Collection: Niland Collection
Provenance: Donated by Vincent Ferguson in 2006
This artwork is part of a group of paintings, dating to an early part of Prendergast’s career, which reveal her interest in two major themes – the body and the landscape. This delicate watercolour combines paint with gold-leaf and shows distorted female forms emerging from the land. The rich bronze colour evokes the boggy landscape of much of Ireland out of which preserved human remains have often been recovered. The rich symbolism of the land as a receptacle for the human body has been most famously commemorated in the poetry of Seamus Heaney. The gold leaf, reminiscent of ancient gold of the bronze and the Celtic iron age, when the bog was considered sacred, enriches the archaeological associations of Prendergast’s work. In her subsequent treatment of the theme she was to develop an analytical approach using mapping and cartography as metaphors for plotting the complex relationship between humanity and the landscape.
The painting was presented to Sligo by Vincent Ferguson, an important collector of contemporary Irish art. An early admirer of Prendergast’s work, he acquired this at her MA degree show at the National College of Art and Design in the mid 1980s.
Written by Roisin Kennedy