|1||Arrested Development II
Monoprint on paper
43 x 52 cm
|2||Arrested Development III
Monoprint on paper
43 x 52 cm
Elaine Griffin holds a BA in Design and a Master of Art, both from the National College of Art and Design. She has been the recipient of a number of awards including the Artist’s Residency in Heinrich Boll Cottage, Achill, The Tyrone Guthrie Bursary and she was the primary winner of the Liam Walsh award. Her work is held in The collections of Queens University, Belfast, The Boydell Glass Collection, Kunstation Kleinsassen, Germany, Mayo County Council Collection and the collection of The National Museum of Ireland.
Read more about Elaine’s work here
Elaine Griffin majored in glass-making at NCAD. In terms of working with glass as a medium, she says: “I think I was very attracted to the luminosity and vulnerability of the material”.
In her final year she won a competition to design a body of one-off works at Waterford Crystal which ran concurrent with her final year show. This propelled her into a career immediately on leaving college.
She lectures at The National College of Art and Design which helps to supplement her art-making and advises anyone thinking of making art as a profession to “get trained up in the business side of making work: making grant applications, applying for commissions and making tax returns. I think it is a difficult career choice, particularly in the current economic climate when there are so many cuts in the arts. All that being said, it can be an incredibly rewarding career and if you are moved in that way, you will just have to be creative – it’s part of your nature”.
Her works are held in the collection of Dundalk Town Council and are black and white monoprints: white ink on black paper. They were made by the artist covering her face in white paint and then printing the impressions from her face onto the black paper. She says of the pieces “they are pretty strange and emotive works”.
The pieces were made in 2002 as part of a body of work entitled Arrested Development which formed the body of research and outcomes for her MA which she did at NCAD.
“The whole body of work, which was mainly sculptural in nature was a commentary on the building boom that was going on in Ireland at that time and how the need for ownership of a house/apartment was putting people under undue stress and was ultimately crushing their spirit and their life……The larger sculptures in this exhibition where large coffin shapes with glass figures in distressed poses under concrete rubble and sealed in with double glazed units.”
When she was making this body of work, it was the height of the boom and Ireland was only on the way up. “I was certainly seen to be a doom-sayer in certain quarters. As it turned out this body of work has turned out to be incredibly prophetic and I wonder if the body of work was shown today how different the reaction would be to it. Interestingly when I first showed the work around a number of venues in Ireland it was always people from working class backgrounds who could really relate to the work. I’m sure that demographic would be different today.”
Elaine has been working on public art commissions for the past number of years which she feels has been a natural progression from her earlier studio work. The majority of her work revolves around the relationship of people to their environment and how external factors influence or form perspective. She feels that working in a public realm allows for further exploration of these factors and the idea of working with the permanency of bronze after the fragility of glass is appealing to her. A lot of the public art commissions she has undertaken have a community element to them and often involve collaborating with other experts or members of the community where the work is to be sited, for example local historians and archaeologists.
“I really enjoy this working process and the more expanded view that producing art for public spaces brings with it. Working with community also gives a strong meaning and value to the work that is quite opposite to studio practice. Ultimately I would like to be working in both ways in my career as certainly one mode of practice informs the other and vice versa.”
Find out more here: www.elainegriffin.net