A Long Way From Home brings together the work of Irish born Sue Bryan and American born Michelle Conway, two artists whose fascination with memory and place may be traced in their respective relocations across The Atlantic.
Now based in New York, Bryan’s atmospheric miniature drawings in charcoal and carbon refer to her memories of growing up in Ireland. The softness of these natural scenes express an obscurity and cloudiness caused by factors relating both to the weather and in our ability to conjure a memory in the mind’s eye. In her choice of charcoal as medium, Bryan’s natural scenes are created with an implied sense of origin.
She describes: ‘Much of drawing’s appeal to me lies in its very constraint, in its simplification, in the reduction of nature’s macrocosm to the coal-black char of organic matter. For me, the act of drawing is an end in itself." - Sue Bryan
Muted and soft in tone, Conway’s landscapes in oil depict vacant scenes that might normally be frequented by people. These spaces of leisure, habitation and of in-between waiting spaces are evocative of 1960s snapshots and contain traces of her American heritage. The artist describes: ‘painting reminds me of what no longer exists. It is my way of experiencing the world as it is’. Splashes of colour are often picked out within these familiar spaces, as if to further aid the memory or update them to the present day.
Presenting the viewer with these scenes of non-specific locality, A Long Way From Home invites us to consider our own sense of belonging and shared nostalgia.
‘A place belongs forever to whoever claims it hardest, remembers it most obsessively, wrenches it from itself, renders it, loves it so radically that he remakes it in his own image’