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Work of the Week | 3 April 2023

CAG.3053 Janet Mullarney, Drawing from Memory, 2010, wood, graphite, on metal base, 48 x 46 x 110 cm. Presented, 2018. © the artist’s estate.


This week we are sharing a sculpture by Janet Mullarney to mark her third anniversary.

Drawing from Memory (2010) by Janet Mullarney is a wood and graphite sculpture of what appears to be the upper torso of a human figure. Although there is no head or arms, the form and materiality hold magnetic presence.

Seeking to free her work of certain Classical aesthetics, the artist travelled to India where ‘the concept of sculpture refers to the internal presence of spirit.’ In this way, the description of musculature is unimportant and the effect in her own work is something psychological, haunting, even mysterious.

Reflecting on her career in 2019, Mullarney would write: ‘I love sculpture. I love the air it needs around it, the space it takes up, the inherent sensuality. I love the dreaming up of where and how it will breathe that air, the theatrics of installing. I love wood for its human warmth and the figure for its closeness to me […] Colour, drawing, paint, textures, masks – animal and not, painted and otherwise, help me find an answer in the search for my own truth, anonymity and the universal.’

Janet Mullarney (1952-2020), who died on 3 April 2020, was a member of Aosdána. During her career, she exhibited widely and had two solo shows at Crawford Art Gallery: Carving Roots (8 February – 3 March 1990) and The Bermuda Triangle (7 June – 10 August 2002).

Drawing from Memory (2010) by Janet Mullarney is featured in BEHIND THE SCENES: Collection at Work which must close on 10 April.

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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