As many who have explored my Ireland blog know, I had the great opportunity of working as a Senior Artist-In-Residence at Oregon College of Art and Craft the summer of 2011. I arrived aware of, and prepared to deal with, the three fault lines that run through the region and tensions the westward-drifting North American continent was imposing on the western coast. I made somewhat literal use of the fault lines to create tensions in cutting up my plywood surfaces and shifting them on each other, as in the Fault Line series in the current exhibition at KCAC.
In Ireland, just three months later thanks to a Lighton International Exchange Program Grant and a Fellowship from the Ballinglen Arts Foundation, I was working less than six miles from the Ce’ide Fields outside of Ballycastle in County North Mayo. This is mostly an archaeology site where, beneath the peat bog, a culture from five thousand years in the past has been uncovered. In researching the Ce’ide Fields, I have been reminded of where the North American continent originated. I have read that the openings of the rocks in this region date back about sixty million years to the time when the American continent began to drift west from Europe. (researched by Dr. Seamus Caulfield and others related to the Ce’ide Fields) [ http://ceidefields.com/ceide/the-centre/ ]. Ireland’s west coast is the ripped remains of the severing of the landmasses – the opposite end of continental drift from my summer explorations in Portland.
Ultimately it dawned on me to take advantage of this serendipity. I brought one piece of red oak veneer with me from Kansas (actually purchased in Portland) that has veining that seems to be pulling away from each other. The resulting painting, in my exhibit at KCAC, is titled “Continental Drift.”