Monday, August 11, 2014

Rachel's art is for the ultimate 'selfies'

Rachel Kiernan is an artist who is most happy when wielding a saw or a drill in the shed beside her family's home in Athgarvan, creating big art, writes Brian Byrne.

Or maybe also when watching the interaction of fans of her work with the pieces she produces. Having their pictures taken with them, in them, or on them. The ultimate 'selfies'?

"Yes, definitely," says this young woman who grew up in Kilcullen and is another of a growing group of artists who came from CPC with their career direction developed by the inspiration and encouragement of art teachers Noel Scullion and his late wife Brenda. "I get feedback from Instagram posters that brightens up my day a lot." Which last comment shows how the various strands of social media can be the new 'gallery' for real artists.

But you can't show in any gallery, real or virtual, without producing the art. And it doesn't work either unless the artist gets it out there to the masses, buying ones or not. Rachel uses festivals like Electric Picnic, the recent Body & Soul one in Ballinlough Castle, and the upcoming Kilcullen River Festival to showcase her work, get people interacting with it.

The current pieces doing these rounds are a crescent moon on which people can sit, and a gigantic set of wooden wings with which they can be pictured as some kind of New Age god. "Or whatever they want it to be," Rachel says. "I'm not forcing ideas on people. There's no strong message in my art. Let them work it out any way they want."

Well, the thousands coming to the River Festival in a couple of weeks' time will get the chance to do just that.

(ED: This is a taster piece. A more comprehensive article on Rachel and her work will feature in next week's Kildare Nationalist. And we'll have more on her here between now and the Kilcullen River Festival.)