ARTIST STATEMENT I Christine Mackey’s current practice constitutes the complex investigation of the historical, political, and biodynamical ecologies of plant life through the subject of the seed. Investigated through four significant developments the way in which plants are regarded and researched – socially and culturally; namely human-plant geographies, critical plant studies, cultural botany, and environmental change. The evolving projects, public engagements, publications, and exhibitions are meticulously researched, which pursue a narrative structure based on an assemblage of key research material, sites of interest and the active and creative involvement of other ‘critters’ voices. This engaged social practice embeds a series of sensitive responses in relation to site, agency and ecology.
BIOG I Independent studio-based artist-researcher at the Leitrim Sculpture Centre, Mackey was educated at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin and Dartington College of Arts, Devon graduating in 2012 with a PhD from the University of Ulster, Belfast. In 2018, she was awarded a Fulbright Irish Scholar Award pursuing independent research across educational institutions and residency programmes in the States including the University of New Mexico.
Recent solo exhibitions include Safe-Hold Wexford Arts Centre (2020). The Long Field Phase 1: Leitrim Sculpture Centre, Home Grown Housing, The Museum of English Rural Life, England (2017), Silent Needles Speaking Flowers, The Observatory, England (2017), Provisional AC Institute New York, The Lung Kings House, Roscommon (2015), The Potting Shed + Fortifying Beds Artlink Donegal (2014), Balsam Bashing ArtLab, Rejmyre, Sweden (2014), Labour on Draoicht Arts Centre, Dublin (2013), Seed Matter Limerick City Gallery of Art, The Butler Gallery and Leitrim Sculpture Centre (2011-2013).
Resident artist at various cultural institutions across Europe including Leitrim Sculpture Centre Exhibition Residency Programme, UNIDEE Embedded Arts Practice in a Post-pandemic Future, Cittadellarte – Fondazione Pistoletto (2020), Grizedale Arts Volunteer residency programme, EUCIDA Rezeknes novada pasvaldiba, Latvia (2019), WormFarm Wisonsin, USA; De-Construkt[projekts], Self-directed research residencies include; Native Seed Savers Arizona, The William and Lynda Steere Herbarium New York, USA, New York Herbarium, and the Svaldbard Seed Bank (2010). She undertook a number of residency/exhibition programmes The Observatory Residency SPUD, ArtsSway, England; MERL Museum of English Rural Life, England (2017); Charter Art Common Ground, England, ACA Allenheads, England (2016); Delfina Foundation, Politics of Food, London; Agora Collective, Berlin, Utopiana Genève, Switzerland (2015); Rejmyre Art Lab, Sweden; Killruddery House and Gardens/Mermaid Arts Centre, Wicklow and Art & Sustainability (2014). Her artworks featured in recent group exhibitions at Common Ground, Bothy Gallery, Yorkshire Sculpture Park (2018), As Above As Below, Allenheads Contemporary Arts, England, What if we got it wrong? Ireland Tour: F.E Mc William Gallery & Studio, Banbridge, Wexford Arts Centre, Wexford, Leitrim Sculpture Centre, Manorhamilton, West Cork Arts Centre, Skibbereen, F.E Mc William Gallery & Studio, Wexford Arts Centre, Leitrim Sculpture Centre (2016), Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris, Delfina Foundation, London, Oriel Myrddin Gallery, Wales and Holman Arts & Media Center, USA (2015). In recent times, she has produced several site-specific works throughout Ireland, most notably Of Land and Soil, Flanagan’s Field Community Garden Bealtaine Age & Opportunity (2015), The Potting Shed ArtLink Fort Dunree (2014-ongoing), ‘Backlands’ Property Registration Authority, Roscommon and A Year in the Field Fingal County Council Public Arts Office (2012).
She is also author, designer, and publisher of several books and pamphlets that focus on historical and political vegetal matter and site-specific social narratives. Her work has received support from The Arts Council of Ireland Bursary Awards, Leitrim County Council Arts Awards, Culture Ireland Exhibition Travel Awards, and the Vice-Chancellor’s Research Scholarship, University of Ulster, Belfast and EV+A Limerick.
Christine Mackey acknowledges the support of The Arts Council of Ireland.