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07 Dec 2021

New exhibition featuring midlands bogs by Kildare photographer Shane Hynan at Riverbank Arts Centre

Beofhód starts next week

New exhibition by Kildare artist Shane Hynan at Riverbank Arts Centre

One of Shane Hynan's works which will be on display at the Riverbank Arts Centre

A new exhibition featuring photographs of the raised bogs of the Irish midlands is set to open at Newbridge's Riverbank Arts Centre.

Shane Hynan’s ‘Beneath | Beofhód’ is a long term photographic series observing these bogs and the culture around them. Within his practice Shane uses photography as a tool for expression, drawing on an emotional and intuitive connection with the landscape and terrain.

“Although the visual enquiry into the topography and architecture of bogs is an important element within this photographic series,” Shane Hynan commented,  “it is also used as a vehicle for metaphorical exploration of society and self. A significant subtext throughout the project is a meditation on the inherent dualities within our relationship with nature and our wider environment including; man and nature, tradition and modernity, light and dark, and space and place.” 

Following decades of intensive turf cutting and peat harvesting, Ireland’s modern bog landscapes have changed dramatically. Although these activities have bought substantial economic benefits and formed a strong sense of cultural identity in the Irish midlands, they have also led to considerable depletion. Legitimate environmental concerns have resulted in measures to counteract climate change resulting in the recent transition of Ireland’s working relationship with bogs towards conservation. This adds an important timely element to this series, as change and the end of an era is recorded, adding an additional layer of history and meaning to the work.  

The Emerging Visual Artists Bursary is a collaboration between Kildare County Council Arts Service and Riverbank Arts Centre which enables the first major solo exhibition by an emerging artist. Previous recipients include Brenda Kearney, Marta Golubowska, Noel Hensey, Michelle McBride and Isobel Egan.   “Each year, we look forward to working with the recipient of this award to help realise their vision for their solo exhibition.” commented Alex Rosiak, acting director of Riverbank Arts Centre.   “It is a highlight in our visual arts calendar and a great opportunity to support the work of an emerging artist.”

Lucina Russell, Arts Officer with Kildare County Council commented: “It is a joy to observe how Shane Hynan has developed his practice from the time the Emerging Artist Bursary Award was made, to the work being presented in the gallery.  This award provides focus for the artist during the gestation period, with support from the Arts Service and the team at Riverbank, to deliver this important body of work.  Beneath | Beofhód is particularly timely as it coincides with the COP26 United Nations Climate Change Conference, providing further validation for this work.  I hope that the public exhibition shines a light on Shane’s practice as it emerges.”

Beneath | Beofhód an exhibition by Shane Hynan runs at the McKenna Gallery, Riverbank Arts Centre, Newbridge from November 5 to December 23,  2021. Open Monday-Friday, 9.30am-5pm (and before events). Admission Free.   There are talks and artists tours programmed as part of this exhibition. For more information see www.riverbank.ie.

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