The Ark Sets Sail…
The 'Ark' was installed at Belfast Cathedral on the 10th February 2020 and was in place for an entire month, departing the Cathedral on the 12th March 2020. Rosalind's main body of work focuses on the natural world and the small things in nature that often get overlooked. She is an award-winning artist born in Northern Ireland, she attended Chelsea School of Art & Saint Martin’s School of Art in London before returning to her native land to set her up studio. As an Artist in Residence for the Lough Neagh Landscape Partnership, she has recently created a series of installations in the boglands and peatlands of County Tyrone, with a view of helping preserve the Irish curlew and highlight the plight of the disappearing natural landscape and peatlands of Ireland.
Rosalind has also completed a number of residencies across the world, from Rathlin Island to a North Vietnam residency focused on natural dyes, another in Quebec dedicated to decaying old buildings, and a third for the State Government of Alaska as Artist in Residence in the national parks of Alaska, completed in 2019. Rosalind lived and worked in a remote area of the Alaskan wilderness creating a land art trail to attract people into the parks and natural spaces of the area.
In 2018 Rosalind was one of 100 female Artists across the UK chosen to create an artwork for the Artichoke Trust UK to celebrate 100 years of women having the vote and in 2020 she will be working on a large scale collaborative artwork to be installed in Westminster as a commemoration for United Kingdom Holocaust Memorial Foundation.
Rosalind was honoured to accept a commission from St Anne's Cathedral to create an environmental installation based on the Ark.
The Ark was an environmental installation created using fallen branches from local native woodlands including ash, beech and hazel. The sculpture was made using bricolage, an art term that refers to the creation of an artwork from any materials that come to hand. The approach became popular in the early twentieth century when resources were scarce. No trees were cut or damaged to make the sculpture.
She was influenced by the world environmental crisis and exacerbated by environmental events such as the Australian bushfires, or more locally, the ever decreasing green spaces of Ireland, the work highlights our disappearing natural world and our caring for creation. The Ark is a place of safety.
With the bark removed, the strong red pigment saturates the branches, in colour psychology the colour red is most associated with energy, passion and action. The colour was specifically chosen for the installation in the Cathedral, as the strong hue signifies the passion and blood, and also the love and warmth of the building. You can see this colour echoed throughout the Nave by each of the detailed kneelers which are coloured red to bring warmth into this vast space.
The Ark is a tribute to our natural world, how we interact with it, and the constant struggle of the natural world to overcome the treatment from human behaviour.
We've had a great response from the Ark with many people leaving their reflections behind:
"The red is very dramatic, especially with the sense of space within and around the installation. Love the tips of the branches left 'au naturel', complete with the withered leaves. Interesting to look at how it was constructed".
"Wonderful to bring the wild, untamed spaces and trees into the Cathedral, we are meant to be out in the landscape, under the sky and seeing the beauty in unexpected things. Thank you".
"An outstanding piece of art! Love the thought process behind it. Congratulations to the immensely talented artist and a big thank you to those who commissioned [the Ark]".
All of us at the Cathedral have been so proud to have this work created for and installed in the Cathedral, Rosalind's generosity and care when creating this project shines through the Ark. Today the Ark's exhibition came to an end, but it will continue on in other projects as it will be dismantled and recycled for other works of art. You're able to find more information about Rosalind Lowry and her work at www.rosalindlowryartist.com!