Shrouded Consciousness at the Crypt, Triskel Arts Centre, Cork

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This collaboration took its premise from the photograph Shrouded Consciousness, 2013, by Maureen Considine, which is this artist’s conscious reaction to ambiguous and surreal feelings towards how an object has power over thought. Artist’s Statement here 

Cora Burke’s Shrouded Consciousness text, 2016, eloquently describes the work, without reducing it to a mere account of the image. Burke furthers the conversation begun by Considine by opening up the subject matter.

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Shrouded Consciousness (Digital print, Considine, 2013) is a statement on a complex set of oppositions between an idolised stone form and a real human body. Inescapably, the photographic image is imbued with ambiguity and this tension is heightened because the artist and model considers herself a recovering catholic. Initially Considine saw the piece as a rejection of the veneration of female suffering by juxtaposing a stone Virgin Mary statue with her real human body and flesh of suffering. The diminutive statue is dwarfed by the living body. Using long exposure times the artist sought to emphasise the stillness of the statue as an object, as a counterpoint to the movement of her human body via the breath and heartbeat.

The work marks a change in Considines practice, coinciding with the artist’s journey through  acceptance of a neuropathic condition which led Considine to introspection as research. In part, the artist seeks to represent physical and emotional pain through visual means. The entire image is bathed in Virgin Mary blue which Considine identifies as a loving colour imbued with sorrow and the colour she most associate with physical pain. However the nakedness and concealment of the body in the presence of the Virgin Mary is inescapable, some may even say blasphemous but such an assumption misses the point. The veil/shroud is symbolic of the effect of the idolisation of Mary and a Catholic upbringing has had on the psyche. The shroud will always be there colouring perspectives and feelings.

 

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