In this week’s Virtual Thursday Club, artist-facilitator Julie Forrester ponders Eilís O’Connell’s sculptural work Each Day (2003), which can be found in the grounds of Crawford Art Gallery, and invites us to consider the meaning within the everyday in the task outlined below.
Eilís O’Connell’s Each Day (2003) is one of my favourite pieces in the Crawford Art Gallery Collection. It has grown on me over time. Over time I have seen its surroundings change and noticed the changing dialogue it has with its environment, what a change when the bamboo grew a strip around it and then was cut back low, how different it is when the outdoor Café surrounds it in the summer months.
I love its quiet shape which holds an intimate space on one side - the side that opens to the Big Tree and the narrow gate to the entrance. I love its soft ridged back, deliberately patinated with lichen like patterns - smooth though on the silky bronze surface, I love that it looks at first like a boat, and then this thought surprises as it has upturned and erected itself oddly into the earth. I love the human scale of it, a whole hood for anybody who chooses to brush up to it, and so a shelter and a protector. I love that I can imagine the making of it in a gesture, from plasticine folded and squeezed gently once at one end to enable it to stand, I love imagining it in the hand, on a desk and imagined by the artist enlarged and finding itself in a foundry re-birthed in heat and fire. I love that its corrugated form suggests also a farmyard roof and rural life, the history of the maker and a marker for many of us, I love that it is an outdoor sculpture and is part of the natural and built environment - I love that it takes on the weather, I love its resilience. I love that it is called Each Day, an enigma that expands it more - there is a question worth asking. Here are some of the answers I remember hearing: “each day is the same but different” - “it has a front and a back like a day and night” - “it is open and closed – “like a day opening in the morning and closing into night” - “it is ordinary, no big deal” - “it’s cumulative, each day following another” “it’s enduring, getting older with time but more or less still looking the same” “it’s boring” “it’s just part of the woodwork” - “it’s like a promise”.
These days of lockdown have their own rhythm where time seems to be more elastic and more expansive. Without an imposed routine I am responding more to the sun, its ups and downs, I am noticing my daily rituals more, and finding the space to enjoy and appreciate the small things in the everyday. There are actions and objects that go together in rituals; in bathing it’s the familiar soap, edges worn off it, resting on its flannel at the side of the bath, the east facing window with its pink curtains where I great the sun, and sitting on the edge of the bed and the order I put on just the minimum of comfortable clothes, fewer these days as the warmth of the summer arrives, same order every day, building the rhythms of my own clock, the sweeping of the floor, even the emptying of the bins, the tying of the bag, the lifting of the lid and all around me the changing of the seasons, the light, the trees and the birds.
This week I would like to propose a mundane drawing routine. Something ordinary, repeated and intimate, a ritual that might accompany one of the breaks in the day.
Pick something ordinary, an object or an activity from your ordinary home life, you can draw from observation or from imagination, or both, it’s up to you. Choose a time frame that suits you and stick to it – 10 minutes, half an hour, an hour – it’s up to you. Make a drawing of it every day for a week. See how it changes, how it stays the same. Notice if you develop an urge to break the rules… what happens? Be curious. Make at least one drawing every day. Label and date your drawings with the day of the week they were made Monday...Tuesday… Wednesday... etc. What will you have on the seventh day?
It would be fun to share these findings. As usual if you would like to do this please upload to Instagram and #thurs_day_club or to the CrawfordGallery_ThursdayClub (private) Group page on Facebook
Or if this is tricky you can send them to me and I can upload them.
You can make comments, suggestions or observations directly to the Crawford education here:
Emmet Place, Cork, Ireland
Tel: 021 480 5042
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(2nd floor closes at 4:45 pm)
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