the Summer months. And, with this commission she chose to work on a series of collaborations with Artist/Curator Kate Murphy. The aim of this project was to maintain a physical dialogue with through these isolating times and continued engagement with materiality. Much of the art world has crossed over to online platforms, it has made it a lot more difficult to physically engage with materially driven artworks. This commission allowed both artists to maintain meaningful dialogue in these unprecedented times.

The commission involved a series of collages that were sent via An Post and completed once received by the other artist. There is a melding of the two artists practices to develop a visual language that the artists unfolded over the months of lockdown.

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