Sarah Lincoln: Chloe Austin

 

Chloe Austin’s screen-based work at the CCAD degree show jitters and jolts with frustration. Eight televisions are positioned on the ground in close proximity to each other. Electrical cables weave in and about the screens, while a woman’s guttural sighs and wails are intermittently heard. The screens – positioned as they are – could be read as forming a strange type of holistic body and this striving for wholeness is the ache which drives this forceful work.

We see abstracted, details of a woman’s anatomy, a shoulder on one screen, a breast on another, further fractured by mirrors duplicating onscreen eyes and mouths. Each screen is interspersed with filters, grids and bands of static, which at times layer over and slide in beside footage of this partially represented body.

The suggestion hangs over Austin’s installation that the screens, as hosts, are implicated as they perpetuate and perhaps even contribute to the generation of this severe fracturing, thus adding to the sense of unease which imbues the work.

Wider questions around partial, medium-orientated perspectives and the anxieties which these positions elicit, dominate in other strong presentations in this fascinating and lively exhibition. At stake in Jessica Mackey and James O’Donovan’s work is also the psychological fallout due to a profound disorientation, or fragmented sense of place, but their chosen medium is virtual reality technology. Zoe O’Connell relies on more tactile techniques, suggesting through printmaking the great swathes of alternative meanings/codes which layer and enfold our seemingly simple ‘natural’ environment.

The level of sophistication evident in these works is a hopeful indicator of both the rich educational environment they are emerging from and a strong future of engaged and thoughtful work to come.

 

Written by Sarah Lincoln

Sarah Lincoln is a visual artist based in Co. Waterford.

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