Chris Oâ€™Rourke Touch is more than a touch, a thing is much more than just a thing, and the ordinary is truly extraordinary. Working within the tactile dimension, I believe, has much deeper reverberations than just those comprehended by our somatosensory system.
Recently I have been exploring the tense relationship between the physical and the psychological. In a world of ever-growing materiality, objects and spaces are becoming more and more important to us, with increased emotional potency, they are mediators and participants in our relationships with each other. The properties of materials have extended beyond just functionality and physicality, engaging with us Subliminally, Viscerally and Vicariously.
Throughout daily life, we are continuously projecting our own identities, memories and experiences onto the objects and spaces in which we interact with and encounter. Although this process is performed subconsciously, I intend to use sculptural /(tactile) processes, to draw attention to this psychological /(emotional) intimacy we have with the physical realm.
Take floorboards as an example, imagine the thousands of beings that have walked, ran, fell, crawled and paused for a moment upon them. Imagine the things that have smashed, spilled, scratched and soaked on the surface. Imagine the memories which have been seeped much deeper than the woodgrain, than the materiality of the wood, and the emotional potency which such a mundane, taken for granted material could have for some people. It is with my artistic license which I hope to draw the poetics from the everyday objects and spaces.
Physical process is just as important as an artist as my theoretical exploration. Casting / Mold Making techniques have provided me with the ability to capture an object or place and take something from it. As the material dries, dust, debris and dirt fall into the piece, giving it a sense of time and place, and picking up on the environment it was created. It absorbs the essence of the location and becomes an abject bairn of the place.
Graduating from BA Fine Art (Sculpture/Lens) in 2018, I returned to my rural home town (Coalisland, Co. Tyrone) to work full time and (attempt to) continue my practice as an artist. It was not long before I realized just how dependent my artistic practice was on the community around me. I desperately missed the unique creative environment that resides in Belfast, and upon receiving the opportunity to join Flax as part of the emerging artist hub, I moved to the city, determined to immerse myself into the Belfast Arts scene.
I have always been interested in Fine art and became particularly appreciative of sculpture/installation during a gap year, when I studied classical sculpture & visual plastics in the Latvian Academy of Art, Riga.
I combine my conceptual/performative core, learnt from Belfast, with the traditional/technical skills explored in Latvia. Now living in Belfast since March, I have begun researching the importance of context, place, space and time, and am thoroughly enjoying my new studio space, and inspirational new community in Flax.