Kate’s work explores the symbolism of voyages. The images are of floating Viking ships filled with a cargo of rich colour and gold.
‘Viking ship burials captivated my interest. These vessels were taken out of the water and buried to carry the dead on their journey to the next world. I am interested in the balance and weight of the vessels. I extended the shapes. Some have long oars and weights – to steady the vessel and keep it on course.’
Her interest in traditional Viking vessels was kindled during an artist’s residency in Lofoten (a group of islands inside the Arctic Circle in Northern Norway). Further research on Viking ships, supported by Ealaín na Gaeltachta, brought more layers of meaning to her work.
‘The images began to develop on a more symbolic level when I moved away from Ireland. I pared the context back until I was left with the ships and their precious cargo in unknown spaces. At the time I was making them I didn’t see the resonances this work has to change and immigration. But of course its there.’
I researched this work in Norway and Denmark, where I visited the Viking Ship Museum at Roskilde, a graveyard of boat-shaped graves at Lindholm Hoje and the Oseberg and Gokstad ships in Olso.
The powerful symbolism of Viking ship burials captivated my interest. These vessels were taken out of the water and buried so they could carry the dead on their journey to the next world.
As I worked I became more interested in the balance and weight of the vessels. I extended the shapes. Some became mathematical; crescents and arcs masquerading as ships. Others have long oars and weights to steady the vessel and keep it on course.
In most of the images the ship is travelling towards the viewer, pulling you into the viewing space. The ship and its context are described in monotones, the cargo is colour, the most precious of which is gold.
Ráiteas an Ealaíontóra
Thugas faoi thaighde ar an saothar seo sa Danmhairg agus san Iorua, ag tabhairt cuairt ar Mhúsaem na Long Lochlannach ag Roskilde, reilig uaigheanna i gcruth bháid ag Lindholm Hoje agus Oseberg agus loing ag Gokstad in Olsó.
Bhíos gafa le siombalachas cumhachtach adhlachta na long Lochlannach. Bhí na hárthaigh seo tógtha amach ón uisce agus curtha chun na mairbh a iompar go dtí an saol eile.
De réir a chéile, agus mé ag obair, músclaíodh mo chuid suime i gcothramaíocht agus i meáchain na n-árthach. Mhéadaíos a gcruthanna. D’aistrigh cuid acu go mataimaiticiúil – corráin agus áirsí i riocht long. Tá maidí rámha fada agus tromáin ballasta ag cuid eile acu – chun an árthaigh a choimeád socair agus a stiúraigh a threo.
Sa chuid is mó de na híomhanna tá an t-árthach ag dul i dtreo an bhreathnóra, le do tharrac isteach sa spás féachanna. Tá an t-árthach agus a chomhthéacs léirithe in aontoin; an lastas i ndathanna, an chuid is luachmhara in ór.