Water Table, The Luan Gallery by Marie Hanlon

Marie Hanlon, ACW Student
Water Table
The Luan Gallery, Athlone.
Opening Saturday 3 February 3 pm, continues until 25 March

The work for this exhibition concerns itself with the subject of flooding, an appropriate theme for The Luan Gallery since it is located directly on the west bank of the river Shannon – as close to water as is possible. With an ever increasing public awareness of climate change and erratic weather patterns, it seems particularly relevant to address this issue at this time and in this place.

The exhibition will include three free standing sculptural works, with the addition of a sound element for Water Table – this piece presents seven glass tanks, each containing varying levels of water from full to empty. Accompanying audio describes free flowing water at first, but this gradually darkens and transforms into dry, parched choking sounds. Changes in weather patterns are giving rise to rapid flooding in some areas and drought in others, with water tables becoming unsettled as levels fluctuate in extreme conditions.

The environmental response to human activity is critical here, with the human subject being both agent of change and the one impacted upon. Extremes are experienced locally, but on a worldwide scale the spectrum from severe flooding to unimaginable drought is a disturbing reality of our time.

Flooded Rooms and Escape are the two other works in the exhibition. Presented on plinths, these pieces seek to abstract reality; interiors are imagined where water has seeped in and slowly risen, rooms are vacated, white, ghostly, stripped of their contents, with doors standing open and no life remaining. Escape shows two white ladders in a water filled perspex container; might there be some hope offered here – a means of escape perhaps – but to where?

Image by Marie Hanlon: Escape, perspex and water, 2018.