Backwater Artists talk on film through a short video series on contemporary drawing. Curated and produced by studio member Ciara Rodgers.

To celebrate National Drawing Day 2021, Backwater Artists Group presents studio artists Stephen Doyle, Cassandra Eustace, Megan Eustace, Eileen Healy, Peter Nash and Ciara Rodgers in short films as they reflect on what drawing means to them and how it informs their practice from preparation to exhibition. 

In a collaboration with MTU Crawford College of Art and Design, Backwater Artists Group is also delighted to present a video introduction to Drawbridge, a new Drawing Research Network in the Heart of Cork City.  Research Assistant Anne-May Tabb reflects on five drawing projects which led up to the formation of this research hub, including their collaborations with BAG.

Filmed and produced by studio member Ciara Rodgers, the  series of videos will give an insight into projects, personal practice, residencies and exhibitions with an emphasis on the use of drawing, whether provisional or final. They will explore a variety of methodologies, from field sketching to performance, portraiture and figurative work to contemporary drawing practice. How drawing can capture real time and how artists use drawing as the basis for many of their projects, often crossing disciplines into sculpture, painting, printmaking and film.

View videos here : NATIONAL DRAWING DAY 2021

Drawing Solo Expedition

Solo Expedition #1

There are ten weeks to go to my first solo exhibition after years of study and various group shows. I’m writing these excerpts as an exercise to quickly map my progress (and setbacks) to make sense of my ideas for myself along with a traditional sketchbook.

My Studio

I’ve reached that stage in my research for this new body of work where it is time to tackle the large white page for a complete drawing. Going from my sketchbook to this scale in the beginning is the most difficult part of my process. After deciding on a subject to draw, I wrestle with its placement on the page. Collage on a smaller scale helps me to decide on placement but once i scale up the composition, I almost always change my mind. This is an important step for me as I normally keep my backgrounds quite minimal – the empty space is as important as the subject itself.

Concept Development

The majority of my research over the last year has involved visiting and documenting sites of brutalist and Modernist architecture around Cork County and City. This part of the research includes archival architectural documents, on- site polaroid photography during fieldwork and discussions with owners, locals and workers of the immediate area.

O Flaherty House, Kinsale, Co. Cork, Ireland. June 2019

During this research, I feel that I experience a particular moment in time. A time of mid 20th Century space age optimism, as though I stand looking at a dystopian version of the Jetsons. There are many physical features which connect my visited sites with this 1960s family cartoon, in particular, their utopian designs and cantilevered legs. The Jetsons is imagined to take place 100 years from its airing in 1962. Will we be living in the stratosphere in 2062?

Why did the Jetsons live in the upper atmosphere?!

There is an interesting reimagining of the Jetsons as a comic series written by Jimmy Palmiotti for DC Comics. This is great article on it by The Verge :

The Exhibition Space

I have four large walls to play with for this exhibition and plan to have plenty of work to choose from when I curate the space. My exhibition is to include a talk, workshop and event during Culture Night on 20th September 2019.