Elemental
Alan Counihan

Alan Counihan’s practice engages with the fundamental human relationship to nature. His work explores how landscape is inhabited, remembered and imagined. Often employing the map as an expression of our past certainties, his work has sought to explore how we navigate the ever-changing landscapes of the future using the unreliable compass of memory.

In this exhibition, ‘Elemental’, the artist introduces new conceptual works that both express and challenge how we engage with the world around us. This body of work, masterfully rendered in Kilkenny marble and limestone, explores man’s relationship with nature and how we are consumed with possessing and exploiting it. Much is revealed in the rich stone – from dancing fossils and winding rivers to intimations of an urban landscape and secret drawings discovered through cracks and portals. In works entitled Longing and Fossil, Counihan breaks open the stone with a sledgehammer revealing something raw, pre-existing in the stone itself. These spare yet highly evolved works embody the simplicity and spirit of the stone works of the important Japanese American sculptor Isamu Noguchi, whose dictum of “truth to material” has long been a guiding principle for Counihan. Other materials such as bone, wood and chains are effectively incorporated in these impressive sculptures, and the roughly- hewn carving alongside the highly polished surfaces of the stone provide a compelling contrast. While Counihan realises the potential of stone with great success, most importantly he creates a dialogue between the artist, the viewer, and a primary matter of the Universe.

Alan Counihan has been making work of great skill for several decades both inside and outside of gallery contexts. He is a vibrant force in the arts community of County Kilkenny, has exhibited nationally and internationally, and been awarded many public and private commissions. He is a recent recipient of a 2011 Pollock-Krasner Foundation Award.

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