Anne Martin Walsh – Visual Artist

MA:AP   BA (Hons) in Art

Anne Martin Walsh.  MA:AP  BA(Hons) in Art.

Anne Martin Walsh completed a Masters in Fine Art at CIT Crawford College of Art & Design, Cork in January, 2019, and a BA Hons (1st class) in Art from the Wexford Campus School of Art & Design, IT Carlow, 2017.  She now lives and works on Bree Hill, Co. Wexford.

Anne Martin Walsh’s practice revolves around painting, photography and printmaking, sometimes installed in combination with sculptural elements.  Central to this work are themes of sexual and cultural identity that relate to our natural environment and reference a range of topics taken from history and mythology. Through her art work, it is not Martin Walsh’s intention to express the beauty and grandeur of a landscape, but rather more to encapsulate emotions and context, with a sense of what was past spiritually and physically. Having left behind the Holocene epoch, where nature itself was perhaps its own commander etching out its own masterpieces, we have moved on into the Anthropogenic epoch, looking at the marks left by mankind and their effects on our planet.  Martin Walsh considers all of this investigation into ancient ways with a view to seeing a better way of existence, in tune with our earth.  Environmental issues are never far from her concerns, such as the fragmentation of our ecosystem due to the greed of humanity.  It is through her art work Martin Walsh finds a way of expressing this very noteworthy disquiet.  Her research involves an examination of geomagnetic ley-lines, ancient sites, Sheela-na-gig and rituals such as divination. Having collaborated on occasion with a diviner, Martin Walsh visits ancient sites and ruins, using her divination skills to connect with the earth, getting a sense of ‘what lies beneath’.  She likes to engage in quiet conversation with nature, gleaning knowledge from an intimate connection with the elements and then using this experience to produce art which invokes a sense of spirituality and an awareness of ongoing environmental issues, without reference to any structured religious groups. The American sociologist Robert Neelly Bellah once intimated that the concept of the sacred in ancient times is demonstrated through the belief that natural objects, such as stones and trees, have power. This belief allows for the sacredness of nature within the bounds of a spiritual approach. (Yoon, p.15).  All of these research sources are important in Martin Walsh’s ongoing inquiries, as she sees this exploration as imperative to a way of re-connecting with the earth and creating a new visual language.

Anne Martin Walsh is interested in colour, the layering of paint and different forms of mark-making, working intuitively on canvas, board or paper.   Her preferred medium is oil paint but she frequently likes to create a tension in the work through use of mixed media, such as acrylic spray paint, charcoal and pastels.  The use of linseed oil and liquin oil to increase the fluidity and aid the drying process is all part of her methodology.  She sees the making of her art, from start to completion, as part of a ritualistic process. The work becomes more about the medium as the painting evolves, allowing a certain ebb and flow while encouraging the plasticity of the paint.  The intermittent involvement of printed sections in the process creates another dimension to her work. Through her paintings she suggests a state of flux and reciprocity between past and present, earthly and otherworldly, seen and unseen.  The art becomes visceral, primal and gestural in its making, with embedded references to a landscape inscribed through the chosen medium.

Her printmaking process is kept as organic as possible, using collograph, woodcut and drypoint to create her limited edition prints, the subject matter remains earth related.  Martin Walsh enjoys the more structured process of the making of print although it is in direct contrast to how she likes to paints.  However, the repetitive nature of the work is in keeping with the sense of ritual found throughout all her work.  She considers her photography to be an integral part of her process while also serving as documentation for her more ephemeral art work, the images themselves becoming part of the work, as they are all that remains.  The sculpting of clay-forms by hand enhances Martin Walsh’s understanding of the materiality of the subject while giving the artist a feeling of being grounded, allowing a deeper understanding and connection to the earth.  The addition of varied found objects to these sculptural pieces has the dual purpose of highlighting the influence of humanity while embracing the wonder of natural texture and form.

Through her intuitive work Martin Walsh endeavours to create an alternative way of seeing, evoking a sense of being grounded for both herself and the viewer.  The feminine and the sacred play a significant role in her methodology.  A physical and spiritual connection to the earth, as well as an awareness of environmental issues, is at the core of all her artwork.  She aspires to energise the informative function of art, through the restoration of lost connections within a contemporary framework, from an artistic point of view.  David Lowenthal said in his publication, The Past Is a Foreign Country, that Freud, who was known to be the master of the uncanny, considered the retaining and unearthing of memory traces in an archaeological way.  The same way that ancient artefacts could be preserved when buried and start to decay once exposed, the conscious memory can wear away leaving unchanged only what has remained submerged in the unconscious. (Sanders, p 59). It is this way of being, that which remains unexposed, the lost connection within the earth and its energy, that holds a fascination for this artist. According to Anne Martin Walsh, it is a connection to these energies that lie beneath and the conveying of a whole other way of seeing, that may be one of many catalysts to an awakening within the human mind, towards a move to embrace the survival of the earth and all its creatures.

References.

Sanders Karin. BODIES IN THE BOG and the Archaeological Imagination.  Chapter 2, The Archaeological Uncanny, (pg. 59). Published by The University of Chicago Press, Chicago 60637 and The University of Chicago Press, Ltd. London, 2009.

 Yoon, Jungu. Spirituality in Contemporary Art, The Idea of the Numinous. Chapter 1, Religion and Spirituality: A Brief Historical Survey. 1.1 Artistic Expression at Different Stages of Religious Evolution, (pg. 15). Published by Zidane Press Ltd, London. 2015. First published in the United Kingdom in 2010.

April, 2020.

The Silence of Being.

The world is experiencing

this enforced silence of being.

A silence that is first and foremost,

the space in which sounds

can take place.

An Earth in crisis slows down

a world where sound is heard.

These sounds are given a

proper space by a silence,

allowing them to be.

Silence surrounds many sounds

so that they exist in a space

unhindered by one another,

and yet they are unified

in their existence.

Silence is the quietness,

a stillness, the lack of sound

in the in-between spaces.

In isolation nothing is louder

then the sound of silence.

It is the silence of being

united in our disconnection.

Locked down in sounds of

anxiety and compassion.

This is the silence of being.

Anne Martin Walsh

August, 2020.

IMG_3800 (1)

Water has it’s own pull, drawing you towards it’s many moods.

Anne Martin Walsh.

Image taken in Ardmore, Co. Waterford by the artist.

The Aftermath

There is a cloud hanging over us in the aftermath of the initial onset of what is an ongoing pandemic.   It is a cloud of suspicion, distrust, concern, perhaps even indifference.   As our lives were pared back by the threat of illness we were more united as a whole then I have ever experienced in my life.  Now that we are coming out the other side into a new way, a new normal,  are we losing that mutual bond?  I have to ask myself if we have come to live in the valley of the squinting windows, as we watch and judge the actions of others.  I would love to say I am not one of these people, but my thoughts let me down in the face of blatant disregard for the health of others.  It is like I have become hyper-aware of my own actions and the actions of others on a more localized scale, in this fissured society.  My concerns have always been to do with the actions of humankind, the effects on our earth, flora and fauna. This time has highlighted, for me, the devastating effect the greed of humanity is having on the planet.  The lockdown gave the earth a light reprieve from the constant onslaught and we witnessed its immediate, amazing, endeavour to recover.  I worry that we have not taken this lesson on board, that in the aftermath we are ignoring what was, and still is, a gigantic wake-up call.

And still, there is so much joy in my narrowed down landscape.  The music of the rain-droplets on a calm sea as I take my morning swim.  The redness of a full moon coming up over the horizon.    The screeching of  gulls mingled with the lapping of the waves as I stroll along the beach.  A sea mist gently rolling in to cover us with its blanket of moisture.  The sound of the wind rustling in the trees, the panting of my dogs, the crackling of the undergrowth, as we walk in the woods. Being brought to a standstill for a moment, transfixed by a shaft of sunlight.  A car pulling up outside, spilling out those I love.  The kettle coming to the boil in anticipation of that hot cup of tea.  In this narrowed down world the things I already love become even more appreciated.

Anne Martin Walsh.

30th October, 2020

16th November, 2020.

Every evening at dusk I am enthralled by the show put on by my local corvidae right above my home. Flying high and low in their organized chaos, all in unison, they gloriously call to each other. While not as seemingly agile in their swirling performance as the starlings, they are none the less magnificent in their display.

18th January, 2021.

19th January, 2021.

17th, February, 2021.

This past year of dealing with a pandemic has been so difficult on everyone, the arts has suffered immeasurably. Locked down to within  a 5 km radius of my home , I began to look closely at what lay under my feet, exploring new pathways on my daily walks. Happening on found objects that held a new fascination for me, such as the ones in this image titled Death Bed I.  The mystery of what lies behind the image, the story it might portray, is a strong force.  Is it the sorrow of homelessness, perhaps it was a lovers meeting place, deep in the woods, off the beaten track. Whatever its genesis, it now belongs to nature. The death and decay of nature itself is slowly absorbing these found objects, they are becoming at one. It is out of this darkness that nature will prevail. 

Death Bed I, 2021.

11th April, 2021.

Divination

Dowsing is an intuitive art practice. I get a feeling of place, of time, a merging of past and present. Most of the time it brings good feelings of connection, and on other occasions the hair can rise on the back of my neck as a coldness surrounds me.  It is the divination of energy lines referred to as the dragon(male) and the serpent(female) as well as ancient sites that really attracts me.  The asking of the right question is all part of the process, the answer, a yes or no, brings a sensation of amazement every time.

To practice divination is to connect with a universal field of unseen energy that connects everything in existence. Tuning in to this data-conducting cosmic plane and in return seeing the pendulum start to move, the answer gaining strength in its ever widening circles, is both elating and grounding.  The art of divination is a ritual of deep connection with our planet, an age old practice where the earth enlightens us willingly, as long as we open to the possibilities.

Anne Martin Walsh