El Harrington is an Irish artist working in ceramics and photographic processes. She works with time and materials to explore human action, material legacy and ideas of place, and develops series of works focused on experiential making, rooted in a particular place, time or event. Recent projects have moved to consider work in a larger ecological sense, through our impact on the landscape and environment, or on a micro-level, through individual acts of making and how they might carry through to the larger community, exploring site-specific, event-based and participatory/collaborative works.
During the residency, she will be engaging with staff and researchers in the College of Science, in particular the School of Earth Sciences, to find common ground in research themes and develop a body of work in response, exploring ideas of geologic time and the anthropocene, climate change and human impacts, landscape forensics, trace fossils, made ground and deep mapping. The emphasis is not on pre-determined outcomes but on artistic process as exploration, with works evolving as material documents of the residency from process experiments over the course of the year, or as site-specific pieces developed as collaborative/participatory works in response to exploration of the university, its grounds and community of people.
She will also be developing ongoing research into native materials, minerals/rocks and clay deposits, aiming to engage with researchers in geochemistry to explore how a multi-disciplinary, collaborative approach to material investigation might inform ceramics technical processes and lead to the development of new works. Part of this process will explore ways of interpreting and responding creatively to research data from analysis and modelling systems across a breadth of research groups, to illuminate the forces, both natural and man-made, that have formed and continue to shape our environment, and affect our understanding of it. Throughout, she is interested in how we connect to our environment and our complex and changing relationship to place, seeking to explore how we make sense of the world around us and our place in it, and to create works that open a space to read the world around us and within us.
El Harrington is a visual artist based in Dublin. She is a graduate of the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland’s Ceramics Skills & Design Course and holds an MSc in Interactive Digital Media from Trinity College Dublin and an MA in Ceramics from Cardiff School of Art & Design. She has received funding from The Arts Council of Ireland and EACEA Creative Europe, and in 2018 she was selected for the Scottish Sculpture Workshop’s Nightshift Residency (UK) - part of Frontiers in Retreat, a 5-year EU collaboration project exploring multidisciplinary approaches to ecology in contemporary art, the Guldagergaard International Ceramic Research Centre’s Woodfire Young-Artist-in-Residence Symposium (DK), and as the Parity Studios Artist-in-Residence for UCD College of Science 2018/19 (IRL).
ARTISTS IN RESIDENCE 2018/19
Artist In Residence at UCD College of Science 2018-2019
1. Untitled, no.1, no.3, Uncertain Objects, Ceramic, 40 x 40cm, 30 x 40cm, unique, 2018
2. Untitled, Ceramic, 19cm + detail, unique, 2015
Series of wire-cut, carved and altered forms in porcelain. An exploration of gestural
making and the material capture of actions, they were made by ‘blind-cutting’ wire through
solid clay to reveal textural outcomes, then creating aesthetic objects from the resulting sections,
seeking to achieve a balance between a made object and by product of a process.
3. Timepiece, installation, unfired stoneware, unique, 2015
Installation of wire-cut, carved and altered forms in unfired stoneware. Over
successive days, for the duration of the exhibition, a new pillar was made and added
to the installation as the previous ones dried and changed colour by increments. The
works were then recycled.
4. Untitled, no.4, Indistinctions, unfired stoneware, polyethylene, Giclée Print, 10x10in, 2015
These works are from an ongoing series on form and materiality, where unfired clay
vessels and photographic processes are used to explore ideas of objecthood through
time and material absence.
Photography is used as an alternative to firing in the ceramic process, to still partially
eroded clay forms in a particular state or instance in time. Each vessel is then recycled
to make the next in the series, no longer existing except as an undefined imageobject.
These stilled instances occupy an indeterminate area between made and unmade
articles, their edges losing visual coherence, existing in that uncertain space where
the forms resist identification yet draw the viewer in and invite speculation.
5. Untitled, no.3, no.16, Vestiges, unfired porcelain, glass, water, Silver Gelatin Print Photograms,
various sizes, unique, 2016
From series of photograms of unfired vessels on the point of disintegration before
being recycled to be remade. These are camera-less contact-prints, where the objects
or material are placed in close contact with light-sensitive photographic paper, which
is then exposed for a period of time before being developed in the traditional B/W
Rather than capturing a picture of the object, it creates unique image-object from the
material interaction of ceramic and photographic processes. These are the footprint of
vessels, nebulous forms on the point of coming into or out of existence, an idea of a
thing forming or disappearing.
6. Each hour, unmapped, ongoing series, unfired clay, polyethylene, oxides, natural material inclusions,
dimensions variable, unique, 2017
Series exploring ideas of embodied landscape and imagined space through material
exploration. Ceramic landscapes were created in unfired clay and then photography
was used as a means of exploring and creating new thought spaces to inhabit.
7. Hill of Sea, Ceramic, 40cm, unique, 2012
Series of works developed over a year in coastal Wexford in response to the local
landscape and palette of the area. They are wheel-thrown, then burnished and
saggar-fired a number of times with raw minerals and local found materials in a gas
8. materials research, 2018