Irish artist takes her work outdoors in a bid to replenish her own spirit

by Gazette Reporter

By DAVD FLEMING

With the country’s lockdown likely to be extended again, one Irish artist has taken her work outdoors in a bid to bring some colour and hope to Dublin’s grey March streets and replenish her own spirit in the process. 

Ana Carey’s ‘Blueprints’ are on display outside The International Bar on Wicklow St and will remain there for the foreseeable future for anyone who wants to catch a glimpse of them. 

The drawings are part of Ana’s plan to get back to herself and her art following a five year struggle with her mental health, which temporarily robbed her of the ability to work in her preferred medium: sculpture. 

“I didn’t have the same level of hand/eye coordination when sculpting, which left me distraught. I kept breaking them (the sculptures), and I was losing my drive, my little light, so I decided to turn to sketching and drawing the body a little bit more extensively than I did previously,” Ana told the Dublin Gazette over the phone.

“I really wanted this project to form the backbone of my first exhibition in Dublin. When I first began these drawings… I used them as a starting point to be creative again.

“I thoroughly enjoyed experimenting with the body: different shapes, different stances, different styles as you can see from the board,” she said. “…some of them (the drawings) are to experience playing with colour, some with shape, and some with line.

“They’re all experimental works, there’s three that really stand out as being closest to my finished sculpture,” she added.

Further to being a route back to sculpture, the drawings also granted access to people at a time when interactions are sorely missed. 

“I really had the desire to interact, not only with the public but with my models too. I love engaging with them, and I have them booked to come into the studio again soon, all socially distanced of course!” Ana said. 

Ana usually works out of a studio above The International Bar, but like many of us Ana is now working from home, albeit with a medium not typical of the average employee: clay.

Once she’s happy with her final piece, Ana normally “hollows it out, stick it back together, bring it to a kiln to get fired and after that I have a ceramic. I then smoke it for a finish in a barrel of wood chips, or I do a paint-on stain, which gives it a lovely matte finish.”

However, Ana’s process has had to change with the times. “At the moment, I’m still working with clay, but, instead of hollowing it out, I keep it solid and then bring it to get turned into a wax figure.

Then it gets sent to a foundry where it gets turned into a bronze sculpture. I got my first bronze back last year. I was absolutely thrilled with it, she’s beautiful!” 

Ana now feels ready to bring her finished pieces to the world and is busy preparing for her first exhibition in the capital. 

“I’m hoping to have the exhibition in the autumn, but I’m prepared to wait until winter if needs be. It’s a study of the human form. I went easy on myself this time! I have new sculptures, but I’ll also have a section showing some of my life drawings, one or two larger paintings and some older pieces that I’ve reformed in bronze, which will show a progression of my style.

“That’s something that I really want to get across – the transformation, what it’s taken to get back to the level I’m currently at.”

You can keep up to date with Ana by following her on Instagram @anacarey32

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