Mary O’Neill

Et in Arcadia Ego

Returned to nature the magical quality of the creatures is recovered. The figurines transform the familiar grasses, shrubs and flowers into an exotic landscape and tell happy stories of love and belonging. In their previous existence the inhabitants of this paradise – the young lovers, the deer, the blue bird – were living creatures, cherished by the people who had looked after them, woven them into the webs of their loves and memories. For those who could not see them as natives of paradise, they were inanimate objects that were not even beautiful. Instead they were crude examples of romantic kitsch representing a debased aesthetic. It is only when through an act of tenderness they are re-introduced to their natural habitat that even those for whom they do not have associations of memory can appreciated their uncanny beauty and their capacity to express the profound sense of loss embodied in all narratives of paradise.

This presentation will take the form of a photo essay with accompanying text.