AboutKeystone gallery presents a selection of new work by artist Ciara Moore. Living between Los Angeles and Connemara, Ireland, this exhibition presents two bodies of work developed between these two locations during the first wave of the pandemic lockdown.
Included in the exhibition is the series of ink drawings titled Internal Things made in Los Angeles amid the 2020 lockdown. During this time of travel restrictions, the artist's father died at his home in Spain. The works serve as a form of diaristic marker and exploration of the isolation and suspension of grief as travel to her father’s funeral was not possible. The cycle of life and death throughout the pandemic lent a personified aspect to the virus as unseen, malevolent and parasitic. The artist referred to this series of works as Internal Things very early on because they seem to pour onto the page, almost like wet creatures that were manifestations of this pandemic experience which we are all still struggling through.
Strands is a second series of work developed in late 2021 as Moore travelled to Connemara, on the west coast of Ireland, where she spent fall and winter in another pandemic lockdown. This series is informed by Moore’s encounter with the rural landscape, the isolated beaches, the sea, woodlands, and most significantly the peat bogs of Connemara. These bogs preserve what was deposited in them, acting as a form of historical archive. Walking on the bogs, with their hidden depths, transports one’s imagination back in time to the spectre that historically resides in the bog. Both figuratively and literally this landscape is a receptacle for mythical and real objects; the shape-shifting hare who resides both here and the underworld, bird bones, chiefs and queens, sacrifices, elks, horses of the Spanish Armada, ancient artifacts, and unknown life forms. In anthropomorphic fashion, the bogs wax and wane according to the season, swelling with moisture and drying out in summer when they are cut and turned over in the sun. Walks on the strand during low tide turn up patterns from movement of objects and waves. Dark, deep spaces between rocks on shore and in stone walls harbor the unseen.
Strands serves as a counterpoint to Moore’s Internal Things; an exploration of the natural environment of Connemara, Ireland and the history and myth that is embedded into the land. As Moore states, “the shapes and textures in the landscape; the rocks, lichen, sand ripples, bog pools, remind me of organisms, organs, and often black holes of darkness. These elements are reminiscent of the ‘Bog People' (2000-year-old preserved corpses found in bogs) that have been unearthed in these areas. In the studio I found connections between these works like strands in a nonlinear way. Like blind “illiterate roots” (Seamus Heaney, Bog Queen) rhizomes, underground.”
Through these two series, Moore parallels the dynamic of the Unconscious (the obscure, hidden and unspoken) in relation to the hauntology of the bog, dark wet crevices in rocks and the unnamed things that are internal and buried within ourselves and the physical environment.