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Work of the Week | 08 August 2022

CAG.1548 Kathy Prendergast, Leaf, 1989, chalk pastel on paper, 239 x 190 cm. Purchased, 1993. © the artist.


Leaf (1989) by Kathy Prendergast is a largescale chalk pastel drawing that possesses a singular presence in the gallery.

Reminding us of childhood nature walks, it is a monumental observational drawing of a leaf the artist had found, pressed, and held before her as she drew over thirty years ago. As her studio’s ceiling was very low, the scale was dictated by the height of the wall at her home where she worked in the evenings.

Part of a series of largescale drawings, it was made at the same time as Stack (1989) – now in the collection of the Irish Museum of Modern Art – a 2.7-metre-high mixed media installation that shares the same blue colouration. In its complex network of veins – pathways, desire lines – it is also a precursor to the artist’s later City Drawings.

Its companion drawing, Hand (1989), will go on display this autumn in our upcoming exhibition, DRAWING ROOM.

Kathy Prendergast (b.1958) is a visual artist whose practice encompasses various media, often combining drawing, sculpture, and installation. A connection between body and landscape, often manifested through mapping, can be traced across her practice, while the artist also employs removal or redaction as a device. In 1995, Prendergast represented Ireland at the Venice Biennale and was awarded the Premio Duemila Prize. Curated by Ingrid Swenson, her exhibition OR was held at Crawford Art Gallery in 2015.

Leaf (1989) by Kathy Prendergast is featured in BOTANICA: The Art of Plants until 25 September.

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