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WORK OF THE WEEK | 19 February 2024 

CAG.3064 Daphne Wright, Dead Christmas Tree, 2019, mixed media, 150 x 28 x 28 cm. Presented, Daphne Wright and Frith Street Gallery, London, 2021. © the artist. Photo: Jed Niezgoda. 


It may not quite be the season, but Dead Christmas Tree (2019) by Daphne Wright serves as a reminder of temporality and the markers in our daily lives. 

From origin to completion, Dead Christmas Tree evolved over a four-year period. Wright, as she tells Ellen Mara de Wachter, would ‘drive around after Christmas and see the old trees in people’s recycling boxes. I would stop the car and pick them up, and then skin them back to the stalk.’ 

Wright’s denuded tree mourns the loss of its potential, and of a time when the tree was useful and a focus for – and of – conversation. As the artist has suggested. ‘it’s also about the combined mood of seasonal expectation and disappointment at the same time.’  

Always concerned with how the overlooked minutiae in daily life informs our macro existence, Wright’s objects are often suggestive of a particular moment in a life. Dead Christmas Tree was previously shown in her solo exhibition, A quiet mutiny, at Crawford Art Gallery in 2019-2020. 

Her art-making process and what gets subsequently exhibited is often based on which artworks she considers have ‘matured’. Many of her works ‘have roots way back, and then it is a process of development.’ At times – perhaps like some of our own personal relationships – she can ‘struggle with them for years.’  

Dead Christmas Tree (2019) by Daphne Wright is featured in our new exhibition, A MATTER OF TIME, until 3 June. 

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The Arts House: Conor Tallon chats with curator Michael Waldron about a work from the Collection every Sunday morning on Cork’s 96FM and C103 Cork. 

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