In Carapace, a crusty exoskeleton provides the space in which transformation and healing can take place. It suggests an organic self-made structure or growth, a fortification to hold intruders at bay until the time is right for the occupant to emerge. This formation of the shell is slow and painstaking but also determinedly single-minded. It alludes to healing or protecting through making; the ritualistic process and the layering of strata over time.
This first major solo exhibition by McGuinne, brings together sculpture, print and film which all look at the need for self-preservation, to listen to yourself and learn to read the signs your body is trying to show you. Scale and material are explored and reinterpreted with numerous references to myth and storytelling. Inspired by 19th medical records of Chromidrosis sufferers, or the beauty industry’s exploitation of snail mucus, the works in Carapace are not purely fantastical, but point to how reality can at times stretch the imagination. At its core, is the premise that sometimes in the making of something, the process is as magical/transformative as what is produced.
Niamh McGuinne’s practice can be defined as expanded print, she incorporates sculptural elements, film and installation. She uses a combination of low-tech and analogue systems of production along with traditional and experimental methods of etching, screen and transfer printing on a variety of materials including film, paper, textile, Perspex and metal. These prints are often combined in 3D configurations either as a method of display, to encourage interaction or in order to film and animate.
Niamh lives and works in Dublin and is a member of the Graphic Studio Dublin (GSD) since 2010. She graduated from NCAD MFA in Fine Art in 2020. She is also a practicing paper conservator and has an MA in Conservation of Fine Art from the University of Northumbria, UK. She has worked in a number of museums and galleries in the USA, UK and Ireland and is currently a paper conservator in the National Gallery of Ireland. This background has influenced her approach to ideas of permanence, timelessness and the notion of perfection.