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Exhibitions Archive


The Fota Lichens Project

926 August 2005

A new environmental installation by Mara Adamitz Scrupe,to be exhibited at Fota House and Arboretum, in cooperation with the Crawford Municipal Art Gallery and the Sirius Arts Centre, Cork, Ireland

June 2005, Cork, Ireland – The Fota Lichens Project, an installation featuring transparencies of native Irish lichens photographed at the Fota Arboretum and accompanied by live specimens in glass terrariums will be on view at Fota House and Arboretum from August 9 – 26, 2005. Mara Adamitz Scrupe is known for her environmental projects growing, collecting, documenting, and reintroducing native and heirloom plants. The Lichens Project is made possible by support from The Sirius Art Centre, The Crawford Municipal Art Gallery, and The National Sculpture Factory, Cork, Ireland, with funding provided by The Irish Arts Council. A color catalog of the exhibition, which includes essays by James Elkins and Paula Owen, will be available.

The installation will include ten large, detailed and richly colorful photographic transparencies of lichen specimens in biomedical light boxes, accompanied by hand-blown glass cloches containing living lichens. Each image and corresponding specimen will be identified with the lichen species’ name, its status (common, endemic, threatened, endangered, species of special concern), and its significance as a bioindicator for gauging air and water pollution. Printed materials describing the ecological significance of lichens, and their usefulness for assessing environmental conditions will also be made available free of charge to Fota Arboretum visitors.

James Elkins writes of her work: “Mara Scrupe’s work is exemplary environmental art: she does not worry the art content, but the environmental message. Her work is driven by commitment to environmental issues, and the art follows. She dares to write about the “potential for service to society” and other such notions — daring, I would say, to be identified with right-wing conservative hopes for a more moral and ethical art. It is possible, she thinks, to speak “conscientiously and responsibly” to one’s audience, and even to educate that audience. In this exhibition the photographs are art, and so is the entire installation, but those are the vehicle: what matters is what you can learn from what you see, and what you can then do with that knowledge.”

Mara Adamitz Scrupe was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She lives and works in Washington, DC and on a farm in rural Virginia. She currently holds the Barbara L. Bishop Endowed Chair of Art, Longwood University, Virginia, and has exhibited her projects nationally and internationally at Grand Arts (Kansas City), The Aldrich Contemporary Arts Museum (Connecticut), Harvard University, Europos Parkas Open Air Museum (Vilnius, Lithuania), and the Taipei Fine Arts Museum (Taiwan). She has completed numerous research fellowships including artist residencies at USF Verftet/Stiftelsen Kulturhuset, Bergen, Norway; The Baltic Sea Residency Network, Konstepidemin, Goteborg, Sweden; and The Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, Ireland and the MacDowell Colony, New Hampshire.

The Fota House and Arboretum, a historic nineteenth century Irish great house surrounded by magnificent gardens containing rare plant species, is located on Fota Island just outside Cork City, Ireland. The House is open Monday – Saturday, 10:00AM – 5:00PM, Sundays and Bank Holidays from 11:00AM – 5:00PM and is easily accessible from Cork City on the local commuter train. For more information please contact Anne Boddaert at The Crawford Municipal Art Gallery at Telephone: +353.21.4907857, and Fax: +353.21.4805043, and Email: or Sarah Iremonger at The Sirius Arts Centre at Telephone: +353.21.4813790, and Email:

Emmett Place, Cork, Ireland
T12 TNE6
Tel: 021 480 5042

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*Second floor closes 15 minutes before closing
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