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Work of the Week | 30 August 2021

CAG.3151 Jennifer Trouton, Ariadne’s Thread, 2013, oil on linen, 71 x 61 cm. Purchased, 2021. © the artist.

Ariadne’s Thread (2013) is an oil painting by Jennifer Trouton that derives its title from the Ancient Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur. The artist suggests, however, that “when read from a feminist perspective, it is Ariadne who is the hero in the story, as she is the one who gives [Theseus] the thread, shows him how to escape the maze, [and] ultimately brings about her own emancipation.”

The painting describes a ball of thread on the floor with a wallpapered wall rising up behind it and fabric draped over a picture frame, perhaps a family portrait. “I purposefully placed the ball of thread in the foreground,” the artist explains, “as a metaphor for female resourcefulness, as this piece was conceived as a testimonial to my female ancestors.” The wallpaper – featuring an Irish loom, Massachusetts cotton factory, and abandoned Irish home – tells a story of migration. The cottage itself, now in ruins, is the house of the artist’s great-grandmother who, despite the necessity of emigration, “kept the family together and made it safely back to Ireland.”

Jennifer Trouton (b.1971) is a Belfast-based artist whose work subtly expresses ideas around gender, class, and identity within Irish history. Combining an interest in the mythological and historical with personal narrative, she has exhibited her work extensively and garnered numerous awards, including the Golden Fleece Award and the RUA Tyrone Guthrie Residency Award.

Ariadne’s Thread (2013) by Jennifer Trouton is featured in NEW THREADS: Acquisitions 2021 in our Gibson Galleries (Floor 1) until 5 September.

Tune in to The Arts House on Cork’s 96FM and C103 Cork every Sunday morning as Conor Tallon chats with assistant curator Michael Waldron about a work from the collection!

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