What We Thought Was Ebbing Was Actually Flooding | Hannah Bloom

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Preview: Thursday 7th September: 6 – 8 pm
Gallery Opening Times: Friday 8th – Sunday 10th, 12 – 4pm

Ormond Studios are pleased to present What We Thought Was Ebbing Was Actually Flooding, the first solo exhibition by Ormond Studio Graduate Resident 2017 Hannah Bloom.

The work’s thematic focus lies on the relationship between communities and the ocean, specifically from an Irish perspective. The artist focuses on seaweed as an integral element within the coastal ecosystem, while also embodying a canary in the coal mine for maritime pollution and maritime disharmony.

The tradition of seaweed foraging was once an activity that involved entire communities; people would gather, forage by hand, tell stories, sing and eat together. This process was also inextricably connected with death. High tides, stormy seas and freak waves would often overcome foragers, resulting in tragedy. In this way, the water provides livelihood and leisure, but must also be reckoned with as an unquantifiable source of power and danger.

“The sea came and lifted the heap and ourselves, and we were covered in seaweed. We barely had our heads above water, trying to keep the water out of our mouths. But we got away.” – Anon, Seaweed Memories: In the Jaws of the Sea, Becker. H (2000)

This ambivalent relationship is reflected in the contemporary context, with oceanic activity having become increasingly unpredictable. Man-made pollution threatens the stability of ecosystems, affecting ocean levels and temperatures, threatening to displace populations and contaminate the very food we consume. Renewed interest in the virtues of seaweed as a source of nutrition has prompted a demand for large-scale industrialised harvesting. This commodification threatens the ‘hands on’, and immediate relationship of Irish communities to this substance and raises issues around depletion and environmental destruction.

The destabilising of this natural balance is referenced in Bloom’s work through her use of organic materials. Culled from the coast of Mayo, the seaweed has been contextualised through manmade and new media, in an effort to reflect how human activity inadvertently distorts the natural and familiar into unrecognisable specimens.

Published by Ormond Art Studios

Ormond Art Studios is an artist-led initiative in Dublin city and is a platform for emerging visual artists. It supports the development of arts practice through affordable studio provision, critical discourse and space for events, residencies and exhibitions. The physical studios consists of eight individual artist's spaces along with a separate area that serves as the Project Space. The Project Space offers scope for work on a larger scale, embodied practice and experimentation. It is in this space that feedback sessions, events and exhibitions happen. We believe that critical discourse is hugely beneficial to developing a professional arts practice and essential to a dynamic arts community. Ormond Art Studios encourages members to open up their practise to peer critique and facilitates lively feedback sessions, residencies, and information/skills sharing initiatives. We believe in collaboration and connect with other creative initiatives to develop a network of support for artist‐led endeavours in Dublin and beyond. For more information please contact us at ormondartists@gmail.com Ormond Art Studios is kindly supported by the Arts Council of Ireland.

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