Artist in a Setting: A Response: Dowra Courthouse

Artist in a Setting: A Response: Dowra Courthouse. 


Exhibition 23 May - 6 June (Opening Times vary)


Maria Bagnoli - Artist Statement


This was a self led project, funded by the Cavan Arts Office - (through the Arts Developement Awards) - to carry out work as an artist in a setting. It was based upon my visual response to the activities taking place and to the architectural setting of this elegantly restored building.


The courthouse hosts some very creative practitioners, including a ceramic group, led by local artist James Fee, and a dress maker Margaret Coyne. There is also regular yoga led b Deirdre Callery (Blacklion). I did not see myself as emulating the ceramic group nor the dress maker, but rather to create my own work based on an intuitive approach, using printmaking and sewing, to re-imagine and to reinterpret what was happening in the centre.


My work led me into new territory, that of making three dimensional/installation based work, and in using myself as part of the process in self made short videos.


I wanted to integrate the dress making with the ceramic pieces, so I made a dress the “Paupers dress”, out of a hand sewn gown, attaching fabrics and ceramic buttons kindly made by the ceramic group. It was James fee who suggested making a ceramic coat hanger for the dress.


The title of the dress, perhaps had connotations of a young woman who had to make her trousseau, and that maybe the groom to be had fines to pay, as this was a very poor area and penalties could be harsh.


It occurred to me that whilst making the paper dress, (rather than with fabric), the dress maker remains anonymous. We wear clothes, and see beautiful fashions, but we don’t know who makes them. This gave me the inspiration to make videos of myself, imagining what a dress maker has to go through. The Courthouse itself is also very much a place about “making”.


The video made with film maker and yoga teacher, Deirdre Callery, is the culmination of the project. It contains footage from my own videos and was partly directed by me, and produced by Deirdre.


A girl (Sionainn Fee) walks down the upper corridor, in the paper dress, based on a design inspired b a ceramic piece by centre user and ceramicist, Damien O Gorman. Initially, this dress was to be hung, but the performance creates the illusion of an imagined scenario, emphasised by the use of black and white imagery.


Finally, I would like to acknowledge the participants in this project, the staff of the Courthouse and to the Arts Office. 


 Photo Lithograph of collage of pots:


Dowra Courthouse open event 2 June 2pm Film of “making” preview and exhibit.

Refreshments Served and All Welcome!! 




Date and time:

23 May 2019 to 06 March 2019


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