Monday, 29 March 2010

Elaine Akester


In my artistic practise, I am drawn to exploring the recurrent themes of self and cultural identity. Questions such as "Who am I?" and "Where do I come from?" and "Why am I here?" are often starting points for a piece of work.
Allied themes to this include memory, displacement, and difference often initiated from an autobiographical perspective.

Another key aspect to my work is understanding and capturing our relationship with place and landscape. I am intrigued by the emotional responses people get by being in particular geographic places. Our need to connect with particular places and immerse ourselves in the feelings generated by these experiences (cathexis) informs my development and work greatly.

I work predominantly in producing installation pieces. Once I have gained clarity about the message I want to convey, I will start to develop a visual image of how this will look. These images are then converted, initially to rough pencil sketches. I will collect objects, photographs and other found objects and begin the process of developing some small scale models, where appropriate. I then begin to construct the piece, often taking away or otherwise altering the piece until it is as distilled and minimal as it can be, without losing the intended message. Audience engagement and participation are important aspects to my art work. I want the viewer to be intrigued and curious about what they are experiencing and the engagement of their senses in addition to the visual sense is important. My intention, throughout, is to create visual poetic installations which distil large and complex themes.

I also use photography in my work. Sometimes, photography is the chosen medium for my art. Other times, taking photographs can act as a catalyst or starting point for a body of work. The manipulation and incorporation of old photographs, especially autobiographically ones is an important component of my working practise.

My primary influences are Louise Bourgeois, Christian Boltanski and contemporary Irish artist Alice Maher.