Townlands is an ongoing series of drawings and photographs based on the rural landscape. Most recent drawings are under the title: “Earthworks”. which were exhibited as a solo exhibition during the Kilkenny Arts Festival 2013. During National Heritage Week, 2010, “Townlands” was presented. Not only did it contain new work by both artists but it also involved the local National School and the community. On the 28th of August there was a forum with Carmel Cummins, Kerry Hardie, Paddy Kelly, moderated by Helen Carroll.
Following is a description of 2009’s exhibition and the purpose of the project.
Alan Counihan and Gypsy Ray presented an exhibition, “Townland” for inclusion in the Visual Art Programme of Kilkenny Arts Festival 2009. The exhibition is part of a new collaborative strand of work ,“Townlands”, which sets out to explore a very specific place, the townlands in the parish of Rathcoole, Co Kilkenny in all their resonant complexities.
The focus is primarily on the “vernacular” history of the townland fields, the names and stories by which they are still specifically remembered. However ’Townlands” is not an exercise in, nor celebration of, cultural nostalgia. Its explorations of vernacular traditions and customs are accompanied by an examination of, reflection on and juxtaposition with, the contemporary practices by which they have been supplanted.
The overall goal of “Townlands” is to re-present local place to local people, among others, by means of a creative distillation, re-envisioning and expression of its folklore. history and contemporary landscape. This re-presentation, through exhibition- and possible publication,- will be in a vibrant and contemporary language, the past of a place viewed through the eye of its presence.